Arts Festivals Summit 2018

Meet the speakers of EFA's Arts Festivals Summit 2018 The [Herit]AGE of the ARTS - Audiences in the heart of the places

Airan Berg

Airan Berg is an Austrian theater director and cultural manager, he has recently begun his tenure as Artistic Director of Festival der Regionen in Upper Austria. He is also currently directing a large-scale participatory project for the Burgtheater Wien (Austria's National Theater) and developing a participatory music -theatre project for La Monnaie Opera, Festival Aix and others, connecting the myths of Orfeo & Euridice and Leila & Majnun.

Since 2016, he has been serving as the International Artistic Advisor for Valletta2018.  He also worked as artistic director for the performing arts at Linz09, the European Capital of Culture in 2009, where he also co-developed and co-directed two key projects of Linz09: Klangwolke, a large-scale participatory performance with over 1000 volunteers and ‘I like to Move it, Move it!’, the creativity and education project, in which 30 artistic teams worked with over 2000 pupils and 700 teachers in about 100 schools in Linz and Upper Austria.

Twitter : @airan_berg     @festivdregionen     Facebook: Festival der Regionen

© Reinhard Winkler/Festival der Regionen

Annelies Storms

  • 9 February 1971
  • married with Guido Poppelier
  •   mama van Kwinten (° 4 May 2011)
  • Sint-Amandsberg

Political experience

  • Alderwoman of Culture, Tourism and Events (2013-present)
  • City councilor - fraction leader (2006-2012)
  • Federal Representative (2003-2007)
  • Provincial Councilor (2000-2003)

Party functions

  • Board member sp.a Gent-Oost
  • Member Party Board sp.a Gent
  • Member Provincial Board sp.a East Flanders

 Professional experience

  • Staff member (living) at the Flemish Cities Knowledge Center (2009-2012)
  • Project employee (Ethnic-cultural diversity) at the Flemish Cities and Municipalities Association (2008-2009)
  • Counselor Flemish Minister for Home Affairs, Culture, Youth and the Civil Service (4 July 2002-18 May 2003)
  • Counselor Flemish Minister for Culture, Youth, Sport, Brussels Affairs and Development Policy (14 February 2000-3 July 2002)
  • Jurist non-life manager at the industrial insurance company Hannover International (1 January 1999-13 February 2000)
  • Attorney at the Ghent Bar (1 September 1994-31 December 1998)


  • Postgraduate Diversity Management (partial), KUL
  • Licentiate in Law, Ghent University: option civil law (thorough and comparative law study of personal and family law, procedural law and liability law) (1989-1994)
  • General Secondary Education, Humanities, Latin-Greek, Sint-Pietersinstituut Gent (1983-1989)

Barbara Gessler

Born in Belgium in 1964 with German nationality, she lived and studied in Konstanz, Paris, Buenos Aires and later Bruges. Worked in the European Parliament for an MEP before joining the European Commission in 1994. Started in the Directorate General's Unit for Audiovisual Policy, then changed to Environment in 1996. From 1998 until 2003 she worked at the representation of the European Commission in Berlin. 

During her year of personal leave 2003-2004, she advised the umbrella organisation of German cultural organisations Deutscher Kulturrat on European affairs. She then became Head of the Regional Representation of the Commission in Bonn. In 2009, she returned to Brussels as Head of the Press Unit of the European Economic and Social Committee. 

From mid-2011 until 2016, she ran the Culture Unit at the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency which implements the EU's funding programmes in these areas. Since 2017 she is responsible for the culture sub-programme at Directorate General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. 

Carlos Pinto Sá

Mayor of Évora & Member of the Committee of the Regions since 26-01-1998


  • Support to the Presidency and
  • External Institutional Relations and with the Municipal Assembly
  • General, Financial and Personnel Administration
  • Economic development
  • Legal Area and Audit
  • Public security
  • Communication and Public Relations

Biographical note:
Born on January 10, 1958, in Montemor-o-Novo.

Bachelor in Social Sciences; Bachelor and Master in Economics

Professional career:  
Assistant Professor of the Department of Economics of the University of Évora, areas of Economic Policy, History of Economic Thought and Economy of European Integration. Papers published in areas such as the organization of economic activity and employment, the organization and financing of Local Government, regionalization

Political positions:  
Mayor of Évora; Member of the General Council of the Association of Portuguese Municipalities; Member of the National Water Board; Member of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union

Catherine Magnant

Catherine Magnant, a French citizen, graduated in international relations and Russian language in Paris, Sorbonne. She started her career in Moscow, where she headed the Press and Information Section of the European Commission Delegation. Back in Brussels, she was part of the team who prepared the 2004 EU enlargement to central and Eastern Europe. She then joined EU's external relations service where she was dealing with the promotion of human rights in third countries. 

In 2006 she decided to change focus and to contribute to EU internal policies. She run the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for all, and then moved to cultural matters. Until 2017 she was the Deputy Head of the team in charge of cultural policy and innovation in the Directorate General for Education and Culture, where she dealt with the creative economy and fostered cooperation between EU countries in the field of culture. Catherine is now Head of the Task-Force of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, which is taking place in 33 countries.     

Catherine speaks French, English and Russian fluently. She has some basic Italian and is learning Chinese.            

Ceyda Berk-Söderblom

Ceyda Berk-Söderblom is Co-founder and CEO at MiklagardArts, an innovative platform, a facilitator and connector for promoting trans-national collaborations between Finland and the dynamic art scenes in South East, Middle East and the Far East. Ceyda leads MiklagardArts’ development while steering its values - #internationalisation #inclusiveness #innovation #bridge building - to achieve new artistic expressions arising from creative clashes between cultures.  

Before settling in Helsinki in 2015, Ceyda has worked for more than 13 years as Festival Coordinator at the International Izmir Festival (a member of European Festivals Association) and Programmer at the Izmir European Jazz Festival (a member of European Jazz Network) in Turkey. In 2014, she was awarded the medal of "Bene Merito" by the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Poland. Ceyda also serves as a board member of Globe Art Point - Helsinki, an organisation for international artists and cultural workers who are resident in Finland.

Dieter Boyer

Dieter Boyer has been cultural political advisor of the City Councilor and state minister for arts, science and sports of the City Vienna Andreas Mailath-Pokorny since 2013. As such, he supports him as a key initiator and negotiator in the field of live performing arts, music and literature, dealing with public institutions as well as with private partners and organizations. Before joining the City of Vienna, he worked as an artistic director and curator in performing arts. This gives him first-hand knowledge of the opportunities and challenges in the field of arts. He serves as board member for many cultural organizations like theatres, orchestras and festivals in Vienna. Dieter Boyer teaches at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and has degrees in Cultural Management and in Intercultural Competencies.

Doris Pack

Doris Pack is a German politician, President of EPP Women and the Robert Schuman Institute- RSI and former Member of the European Parliament (1989-2014). She is a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, Executive Member of the European People's Party and Honorary Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Pack is the Chair of the Franco-German Foundation for Cultural Cooperation.

She is also chair of the Franco-German Foundation for Cultural Cooperation, President of the European Children and Youth Book Fair, a member of the ZDF Television Council, President of the open university association (VHS) Saar (since 1998) and Vice-President of the European Movement on the Saar. She was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and of the Assembly of the Western European Union. She is Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of A Soul for Europe.

Facebook: EPP Women    Twitter: @pack_doris   @EPPWomen 

Mateja Demšič

“Mateja Demšič, MSc, is historian, head of the Department for Culture of the Slovene capital City of Ljubljana. She used to head Office for Youth in the Municipality of Ljubljana. City of Ljubljana is the only Slovene city which works permanently and strategically in field of cultural policies since 2008 in order to assure quality basis for creativity and arts.

Ljubljana was named the 10th UNESCO World Book Capital in 2010 for one year. By becoming part of the Creative Cities Network, Ljubljana has been assigned a permanent City of Literature designation by UNESCO in December 2015. Since 2011 the city of Ljubljana is also a member of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) offering residency to politically exiled writers and artists.

The European Prize for Urban Public Space 2012 was awarded for the renovation of the banks of the Ljubljanica River in the old city center. In June 2014 Ljubljana was named European Green Capital 2016.”

Peter Bossman

Peter Bossman is a Ghanaian-born Slovenian doctor and politician (Social Democrat). He is currently serving as mayor of Piran, a town in southwestern Slovenia on the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea, one of the three major towns of Slovenian Istria.

He became president of the Social Democratic Municipal Committee, in 2009. One year later, in October 2010, he defeated the incumbent mayor Tomaž Gantar to become mayor of the Municipality of Piran. 

He is also active within the European Union since 2011 when he was appointed to the Committee of the Regions

Philippe Kern

Philippe Kern is the Founder and Managing Director of KEA. Based in Brussels since 1999, KEA is Europe’s leading consultancy and research center on culture and creative industries. KEA helps territories managing cultural and creative resources to deliver innovation as an initiator or scientific coordinator of various high profile European projects such as recently Creative Tracks, Culture for Cities and Regions or SPARKS.

Kern is a specialist in culture economics, copyright, anti-trust and trade law and has led a range of research and strategy programs at European level, notably for the European Commission and the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and WIPO. He is advising numerous public and private bodies on the formulation of strategies in the field of urban development, innovation, culture and audiovisual policies.

Twitter : @KEAtweets        Facebook : KEA European Affairs

Sjoerd Feitsma

Sjoerd Feitsma is deputy mayor of the City of Leeuwarden. One of his major current projects in culture is coordinating Leeuwarden - Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018. Leeuwarden- Friesland 2018 ECoC is a bottom-up programme (60 main events and festivals, over 350 open community projects).

This project aims to strengthen Friesland, its artistic and cultural infrastructure, the economic growth using culture as a driver for socio-economic change and as a tool for awareness on ecology and biodiversity. Together with cultural institutions, inhabitants, entrepreneurs and other governments, they will set up an agenda for the coming decade with concrete goals. Leeuwarden is also an active member of the Eurocities Culture Forum and part of an inter-regional cooperation programme ‘We the North’, with 3 provinces and 4 cities.

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