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

Anita Debaere

Anita Debaere is Director of Pearle*-Live Performance Europe. This European sector federation counts, through its member associations, more than 10 000 organisations in the live performance sector across Europe. Anita Debaere represents Pearle* since more than ten years. Before joining Pearle* her career was in the classical music sector, with an intermission period where she worked in the external relations department of an energy company, including responsibilities on public affairs, sponsorship and patronage. Committed to create a sustainable environment for the live performance, she seeks to put specific concerns and issues forward which may impact the daily operations of a performing arts organisation. International touring and international relations are the thread running through her career.

PEARLE Live Performance Europe is an EFA Synergy partner in the frame of the EFA RISE 2 project.

Annabelle Van Nieuwenhuyse

Annabelle Van Nieuwenhuyse has been working for many years, as a journalist and a moderator in the area of arts and culture. She’s known in and around Belgium, as the joyful polyglot TV and radio presenter.

Couleur café is the Brussels based music festival, she’s has been announcing for 21 years now.

With her association called Point.Five she wishes to pass the torch of positive fulfillment to a next generation. A weekly gathering with those young adolescents in need of personal coaching, is one of her ways to do so.

Annabelle was the host of our last Arts Festivals Summit in Rheingau 2017. We’re happy to have her back this time in Ljubljana.  

Annelies Storms

Annelies Storms is the Deputy Mayor for Culture, Tourism and Events of the City of Ghent since 2013. Her political experience includes having been a City councillor - fraction leader (2006-2012), Federal Representative (2003-2007), Provincial Councillor (2000-2003) as well as holding several positions within the sp.a party such as Board member sp.a Gent-Oost; Member Party Board sp.a Gent and Member Provincial Board sp.a East Flanders.

Her professional experience includes having been a 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), Counsellor Flemish Minister for HomeAffairs, Culture, Youth and the Civil Service (4 July 2002-18 May 2003), Counsellor 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) and Attorney at the Ghent Bar (1 September 1994-31 December 1998).

Annelies Storms has a Postgraduate Diversity Management (partial), KUL, is a 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) and followed her 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

Carlos Pinto Sá is the Mayor of the City of Évora and a Member of the Committee of the Regions since 1998.

Born in 1958, in Montemor-o-Novo. Carlos Pinto Sá’s education includes a Bachelor in Social Sciences plus a Bachelor and Master in Economics. His professional carreer has led him to be an 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. He published papers in areas such as the organization of economic activity and employment, the organization and financing of Local Government, regionalization.

In his political career he currently holds the position of Mayor of the City of Évora, Member of the General Council of the Association of Portuguese Municipalities, Member of the National Water Board and Member of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union. Previously Carlos Pinto Sá was the Mayor of the city of Montemor-o-Novo.

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 

Geert Cochez

Geert Cochez is the Deputy CEO of, the communications agency for tourism and culture in the Brussels Capital Region. aims to develop close collaborations between tourism, the cultural field and civil society actors in order to promote and strengthen the image of Brussels as a multicultural and cosmopolitan world city and as a capital for 500 million Europeans. Recent projects include 2017, YO Brussels Hip Hop Generations (Bozar/Brussels, summer 2017), RADIKAL Dance from Brussels (Radialsystem/Berlin, November 2017), Indiscipline (Palais de Tokyo/Paris, September 2016).

 Throughout his career, the cultural identity and future of cities have been two key elements. In 2013 he launched the Brussels Academy, an urban open university initiative sharing knowledge on Brussels with citizens and civil society actors by organizing free classes, on-demand training and consultancy. 

 Geert Cochez lives in Molenbeek, Brussels. He has a keen interest in urban development, city marketing, tourism, the arts and education, and especially the crossroads between these different topics. He is currently a member of the board of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels Major Events, the asbl Mont des Arts/Kunstberg and eQuama (European Quarter Area Management Association).

© Geert Cochez

Haris Pašović

Haris Pašović, a multiple-awarded director, made his name in the late 80s with his landmark theatrical production in Belgrade of Wedekind’s “Spring’s Awakening”. When Sarajevo fell under the Siege, Pašović returned to the city. During this dramatic period, he directed plays and also created the first Sarajevo Film Festival themed as “Beyond the End of the World”.  Pašović also produced the now legendary “Waiting for Godot”, directed by Susan Sontag. 

His shows played at many famous theatre festivals. His feature documentary “Greta” about Greta Ferušić, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp and the Siege of Sarajevo, was shown at the New York Jewish Film Festival at the Lincoln Centre and other festivals around the world. Pašović is a director of the East West Centre Sarajevo and teaches at several universities. Among other plays he directed “Hamlet”; “Faust”; “Class Enemy”; “Nora”; “Europe Today”; “Conquest of Happiness” and most recently his own plays “What Would You Give Your Life For?” and “Uncovering a Woman.” Haris is the Artistic Director of Mittelfest and member of the EFFE International Jury.

Hermina Kovačič

Jan Briers

Jan Briers is Governor of the province of East Flanders. Since 6 May 2017, he has been given also a new challenge as President of EFA, the European festivals Association. Until January 31st, 2013 he assumed responsibility for some 350 events in about thirty cities and municipalities as Managing Director of the Flanders Festival Brussels-Ghent. 

In 2000 he steered the organization of the Concertgebouw, the new concert hall in Bruges. In 2002 he created the new KlaraFestival in Brussels, Antwerp and Bruges. He is Chairman of FMIV, the Federation of Music Festivals in Flanders, which promotes the interests of the 280 festivals in Flanders. In 2003 he became also Managing Director of the OdeGand city festival. In 2008 he was the cofounder of the AAPAF (Asian Association of Performing Arts Festivals). 

His newest creation is the international broadcasting festival MusMA (Music Masters on Air), a partnership of festivals and TV and radio channels in several European countries. He moved the headquarters of the European Festivals Association (EFA) from Geneva to Ghent and he also carried out its complete reorganization. In 2010 he set up the Informal Summit Ghent, a yearly conference under the chairmanship of Herman Van Rompuy and Jacques Rogge. In 2014, his dream Project 1000 Voices For Peace was realised by the Festival of Flanders. In 2015, he became Ambassador of the Festival of East Flanders, a feast that brings young classical musicians to nearly 30 municipalities in the province. In 2017 he was appointed President of the Ghent Festival.

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

Petra Stusek

M. Sc. Petra Stušek, is the Managing Director at Ljubljana Tourism and Vice-President of European Cities Marketing Association. Prior to these roles, she had a leading role in communications for foreign and domestic public at Ljubljana Tourism, reporting directly to CEO.

Under her leadership Ljubljana Tourist Board has won several prestigious titles as “WTM Responsible Tourism Award” in 2017, “WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow” in 2015, “Digital Tourism Think Tank” award, ETIS and Accessible Tourism Joint Award 2016 and 4 times in a row TOP 100 Sustainable Destinations award.

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

Simon Mundy

Simon Mundy is a poet, novelist, biographer (sixteen books so far) and broadcaster. In the 1990s he was the founding President of the European Forum for the Arts and Heritage (now Culture Action Europe) and was Director of the UK's National Campaign for the Arts. He has directed several festivals and worked as an adviser to, among others, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the UN Mission in Kosovo, the European Festivals Association, Wales' Minister of Culture and the Club de Madrid. 

For ten years he was attached to King's College London's International Policy Institute. He has been a trustee of several arts bodies, including the European Union Baroque Orchestra and the Sidney Nolan Trust, and is a Permanent Fellow of Felix Meritis, Amsterdam. He is Vice-President of the Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International.

© Anna Scholiers

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.

Sophie Detremmerie

Sophie Detremmerie is the Managing Director of Flanders Festival Brussels / Klarafestival and has been working on fundraising in the cultural sector for more than 15 years. Her main focus is on working with potential partners in the private sector for the KlaraFestival. She has seen the evolution of the sponsorship market towards cultural sponsorship delivering a true share of the marketing strategy of brands.  Sophie has published articles for the Flemish Management Association on Marketing and Classical Orchestras, and appears frequently in print media. 

She is also a member of the board of the Judging Committee for subsidies by the Flemish Government for cultural organisations and member of the board of the European Festivals Association, and from these positions has a good perspective of the cultural sector in general. She studied Communication Sciences, Culture Management and Management for the Non-profit and Social Sector in Leuven and Antwerp.

Zoran Janković

Zoran Janković was born on 1 January 1953 near Smederevo, where he spent his childhood. His family later moved to Ljubljana, where he graduated successfully from Ljubljana University’s Faculty of Economics. In addition to his highly successful business career (president of the board of the largest Slovenian retail company Mercator), he was overwhelmingly elected Mayor of the capital of the Republic of Slovenia on 22 October 2006, receiving 62.99% of the votes cast in the first round. He has also won the elections as an independent candidate in the first round in 2010 (64.79%), 2012 (60.99%) as well as in 2014 (57.5 %). Mayor Zoran Janković also reshaped the management team of the City of Ljubljana, and transformed the motivation of the city administration and its project focus. In 11 years, more than 1.900 projects have been implemented.

For his successful work in economy and as a Mayor Zoran Janković received as many as 24 highest recognitions and awards.

His personal communication is still characterised by his broad smile and instantaneous perception of a problem, knowing how to listen to each application submitted, above all, how to solve multiple problems effectively, always for the benefit of the majority and never to the detriment of minorities.

Throughout his life, he has been a sports’ lover (he was even awarded the title of Slovenian Handball Association’s first and only Honorary President), and a great patron of the arts.

© Uroš Hočevar

Darko Brlek

Darko Brlek is the General Director and the Artistic Director of the Ljubljana Festival. He became the youngest ever director of the Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana in 1991. A year later he also became the youngest ever artistic director of the Ljubljana Festival, eventually taking over as executive director of the country’s most important cultural festival in 1995. In addition to his long-running stewardship of the Ljubljana Festival, he has also held positions at other Slovenian cultural institutions. 

He was among the founders of the Cultural Chamber of Slovenia and has served as chairman of the Council for Culture of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and as Member of the Broadcasting Council from 2006 till 2011. He is currently the President of the Expert Council of the Slovene National Theatre Maribor and a council member of Avditorij Portorož. Despite his extensive commitments to the promotion of culture in Slovenia, he also finds time to participate in various international bodies. After becoming the Vice President of the European Festivals Association (EFA) in 1997, he served as its President from 2005 to 2017. At present, he is the President of the Festival Academy, an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA) for young festival managers. Art and culture are more than just a profession for Darko Brlek, who in 2016 was one of the two recipients of the annual management award for outstanding economic achievements given by the Finance newspaper and the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana.

He has also been the recipient of numerous other awards, including the Betteth Award for artistic achievements and the Župančič Award, which is the highest prize granted by the City of Ljubljana for outstanding creation in the field of art and culture. He is still active as a concert clarinettist, performing regularly on stages around the world.