Barbara Gessler was born in Belgium, of German nationality, and has lived and studied in Konstanz, Paris, Buenos Aires and Bruges. She worked in the European Parliament before joining the European Commission in 1994. She started in the Directorate General's Unit for Audio-visual Policy, and 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 from 2003-to 2004, she advised the umbrella organisation of German cultural organisations Deutscher Kulturrat on European affairs. Until 2009, she was Head of the Regional Representation of the Commission in Bonn. She returned to Brussels as Head of the Press Unit of the European Economic and Social Committee until mid-2011. Until 2016, she ran the Culture Unit at the Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency which implements the EU's funding programmes in these areas. Since 2017 she is responsible for the Creative Europe Culture sub-programme at Directorate-General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.
Bridget McKenzie is a researcher and creative curator in culture, learning, and environment.
After 14 years in roles such as Education Officer for Tate and Head of Learning at the British Library, she founded Flow Associates in 2006. In 2019, Bridget founded Climate Museum UK, an experimental museum that stirs and collects the emerging response to the Earth crisis.
She is an advisor for Culture Unstained and co-founder of Culture Declares Emergency. She presents and publishes internationally on the possibilities of Regenerative Culture.
Giorgio Bacchiega is a lecturer at the Catholic University of Milan.
He is a Director at Milan's Urban Peripheries Research Centre for Consulta Periferie Milano, a network-centric platform formed by 36 cultural, charity, trade, visual, and performing arts organisations, cultural centres, and local newspapers active in the peripheries of Milan to draw constant attention and find original solutions to the problems of the multifaceted peripheral landscape of Milan in cooperation with academic, political and societal forces.
Giorgio is also a member of the Research and documentation team for Amateo, which represents a unique, privileged opportunity for gaining information, debating, and finding original solutions to complex social problems through participation.
Maud Gari is the General Secretary of LABA, a French organisation specialising in European cultural projects, for which she is also responsible for communication and marketing.
She is particularly in charge of the projects around gender issues and sustainability. Before that, she worked for 5 years as General Delegate for FELIN - Fédération Nationale des Labels Indépendants, and created the European cooperation project dedicated to women entrepreneurs in music: MEWEM Europa, carried out by le LABA and 6 European partners.
Besides this, Maud is co-founder and volunteer chairperson of Slowfest, an association based in Bordeaux that experiments and produces Low carbon events in the cultural industry.
Menno Weijs is Programme Manager at the European Cultural Foundation. This independent foundation based in Amsterdam has promoted European solidarity since 1954, by developing and supporting cultural initiatives that let us share, experience, and imagine Europe.
Menno is responsible for a portfolio of projects and programmes fostering an inclusive European public sphere, including digital infrastructure and the media space.
Designer, teacher, and Noa’s mum, Irina is in charge of research and development for the Non-Riservato network and was part of the board of directors from 2018 to 2021.
Her research and practice focus on cultural innovation projects that have as a core mission disciplinary, cultural, and cognitive diversity. She collaborated on research and educational projects with many private and public institutions among which, Fondazione Cariplo, Comune di Milano, Unicredit Pavilion, Fabbrica del Vapore; National Film Board of Canada, Azure Magazine e Festival de Metis.
She was visiting professor at Tsinghua University Graduate School of Design Management in Shenzen, China, and Institute Without Boundaries in Toronto, Canada. Since 2014 she is a senior lecturer in interaction design at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) Milano, Italy.
Piotr has more than 20 years of experience as a researcher, expert on territorial development, cultural consultant and manager. Vice-Chairman of the ENCC Brussels, and Consultant, Project Manager & Expert on Creative Economy and Territorial Development at EUROCONSULTANTS S.A. Thessaloniki.
He holds an MA in Cultural studies (University of Wrocław), MSci in Management (Lower Silesian University for Public Services) and a second MSci in Cultural Diplomacy (Jagiellonian University in Krakow). He is a graduate of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation’s School of Moderators, the University of Wrocław in Musicology, and the Wrocław School of Jazz (as a jazz guitarist). He has trained at the National Centre for Culture in Poland and at Stanford University in International Cultural Management, Local Strategic Development for Cultural Institutions, and Creativity and Innovation. He is a certified leader in the Design Thinking methodology.
He has successfully coordinated over 100 projects. He has 20 years of experience working for the NGO sector, and 15 years – for the public sector, including as Cultural Coordinator at the Municipality of ECoC Wrocław 2016. Since 2013 he runs his CI called “Micro Art Center '', involved in cultural consulting, management, artistic productions, and international cooperation.
He is affiliated with “Teatr na Walizkach '' Theatre and Culture Centre from Wrocław – a member of the ENCC network.
Théo Majcher graduated from the European Studies Institute of Paris 8 with a Master's degree in Cultural Policies and Management in Europe. He soon focused his research on the issue of European identity in the field of arts and culture and on the role of European cultural networks. In 2017, he collaborated with ENCC (European Network of Cultural Centres) in Brussels and took part in the organisation of the European conference Record (Rethinking research, rethinking cultural centres) in partnership with Aarhus (Denmark), European Capital of Culture in 2017.
In 2018, he was invited to speak at the University of Clermont-Ferrand on the topic of European funding for culture. In 2019, Théo Majcher worked with ETC (European Theatre Convention) in Berlin, where he was in charge of Artists in Residency, an international residency programme for emerging artists. He also assisted in the organisation of the International Theatre Conference on the theme of participatory theatre in partnership with the Stadtschauspiel in Dresden (Germany).
Théo also works as an actor, writer and dramaturg and co-founded the European theatre company ALTER EGO (X) (Annecy, France) that same year. He is in charge of the Laboratory Department (international artistic cooperation, touring abroad, etc.). Since January 2021, he has been working with other international structures to help with the preparation of European applications (Erasmus+, Creative Europe).
Vittorio Bianco coordinates European projects for Rete delle Case del Quartiere and for several other non-profit organizations.
With a major in Natural Sciences, he started his career in Legambiente, the main environmental organisation in Italy, with a focus on urban ecology and sustainable development. He then expanded his field of activity to other aspects of sustainability in the urban context such as social inclusion, culture, health, and solidarity economy.
Throughout his career, he has been promoting cooperation between non-profit organisations and private and public bodies participating in bottom-up participatory processes that gave birth to several local networks.
Vittorio has been Vice-President of Mirafiori Community Foundation and of the Agency for Local Development of San Salvario, and is currently co-coordinator of Hub Multiculturale Cecchi Point – Casa del Quartiere Aurora. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Bici-t, a start-up offering sustainable mobility services.
On an international level, he has experience in European programmes such as European Voluntary Service, Horizon 2020, Life+ and Interreg, and worked in the Sino-Italian Cooperation Programme for Environmental Protection with Venice International University, the Italian Ministry of Environment and several ministries and city administrations of the People's Republic of China.
Jennifer Tharr represents the Bundesverband Soziokultur (German Association of Socioculture) in the ENCC. She is also the Project Manager of NEUSTART - Programme for Corona-related investment in cultural institutions (www.neustartkultur.de) and START – Create Cultural Change (startgreece.net).
Ben has been director of Creative Carbon Scotland since 2011, combining over 25 years’ experience of producing events and running permanent and temporary venues in the cultural sector with an MSc in Carbon Management and a doctorate in applying complexity theory to social systems in order to bring about more sustainable social practices. He has developed CCS into a leader in both technical support for cultural organisations in carbon management and climate change adaptation, and developing culture’s influencing role in addressing climate change. He has accordingly been asked to speak about this work to groups from Salzburg Global in Austria via the ArtCOP Professional workshop in Paris to the Glasgow Life Green Team Awards and the Sustainable Scotland Network annual conference.
As a theatre director and producer, he was the associate director at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and artistic director at Manchester’s Contact Theatre. He ‘revisioned’ Contact to prepare it for the 21stcentury and he led the restructuring of North Edinburgh Arts to bring it out of a financial crisis: both are now thriving organisations. As Chair of the Scottish Arts Council Lottery Committee, he facilitated and supported organisational change with many cultural organisations and led the distribution of over £150m of National Lottery funds, mostly to capital projects. He has directed theatre and music theatre as a freelance across the UK, Europe, North America and New Zealand.
He was Chair of Scotland’s leading chamber classical music group Hebrides Ensemble and Vice-Chair of the Theatres Trust and the Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership.
Maria Lodovica Gullino
Professor of Plant Pathology, Director of The Centre of Competence for the Innovation in the agro-environmental and agro-food sector (AGROINNOVA) and Vice-Rector for the Valorization of Human and Cultural Resources of the University of Torino.
She has been President of the International Society for Plant Pathology (ISPP), the Italian Society for Plant Pathology (SIPAV), the Italian Association for Plant Protection (AIPP) and the Italian Association of the Scientific Societies in the field of agriculture (AISSA). Her research field is plant pathology, with special attention to sustainable crop protection, biosecurity, climate change and plant diseases, with a special focus on plant health in the frame of circular health. Co-author of 30 books, author and/or co-author of over 1,000 scientific publications.
Since 2008 she coordinates for Springer a Series of Books on “Plant Pathology in the 21st century”. She is and has been responsible for many European and international research projects and received several awards for her scientific work. . As a journalist, she cooperates with several newspapers and magazines and also writes popular books.
OUR STUDY VISITS
CULTURAL CENTRES IN BARRIERA DI MILANO
The role of cultural activities & creative industries in the regeneration of Barriera
Via Baltea is a community hub housed in an ex-typography building. Since 2014 it has hosted craft workshops, cultural projects and a social restaurant. Via Baltea aims to integrate commercial and productive activities with a special attention to the aspect of sociality and solidarity.
Via Baltea Tells: Casa Bottega experience
A creative intervention of urban regeneration that transforms the lowered shutters into art workshops with an adjoining residence: creative young people not only become commercial operators in the neighbourhood, but strategic actors. Communicators, actors, visual artists, filmmakers, classical and experimental musicians, poets; the editors of a magazine have taken root in the neighbourhood, thus becoming civic artists, figures who feel the capacity and innovative strength of art and intend to make it available to the vast and heterogeneous community of the neighbourhood and the city.
La Scimmia in Tasca
A meeting place and a co-working space for presentations, debates, art exhibitions and workshops; it is open to cultural associations that want to engage in a cohesive work on the territory, with a focus on social and artistic valorization of the neighbourhood.
It is an artistic collective composed by artists between 17 to 20 years old. It deals with art, understood in the widest possible sense of the word; it wants to work for and with the neighbourhood using art as a social tool of involvement. Vernice Fresca was born as an informal group of friends with different passions in the artistic field, from music to theatre to photography and drawing.
Pietra Tonale is the collective of young artists of Turin active in the field of improvisation and musical research that has also become a home laboratory, where the sharing of domestic and working spaces becomes the engine for individual and collective growth.
Ventunesimo is a project of Carlotta Sofia Grassi, Francesco Pavignano and Tommaso Valli (ventunesimo collective). It was born from the collaboration with “Associazione Turistica Pro Loco di Occhieppo Inferiore (Biella)”, organiser and promoter of the annual artist residency programme. In 2020, Ventunesimo collective opened a studio and cultural space in Barriera di Milano (Turin), where they began to collaborate with emerging artists and local realities, with a view to creating a shared design network.