Tom Fleming


Dr Tom Fleming is a leading international expert on cultural policy creative cities and regions. His work focuses on advising governments, municipalities and institutions across the world to develop effective research, policy, strategy and action across the cultural sector and wider creative economy. Tom is director of Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy (TFCC), which he set up in 2003. Based in Porto and London, Tom has worked in over 80 countries and 200 cities to shape cultural strategies, develop creative industries plans and advise on culture-led transformation. This includes several European Capitals of Culture, where Tom has played a lead advisory role. He has also led the concept development and produced creative programmes for ECOCs - such as on urban creativity and innovation, intercultural audience development and the creative industries.


Pirjo Yli-Maunula

Pirjo Yli-Maunula is an Oulu-based dance artist whose career has spanned over 38 years. Currently she works as a dancer, choreographer, curator and a producer in her own company Flow Productions. Yli-Maunula has wide networks and takes part in many artistic collaborations both in Finland and internationally. She has received numerous grants and awards, the latest being the Artist Professor working grant for 2014-18 and the cultural award from The North Ostrobothnia Regional Fund in 2018. Yli-Maunula is also a member of the Central Arts Council (Taideneuvosto, 2016-19).

Jukka Perko

Saxophonist Jukka Perko’s rapid ascent to international fame began in 1987 when the legendary Dizzy Gillespie recruited him to his big band. Perko’s dazzling talent was compared to the young Charlie Parker and won him rave reviews. Perko has led numerous successful bands and ensembles, and has performed in over forty countries. Powered by his spectacular playing technique, and by mixing traditional jazz with some distinctly Finnish elements, he has earned his place as one of the most celebrated saxophonists of his entire generation. His most current bands are Jukka Perko Avara, a sax trio with two guitarist. In addition to his own groups, he is a regular soloist of symphony orchestras and big bands. Since 2006 Perko has been offering trainings for companies and communities through Hidas Ltd. and Romana Management Ltd. Perko is also the Artistic Director of Helsinki-based Viapori Jazz Festival, as well as a teacher at the Sibelius Academy.


Jukka Perko | saxophone
Jarmo Saari | guitar
Teemu Viinikainen | guitar

Sylvain Bureau

Sylvain Bureau, Scientific Director of the Jean-Baptiste Say Institute at ESCP Europe (the first business school created in the world in 1819), has carried out extensive studies on creative practices in entrepreneurship (within startups or large corporations), in collaboration with colleagues at Stanford University and University College of London.

Based on his research, he has designed Art Thinking, an agile method to create improbable outcomes with certainty. The method helps question mainstream values, assumptions taken for granted, and ways of doing things in order to create improbable business models and solutions that can shift paradigms. Sylvain teaches the method at ESCP Europe, especially to large corporations facing disruption and the transformation of work (Orange, Canon, Galeries Lafayette, La Redoute, BPCE, Sacem…), as well as at Stanford, HEC Montreal, Oulu University, or 42.

Sylvain is also the co-founder of Storymakers, an app that you can use to create pitches on an online one-pager and published Free Your Pitch last year.

Imanol Galdos Irazabal

Assistant Manager of Donostia Kultura, the Culture Department of the City of San Sebastian, working in International Affairs.

Researcher and visitor at Boise State University (Boise, Idaho, United States, 2018).
Coordinator of Other Words/Beste Hitzak, a programme co-funded by Creative Europe, European Union, dealing with small and minority languages (Basque, Slovene, Macedonian, Irish and Frisian).
More than 33 years experience in public administration, in several responsabilities. Long career in Education, Media, Culture and Politics.
Former Assistant Professor at the University of Reno (Nevada. United States).
Member of the Committe of LIKE (European Cities and Regions for Culture) and representative of the city of Donostia at ECOC (European Capitals of Culture).
Researcher, lecturer, speaker and writer on issues related to diaspora, local governance, culture policy, foreign policy, public communication, minority languages and cultures.
Degree in Basque Philology and Law.
Master in Public Administration, Interpretation and Translation.
Doctoral Studies in International Studies, Public Law and Conflict and cooperation in today's global society.
Currently working on PhD project dealing with the role of culture policy in local governance and cities: the cases of Boise and San Sebastian.

Leevi Lehtinen

Leevi Lehtinen

Leevi Lehtinen is an animation and media artist. He has studied animation in Finland, Slovakia as well as in the Netherlands. Since 2002 his films have been screened at more than 80 festivals, in 36 countries, on 5 continents. Also he has created interactive media art dance and theatre plays, that have been performed around the world.

Leevi’s installation works have been presented at art museums, galleries and art fairs in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and in Finland.

At the moment he works as a Regional Artist of Light Art at Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

Leena Vuotovesi

Leena Vuotovesi

Leena Vuotovesi is CEO of the development company Micropolis driving the forerunner of climate-friendly municipalities, the town of Ii, and piloting solutions to the green growth. The European Commission awarded Micropolis for the best Climate Actions in Europe with the RegioStar Award 2017 – the same year, when the Nordic Council of Ministries identified Ii to one of the best bioeconomy cases in the Nordics.

Leena holds a MA from the Oulu University, also having an academic background from the Georg-August Universität Göttingen in Germany and the University of Namibia. 

She is permanent advisor of the board of the Storm Warning and former president of the world-wide foundation of artist-residencies, the Res Artis (with over 700 member organisations globally). Currently she is vice-chair of the Finnish Cultural Foundation Northern Ostrobothnia Foundation.

Mike Watson

Mike Watson (PhD from Goldsmiths College) is a UK born theorist, critic and curator who is principally focused on the relation between culture, new media and society. He has written for several international at publications and has curated events at the 55th and 56th Venice Biennale, and Manifesta 12 (Palermo). In 2019 he will publish his second book for ZerO Books, Can the Left Learn to Meme?: Adorno, Video Gaming and Stranger Things.

Neil Peterson

Neil PetersonNeil is Director and founder of Inside Track, a cultural and creative consultancy which focusses on helping clients – normally major UK and European Cities – to deliver positive social and economic changes though culture, creativity and sports and other participatory activities.

Neil has played a significant role in the development of the European Capital of Culture project over recent years, being a founding member of the ECoC network.  He was a member of the Liverpool 2008 senior team where he led both the international relations work and programmes around volunteering, community participation and tourism benefits. His special experience is the understanding of role of culture and sport to encourage more creative and active participation in City life and finding practical ways to connect cultural and sporting programming with the wider economic development of major cities. He has advised several successful ECoC candidate cities and worked with other ECoCs on developing their programmes, especially on connecting to city and community development strategies and long term legacy.

Previously Neil had held a range of senior positions in the UK with a particular emphasis on creativity, employment and community development. He also works with a number of leading creative organisations in the UK, advising on strategy, funding and European partnership development.

Jelle Burggraaff

Strategic Advisor Cultural Projects & Festivals, European Capital of Culture Leeuwarden-Friesland2018

As Head of International Cultural Cooperation, Jelle Burggraaff was Part of the Programme team of the European Capital of Culture Leeuwarden-Friesland2018 (NL). In that role, he established new connections between cultural producers and networks worldwide.

To achieve this, he has worked closely together with embassies from all over the world and with cultural organisations like the British Council, the International Society for the Performing Arts, the EU-Japan Fest, the European Cultural Foundation and other European Capitals of Culture.

Jelle Burggraaff was also part of the International Marketing Team that aimed to increase the visibility of Leeuwarden-Friesland2018 abroad and to attract international visitors to the city and the region. He currently works op developing a strategy to continue the internationalisation of the cultural field in Leeuwarden-Friesland.

Jelle Burggraaff has studied Euroculture (University of Groningen, NL and Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, ES) and English Language and Culture (NHL Univeristy of Applied Sciences Leeuwarden, NL Sprachcaffe Malta, MT and Univeristy of Groningen, NL)

Marinella Senatore

Born 1977, Cava de’ Tirreni, Italy, trained in music, fine arts, and film, her practice is characterized by public participation, initiating a dialogue between history, culture and social structures. Rethinking the role of the artist as author and the public as recipient, Senatore’s work merges forms of protest, learning theatre, oral histories, vernacular forms, protest dance and music, public ceremonies, civil rituals and mass events, rethinking the political nature of collective formations and their impact on the social history of places and communities while reflecting on the political dimension of collective formations and how they generate a potential for social change.

In 2013 she found The School of Narrative Dance, a nomadic, free of charge school based on the horizontal system of education and emancipation.

Next to her performative practice, she explores urban issues and social topics such as emancipation and equality through painting, collages, installations, video, photography, and sound, participated in group exhibitions such as the Her work has been exhibited widely throughout Italy and abroad.

Maria Fonzino

Choreographer, dancer and poet based in Paris.
Born in Italy in 1980.
She feels very early a talent in writing, drawing and creating sequences of movement. As an adolescent she is designated to be a marathoner in official competitions; she starts to study dance at the age of nineteen. During her studies at University of Siena she takes tango lessons and discovers improvisation. She decides to take classical dance and traditional Indian dance lessons. In those years she also experiences a strong training in improvisation with Mila Moretti. In 2003 she is admitted in the prestigious Scuola del Teatro Stabile founded by Luca Ronconi, in Turin. She studies mime with Jacques Lecoq’s assistant Marise Flash, learns the basis of Laban techniques with Maria Consagra and delves into biomechanical movement with Nicolai Karpov. She takes acting lessons with Franca Nuti. In 2006 she is admitted in the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris and moves to France. Her professional career starts with a partnership with the Théâtre des Amandiers and the Max Fourestier Hospital. She gives her first workshop in movement with people affected by psychiatric diseases. At the end of such project, in 2015, she meets Marinella Senatore at the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers: a new partnership is born. She creates choreographies for Marinella’s nomad company The School of Narrative Dance in Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2017), for the Haywarth Gallery (London 2018), at Villa Medici (Rome 2018), and for Manifesta12 (Palermo 2018). For 2019 Maria is working on the coreographies for some Marinella’s forthcoming projects which will take place in Finland, South Africa and Italy. She also performs as a dancer for the parisian Compagnie Sait Mouvoir in the style of Pina Bausch techniques. She is currently studying the holistic approach of the Eutony movement created by Gerda Alexander and she is elaborating her own dance notation system. La thérapie du rêve, her first book, was published in France in 2006; various poems appeared on the Revue du MIDI between 2015 and 2016. Maria is represented as writer by Kalama Agency.

Leonardo Petrucci

Leonardo Petrucci studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, where he graduated in 2009 with a thesis on the relationship between art and alchemy, a field that is still important for his research. Since 2012 he works in his studio at the Pastificio Cerere in San Lorenzo district in Rome. He has exhibited at numerous exhibition spaces, taking part in solo and group exhibitions: RED HOPE (Zinouzi Tapí - Carpet Shop, Rome); The light Hides The Lights (Fondazione Baruchello, Rome, 2016); Melancolia (Una vetrina, Rome, 2015); Where is Dawn now? (Pastificio Cerere, Rome, in collaboration with NASA, ASI, INAF); There Is No Place Like Home (Via di Valle Aurelia, Rome, 2015); In che senso Italiano? (Ancora!) (Bibo’s Place, Todi, 2015); You are here (Romanian academy, Rome, 2015); Antropofagia Simbiotica (Operativa Arte Contemporanea, Rome, 2014); Il peso della mia luce (Operativa Arte Contemporanea, Rome, 2013); Resolve et Scoagula, unconventional twins #1 (Studio d’Arte Pino Casagrande, Roma, 2011). First place of Premio Internazionale Generazione Contemporanea of LUISS Creative Business Center (2017); Finalist of the Talent Prize (MACRO, Rome, 2016)Take part at WOP ArtFair with nm>contemporary (2017), at ArtVerona (2017) and at Bologna Art Fair (2016 e 2017) with Bibo's Place gallery.

Kari Aalto

Kari AaltoMr Kari Aalto is Director of the East & North Finland EU Office. He has also been Director for the North Finland EU Office, and shortly simultaneously also Director for East Finland EU Office before the two Offices were merged together in the beginning of 2013. He has worked in Brussels with the EU Offices since 2011. Mr Aalto is representing in Brussels the 7 regions of East and North Finland. He is following relevant EU policies and responsible for interest promotion of the region he represents. Among some of his responsibilities are also connections to different EU institutions, ministries in Finland, networks in Brussels, and interregional cooperation.

Mr Aalto’s work experience covers the whole spectrum of regional and cohesion policy issues; from management to strategic planning, from regional international networks to diplomacy between regions and EU member and neighbouring states. Besides national programme planning and implementation, he has been involved also in EU and other International Financing instruments, including the writing, steering and implementing of ETC programmes and projects.