Check out our growing list of expert voices from across Europe who will be contributing to the festival. 

Dionne Abdoelhafiezkhan

Rotterdam The Netherlands

Dionne is a young and talented social entrepreneur who makes an impact on young people, by trying to change the way companies think and act since she feels that there is too much prejudice, which limits these organizations in tapping into the pool of young talent. Inspired by Stedman Graham’s 9-step approach to success, Dionne developed the Hi5 method for young people. This method is built around the precept that awareness of personal development is crucial and outlines five steps that are helpful on your way to success.

Mark Duncan

Manchester City Council

Mark is the Lead Partner for the CSI Europe URBACT II network. Mark has worked on regeneration focused UK and European funded programmes since 1999 in Manchester and the NW of England. Mark has experience of developing and delivering Financial Instrument (loan) funds with both EC and UK Member State resources and was part of a small team, alongside Des Gardner, who wrote the bid for the establishment of the NW Evergreen Fund, one of the first FIs to become operational in the UK. Mark is currently Strategic Lead for Resources & Programmes at Manchester City Council and is working on the launch of the Greater Manchester 2014-20 ESIF programme which includes significant investment of ESIF via Financial Instrument (loan) funds.


Roland Krebs

Vienna, Austria

Roland is an Austrian Urban Planning Specialist with experience as planner, designer and project manager in the field of urban development. Roland is an Urban Planning Consultant at the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative at the IDB in Washington, DC, Lecturer at the Institute of Urban Design at the TU Wien, Member of the Austrian Chamber of Architects and Consulting Engineers, Board Member of wonderland – platform for European architecture and URBACT Thematic Specialist in Urban Planning.


Maite Ayestaran Vega

Fomento San Sebastian

Maite is head of the Local Observatory, Front Office and the Surf City Cluster and Assistive Technologies Cluster in Fomento San Sebastian (San Sebastian City Council) She has acted as organizer of the Summer Courses of the University of the Basque Country. She received as Master’s degree as a teacher in local development by the University of the Basque Country and holds a PHD in Applied Economic, international economics, industrial economics and econometrics and market. Maite is also a researcher in the London School of Economic and the University of Essex in the field of Economic development.


Mike Molyneux

City of Preston, UK

Mike trained in geography and economics before qualifying as an urban planner. He is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. He is currently Planning Policy Manager at Preston City Council, responsible for planning and housing. He is leading a team on the preparation of a new development plan for the City covering the period to 2026, which is expected to be adopted as policy by the Council later in 2015.

Jean-Jacques Terrin


Jean-Jacques is an architect, doctor in architecture, emeritus professor at the Versailles school of architecture, associated professor at the University of Montreal, and research director at the university of Paris Est. He undertakes research and publishes books on the changing of urban design and planning and their relations with collaborative work, innovation and sustainability. He has worked on numerous urban design and planning projects. His activities in the frame of several European projects give him a good knowledge of issues and making of the European cities.


Paul Downes

Educational Disadvantage Centre, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University

Dr. Paul Downes is Director of the Educational Disadvantage Centre, Dublin City University. He has been involved in various expert advisory roles for the European Commission, including the Commission’s Network of Experts on the Social Aspects of Education and Training (NESET I & II) (2011-15). His books include The Primordial Dance: Diametric and Concentric Spaces in the Unconscious World (Peter Lang 2012) and Access to Education in Europe: A Framework and Agenda for System Change (Springer 2014). He has given keynotes and invited presentations in more than 20 countries.

Julien Sauvaget

France - Popul'art

Julien created the Popul'art Company in Nantes and has worked as comedian in different Companies since 2007, essentially with “street theaters.” Previously, he lived in Germany between 2001 and 2004, and then took on German Studies in Strasbourg until 2006. He moved to Nantes for studying cultural mediation in 2007. Julien likes to bring people together through theater and cultural events to strengthen social cohesion, in one word ”to make cultural bridges.”