Key note speakers

Lia Ghilardi, Director Noema Research and Planning Ltd.

Lia Ghilardi has built up an extensive portfolio of cultural planning and cultural research projects both in the UK and in Europe. After working with Charles Landry's Comedia Consultancy in the early 1990s, she set up Noema Research and Planning in 1999.

Lia's background is in urban sociology (Trento University, Italy), she has an MA with Distinction in Arts Criticism from City University (London) and a Diploma in Creative Thinking Skills from the De Bono Seminars Programme (Malta). She is Honorary Research Associate at the International Cultural Planning Research Unit of De Montfort University (Leicester), and Leader of the Policy Making Module at City University, Department of Arts Policy and Management.


Colin Mercer

Colin Mercer is the UK's first Professor of Cultural Policy and former Director of the Cultural Policy and Planning Research Unit at The Nottingham Trent University. He is an internationally recognised specialist in strategic cultural/creative industries analysis, research, development and advocacy and has worked in this field as consultant, advisor and research director for nearly 20 years in Australia, the UK and internationally. He is a strong advocate of new regional agendas in the UK and European contexts. Currently he is specialising in cultural and creative industries mapping and planning, cultural indicators, and the connections between cultural and social capital.

He has worked on cultural/creative industries mapping and impact assessments for Bath and North East Somerset Council and South West Arts (Economic and Social Impact Assessment of the Arts, 1999), for Swindon Borough Council (Swindon: Creative Town? - The Economic Significance of the Cultural and Creative Industries in Swindon, 2002) and for Cornwall Arts Marketing (Cornwall Creative Industries Mapping and Impact Study, 2002-2003). Outside the South West he has worked on The Greater Nottingham Area Cultural Audit and Strategy (2001), The Folkestone Old Town Cultural Regeneration Strategy (2002) and the Essex County Council Best Value Review of Cultural Services (2002).


Tom Fleming, Director Creative Consultancy Ltd.

Dr Tom Fleming is a consultant and academic specialising in research and support for the cultural and Creative Industries sector at all levels, plus on broader issues of culture and creativity for cities and regions.

Key areas of specialism include Creative Industries investment, local and regional Creative Industries strategies, cluster development, detailed mapping, cultural planning, and establishing targeted support mechanisms for the Creative Industries sector that include approaches to finance, investment, business advice, skills/training, property feasibility, and network and supply chain development.

He has led a range of research and strategy programmes on behalf of regional development agencies and high profile national bodies, as well as undertaken significant international work. Central to his approach is the relationship between creativity and economic development, where creativity can drive the growth of a range of sectors and enhance the prospects for specific places to attract highly skilled and culturally active citizens.


Marta Smolíková, Director of Open Society p.b.c./ProCulture

During the past fifteen years Marta Smolíkova has been working in expert position within the art, arts management and cultural policy field. She was working for the Soros Foundation from 1993  to 2003 as visual arts cordinator, since 1996 as head of arts and cultural programs. In 2003 she founded ProCulture Research, Information and Education Center for Arts and Culture. The mission of ProCulture is to support the cultural policy in the Czech Republic by informing about new trends in the field of art and culture and promoting the successful strategies that help regional development. The main objective of ProCulture is transformation of the role of culture and attitude towards it in the Czech Republic.

Marta Smoliková was a leader of projects Concept for more Efficient Support of the Arts in 2007 - 2013 (2006), Labour market analysis of the Czech cultural sector (2007).  Marta serves as the evaluator of the cultural projects submitted to the governmental bodies, city governments in the Czech republic and abroad as well as private cultural foundations. She is a board member of cultural institutions in the Czech Republic (namely Interational Theatre Institute, Prague Quadriennale, Council of the Artists and others). At present she is part of group of experts preparing new cultural policy of the City of Prague. She teaches Art Management at the Academy of Art and Desing in Prague and Cultural Policy at The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.

Marta Smolíková has been appointed a director of Open Society, public servis company in September 2008. ProCulture Centre is part of Open Society p.b.c.
Open Society p.b.c. implements programs and projects supporting the development of civil society in the following areas: gender; information rights especially in the public administration; police reform; cultural and social policy.