Interpret Europe’s managing coordinators are responsible for areas of activity that are directly linked to the management of the organisation. At present there are five managing coordinators leading their own teams:

Marie Banks IE News Coordinator

Marie Banks (UK)

News Coordinator

The News Team works with Interpret Europe members to produce the quarterly newsletter and other communications, including offering proofreading for non-native English speakers. I also liaise with the Social Media Coordinator and support the Management.

My career in interpretation started accidentally, but what a happy accident! After university studies and then spending six months on a rainforest conservation project in Vietnam, I found a new biodiversity visitor attraction was being built in Bristol, UK. It was due to open in 2000 and sounded like the most exciting place.

I helped with the final stages of research and installation, which led on to other things and I gained experience in all areas of the visitor centre business, including front of house as a guide, training as a zoo keeper and horticulturalist looking after thousands of animals and plants, working with the learning team to deliver engaging activities for schools and families, and fundraising to secure a £2 million grant for exhibition developments. I led the team to develop the interpretation plan and implementation of it which gave me more of an insight into the world of interpretation and how powerful it can be to engage people and became the Exhibition Manager.

I then moved on to become a consultant for the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT). WWT is a charity which manages ten reserves with visitor centres around the UK and my job was to apply my operational and interpretation experience to help others all over the world to develop visitor centres and interpretive programmes to engage people with the natural world whilst minimising disturbance to wildlife. I got to travel the world and help to deliver some great heritage interpretation projects.

I now run my own company, called Zebraproof, and offer proofreading and copyediting in addition to interpretation planning, exhibit design and installation for zoos, museums, visitor centres, national parks and heritage sites. Having previously volunteered to assist with proofreading for IE conference material and newsletter articles, I was pleased to accept the official role of News Coordinator in 2016 and really enjoy hearing from you all and helping to keep you all up to date with IE news.


Valya Stergioti (Greece)

Training Coordinator

I have been working in non-formal education ever since I graduated from high school, organising and delivering a wide variety of workshops aimed at both children and adults. But it was at the end of last century, while evaluating the effectiveness of information centres for my MSc Dissertation, that I discovered heritage interpretation.

I was amazed and thrilled to find a theory that could explain what I witnessed in practice: that some guides and media could “hook” their audience, whereas others just couldn’t.

My interest in heritage interpretation has continued ever since. I am a Certified Interpretive Planner (awarded by the National Association for Interpretation: NAI) and completed the training for interpretive agents in the HeriQ Project.

Now, I am working as a freelance interpretive trainer and planner, still motivated by the challenge and creativity of re-inventing my training and interpretive tools. In 2010 I founded Alli Meria (meaning the “Other Side”) to promote heritage interpretation in my country.

As Interpret Europe’s Training Coordinator, together with a great training team, my goal is to help Interpret Europe offer a range of inspiring and effective training courses to its members.


Carmen Granito (Italy)

Research Coordinator

If stones could talk, they would tell amazing stories. As a journalist covering Southern Italian heritage, I have always used storytelling to raise awareness around local and neglected sites. However, it was only during my MA in Heritage Management (at the University of Kent and Athens Business School) that I fully realised that at the core of heritage management are the values and stories behind the stones.

Since then, heritage interpretation has become a signature of everything I do. As Head of R&D for the London-based consultancy The Seeking State, I placed narratives at the heart of brand strategies for cultural organisations. As a heritage consultant, I have run projects on heritage interpretation, exhibition design and community engagement in places such as Beamish Museum (UK), Napoli Royal Palace (Italy), WHS Napoli city centre and Gran Paradiso National Park (Italy). My latest adventure is The Story Behind – Heritage Brands & Content, a consultancy that helps heritage peripheries interpret meanings, design relevance and inspire change for people, communities and society.

My heritage work is shaped by my academic research. A backpack filled with philosophy, semiotics and cognitive science, I explore human-centred and value-based communication techniques to give voice to the untold stories of heritage. Along the way, I completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Anthropology of Art at Durham University, investigating how different cultures tell their stories through pictures. My new horizon is to push the boundaries of heritage branding and interpretation through cognitive and social research – to engage the many, not the few.

I am an IE Certified Interpretive Guide and Writer, and as IE Research Coordinator, my goal is to help strengthen heritage interpretation practice and practitioners with research support and projects.


Bettina Lehnes  (Germany)

Events Coordinator

Working with children of all ages for most of my life, I came across interpretation at a visitor centre during a family holiday in Wales. This was different from everything we knew at the time and it started to shape a new life for us.

It was my husband, Patrick, who started his business as an interpreter first. My own interpretation ‘career’ started as his non-expert proofreader and consultant in children’s affairs. I joined the business full-time in 2009. It was the same year that we started to work on the foundation of Interpret Europe.

The task that I enjoyed most during my time as Interpret Europe’s Assistant Director, was organising the annual conferences in different countries. Now I am happy to take on the task again as conference coordinator. Together with the conference team, I will do my best to create new inspiring and unforgettable conference experiences for you. Let’s see where we meet next…