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 (UK)
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.
Janja Sivec (Slovenia)
Social Media Coordinator
When finishing my university degree in Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the Faculty of Art in Ljubljana, several things happened in a very short time. I got sucked into the NGO sector and EU projects, became impressed and intrigued with heritage interpretation and was present when Interpret Europe was established in 2010 in Slovenia.
Being familiar with the possibilities of different EU programmes (today’s Erasmus +) and having met all the wonderful interpreters, I went on two different exchanges. The first was job-shadowing in Scotland with ARCHnetwork and the second was 12 weeks’ practical work with TellTale in the UK. Those two experiences helped me immensely to see the practical aspects of interpretation and gave me the professional direction that I follow.
Since 2013, I have been the leader of NGO Legends. We research, promote and interpret heritage. We do a lot of different activities for children and youth and educational programmes for professionals in tourism and the heritage sector.
I am one of Interpret Europe’s certified trainers providing programmes that are doing very well and have opened several doors for interpretation in Slovenia.
Most of my current work is leading different courses, but I still love to work as a guide and deliver pedagogical programmes for youth and children. They are the best of critics. I enjoy combining heritage interpretation with the methodology of youth work, because they both offer methodology that is so close to my heart. Practice what you preach!
Valya Stergioti (Greece)
The Training Team contributes to the development and organisation of Interpret Europe’s training programme. In collaboration with an ever-expanding network of Certified Interpretive Trainers, we make sure that our courses remain fresh, relevant and efficient for all interpretive professionals.
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)
The Research Team supports Interpret Europe with research findings. We liaise with universities and involve researchers to answer the most critical questions in heritage interpretation.
If stones could talk, they would tell amazing stories. As a journalist covering Southern Italian heritage, I always used storytelling to raise awareness around neglected ancient sites. But it was only during my MA (Heritage Management, University of Kent in Athens) that I fully realised that stories are the pivots around which heritage management revolves, from conservation to promotion. Since then, I’ve worked in heritage branding with a London consultancy, focussing on narratives as the foundations of brand strategies and cultural retail for heritage organisations.
In my parallel life, I’m a researcher. Drawing on the fields of Philosophy, Semiotics and Cognitive Science, I have examined visual communication and language. I’m currently completing my Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded PhD in Anthropology of Art (Durham University, UK), studying how different cultures use different visual conventions to tell their stories through pictures.
Heritage interpretation unites these two paths: using effective verbal and visual communication techniques to give voice to the stories of heritage and engage the widest possible audience. I am an IE Certified Interpretive Guide and Writer, and as the Research Coordinator, my goal is to help strengthen the heritage interpretation approach by backing it up with research findings and fostering research on its benefits.
As a hobby, I post on my blog Heritales, where I combine photos and short creative texts on cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, famous or off the beaten tracks. I’m a bread-lover, detective story addict and Pink Floyd believer.
Nuria Mohedano (Spain)
In cooperation with other Interpret Europe members, we try to give interpretation a voice by bringing together people who want to learn and share about heritage interpretation through events. We organise our annual international conference to gather together all interpreters from different backgrounds.
Fascinated about travel, it all started right after finishing my bachelor degree in Tourism Management at the Polytechnic University of València in Spain. I have been working in the tourism industry for almost 12 years, during which time I have had the chance to learn from other cultures and be impressed by tangible and intangible heritage from the countries where I lived in. After developing my final career project in Beijing, China, I found out I was missing some training in sustainable tourism.
That is why I enrolled on the European Master’s in Sustainable Tourism Management, a two-year joint master programme tailor-made by three European universities located in Denmark, Slovenia and Spain. Whilst studying and afterwards, I quickly got involved in many different projects related to sustainable tourism development.
I am an active part of the non-profit organisation that promotes and develops ecotourism in Castilla-La Mancha, named “Ecoturismo CLM”. I am part of the team at the first online magazine in Spanish specialised in responsible tourism, known as Travindy. Indeed, I combine all these with my job as a sustainable tourism consultant for Caminos del Guadiana Ecoturismo.
Right now, I am working on the two-year tourism management plan of a rural destination at the Natural Park “Valle de Alcudia y Sierra Madrona” aimed at promoting tourism throughout heritage conservation related to shepperding culture.
I believe reviving local cultural values, developing national creativity, and traditions and preserving heritage is the most important tool for sustainable tourism development.