Maria Kärkkäinen: Take me into your arms, ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival 2012. Photo: Pekka Mäkinen

Wire #12: Changing Models of International Engagement: Presenters' Edition

Tue 23 Feb 2021

In APAM’s previous Wire conversation, we heard from Australian artists discussing ways they’ve modified their existing international arts practice, adapting to circumstances where physical touring as we have known it is no longer possible, and trialling new models of international engagement.

As a follow up session we’ll hear the perspective of our international colleagues who are international presenters and curators of artistic works. What are the most innovative and sustainable ways they’ve identified to continue working with artists and build audiences? How have they experimented with their programming and audience engagement over the past twelve months: what have been the successes and the constructive failures? What has surprised them, and what are they planning for the future?

Our panel is Helen Cole, Olga Drygas, Natalie Hennedige and Johanna Tuukkanen, hosted by Nike Jonah.

This conversation was recorded and you can view the video below.


Nike Jonah (moderator) works in strategic development across the cultural and creative industries worldwide. Since the early 90s, she has developed innovative approaches to much successful music, fashion, television, design, visual and performing arts projects for several influential organisations in Africa, America and Europe. Nike Jonah balances her time between various roles in the cultural sector. In July 2018, she launched Pan African Creative Exchange (PACE) in partnership with the Vrystaat Arts Festival in Bloemfontein, South Africa in July 2018. PACE is an initiative for African-based artists and arts organisations who wish to undertake international touring, increase their profile and develop national and international partnership opportunities. Between 2008 and 2012, Nike led the highly acclaimed Arts Council England’s Decibel Programme, which was designed to support and increase the profile of African, Asian and Caribbean artists in England. Through this, Nike delivered an ambitious programme of events and activities that included the showcasing of artists and companies, strategic bursaries aimed to effect positive, sustainable change for diverse artists in the UK.

Helen Cole is the Artistic Director/CEO of In Between Time which she founded in Bristol, UK in 2001. Cole is a producer, writer and artist. Over a career spanning almost 30 years she has worked with many incredible artists across the world to create a series of globally respected international festivals and a myriad of unusual projects in forests, warehouses, car parks, mansions, galleries and theatres. Cole mentors, commissions and contributes to symposia and publications in the UK and across the world.

Olga Drygas is a curator, dramaturge, creative producer and fempreneur collaborating with NOWY TEATR in Warsaw, Poland, as a curator of NEW EUROPE International Festival and Generation After Showcase. She is also a guest lecturer at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities and a PhD candidate at Art Institute, Polish Academy of Science. In her work she tries subversively to morph narrations and to keep doubt coming: to tear apart the system, break it, mould it, shape it, and build it again, making the spectator a flâneur enjoying drifting between possible worlds.

Natalie Hennedige is a performance director and writer, known for her singular artistic language and creative vision exploring contemporary issues through highly constructed heightened worlds with collaborators from diverse artistic disciplines and cultural backgrounds. She served as Artistic Director of Cake, a performance company now in its fourteenth year of presenting progressive new works at the intersection of performance and a variety of other disciplines. Her work has been presented in national and international venues. She is a recipient of the National Arts Council Young Artist Award (2007) and JCCI Singapore Foundation Culture Award (2010) and now serves as Festival Director Designate for Singapore International Festival of Arts.

Johanna Tuukkanen, PhD, is one of the founders of ANTI Contemporary Art Festival (Kuopio, Finland) and works as the artistic director and senior producer of ANTI. ANTI works with innovative artists on projects that explore and explode urban space. We produce an annual international arts festival. We curate events and programmes across the year. We are home to the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art. We’ve been here since 2002.