Managing coordinators

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:

News Coordinator:
Marie Banks (UK)

My career in interpretation started accidentally, but what a happy accident! Having studied Biological Sciences and spent six months on a rainforest conservation project in Vietnam, I found that ‘Millennium Money’ was being spent on a new visitor attraction in Bristol, UK, which would house a tropical botanical house as part of a biodiversity exhibition, along with hundreds of live animal exhibits and an innovative mix of multimedia and hands-on exhibits to interpret life on earth. It was due to open in 2000 and sounded like the most exciting place. I got a job helping with the final stages of research and installation, which happily led on to other things. During nearly eight years there, I gained experience in all areas of the visitor centre business, from front of house as a guide, to training as a zoo keeper and working with the learning team to deliver engaging activities for schools and families. I worked my way to become the Exhibition Manager of an attraction that received nearly 200,000 visitors per year and developed a suite of travelling exhibitions for a family audience and some specifically for the Under 8s age range. The most important experience for me was a secondment to the fundraising team where I successfully secured over £2million for a redevelopment project and then led the team to develop the interpretation plan and implementation of it. This gave me more of an insight into the world of interpretation and how powerful it can be to engage people.

The At-Bristol Science Centre (of which the Wildwalk biodiversity exhibition was a part) made the tough decision to close Wildwalk in 2007 for sustainability reasons and 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 in the consultancy was to apply my operational and interpretation experience, along with that of WWT’s more than 70 years’ 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. For nearly nine years, I got to travel the world and help to deliver some great projects, including the Cors Dyfi 360 Observatory in the only UNESCO Biosphere in Wales, Ballycroy National Park and Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre in Ireland, a trail for the Vallée de Mai UNESCO World Heritage Site in Seychelles, and masterplans for sites in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, South Korea, China, the USA, Uruguay and many more countries. During this time, I delivered training workshops in visitor centre planning and interpretation and kept my own professional development topped up by attending sessions through the UK Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI), Visitor Studies Group (VSG) and Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). I was very happy to mingle with like-minded interpreters at the IE conferences in 2015 (Krakow, Poland) and 2013 (Sigtuna, Sweden) and the US National Association for Interpretation (NAI)’s international conference in Sokcho, South Korea in 2009.

I now run my own company, called Zebraproof, and offer proofreading and copyediting in addition to interpretation planning, exhibit design and installation. Having previously volunteered to assist with proofreading for IE conference material and newsletter articles, I am pleased to have accepted the official role of News Coordinator and look forward to hearing from you all and helping to keep you all up to date with IE news.

When not at my desk, I will most often be found visiting museums, zoos, wildlife parks and heritage sites or outside enjoying a walk, mountain biking or floating above it all in my hot air balloon.

Social Media Coordinator:
Janja Sivec (Slovenia)

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!

Training Coordinator:
Valya Stergioti (Greece)

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.

Research Coordinator:
Carmen Granito (Italy)

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.

Events Coordinator:
Nuria Mohedano (Spain)

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.

Our mission

To serve all who use
first-hand experiences to
give natural and cultural heritage
a deeper meaning