Supervisory Committee

The Supervisory Committee has the following key responsibilities:

  • To decide the general strategies and policies
  • To appoint the managing directors
  • To supervise and to support the Management

The Supervisory Committee can appoint its own advisors.

Members of the Supervisory Committee are:

José María de Juan (Spain)

Chair of the Supervisory Committee

I work as a consultant in cooperation for development specialized in tourism, mainly in Spain and Latin America, and use intensively heritage interpretation in the design of tourism routes, services and products. My principal specialities are destination marketing and product design, and I work mainly in developing areas and countries. The fields of rural tourism, cultural tourism, nature tourism and ecotourism, are the main interests of me and my team.

The natural protected areas are my favorite space, as to the cultural heritage destinations and indigenous communities all over the world.Both in Spain and Latin America, I devote quite a good time to teach tourism marketing and heritage interpretation to local authorities, tourism guides, entrepreneurs, wine cellars, archaeological spaces, etc.

I also believe very much in the power of heritage interpretation as a tool to change the face of the heritage, to approach it to the local people and to the tourists, as to enhance the value of the heritage.

To develop all these jobs, I run my own consultancy firm, KOAN Consulting, based in Madrid; and also I am partner of another company, DMC-Destination Management, where we are in charge of the European Cemeteries Route and other cultural and historical routes all over Europe.

I am really confident that Interpret Europe is a wonderful idea and team and look forward to start new projects all over Europe and to extend the knowledge to the rest of the world.

Marie Avellino (Malta)

Vice-chair of the Supervisory Committee

I am a lecturer at the Institute of Tourism, Travel and Culture, University of Malta, as well as visiting lecturer for other entities. Prior to entering academia a decade ago I had amassed over 30 years of tourism, training and management experience working with prestigious organisations such as the national airline, Air Malta and one of the big four, Deloitte and Touche’. This experience allows me to bring a different dimension and perspective to pure research as I have also been involved at different levels of organisations. The University of Malta gave me the opportunity to not only carry out lecturing and research but to work in a   Heritage and Tourism management role in research projects such as two EU Lifelong learning projects, Socializing Tourism (SoTo) and Heritage Interpretation for Senior Audiences (HISA). I also chair the ITTC Research Ethics committee and am the coordinator for Masters and CPD programmes.

As an anthropologist with a special interest in tourism, memory, identity and the circuit of culture, together with my management experience, I place significant emphasis on the role of interpretation as an innovative tool for communicating strategically and learning from heritage attractions. These places and the spaces they occupy, in both their tangible and intangible form are imbued with symbols and coded systems which need to be decoded for the visitors and locals alike. The role of the interpreter is to provide the links between the values which are located within the sites and the contemporary lives of the visitors.

Although interpretation in most of Europe is still in its infancy, the case of the small archipelago state of Malta is different. The large concentration of heritage sites spanning over 7000 years, a high population density and an even larger tourist impact equivalent to four tourists to every Maltese means that sustainable management is at the forefront of all cultural and tourism national agendas. The University of Malta has been lecturing Heritage Management and Interpretation at undergraduate level for a decade now and has now expanded its repertoire to Masters and PhD level.

My mission, as a member of the Interpret Europe Supervisory Committee is to take the role we have embarked upon in Malta, to a wider audience. I also want to cooperate as well as learn from our members so that a best practice strategy developed by IE is disseminated throughout the globe.

Darko Babic (Croatia)

Throughout childhood any kind of Great Wonders of the World books were his favourites. After school, during studies and after graduation (MA in Ethnology and Museology/Heritage Studies) he accumulated diverse working experiences such as being a project manager on international projects, a conferences organiser and an editor, organiser and PR for events and exhibitions, an archivist as well as an assistant on National TV. He defended his PhD thesis on topic of heritage literacy as quite specific heritage management tool - feel free to ask if you want to know more about it.

So these days, for last few years, he is working as a senior researcher and a lecturer at the University of Zagreb, Croatia covering different topics within heritage field and museology, yet his favourites will always remain heritage interpretation, heritage literacy and heritage of the Mediterranean. At the same time he is working as a part-time heritage consultant and running small scale NGO. He gladly joined challenge to assist the blossom of heritage interpretation in Europe just because: it's not work - it is love.

Markus Blank (Austria)

I feel lucky that I can look back on two lives.

In my first life I studied electrical engineering and worked for 13 years as the head of the IT department in different companies. But soon I recognized that the job did not fulfill me at all. I decided to quit my job and to hire a professional career coach. Soon I learned that I wanted to do something “with and for nature, with and for people,” but I did not know which job would combine these qualities. On a vacation in the U.S.A. I recognized the U.S. National Park Rangers (which I saw a couple of times before on other vacations), and I instantly knew: That’s it!

I applied for volunteer positions in several U.S. National Parks and had the great opportunity to volunteer in the division of interpretation at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area located near Los Angeles.

That’s where my second life as an interpreter began. I was introduced to interpretation for the first time and I was excited to learn more about the profession as I worked as an interpretive U.S. National Park Ranger for almost one year.

Back in Europe I participated in a ranger training in the Austrian Gesäuse National Park. After one year of working there as a Park Ranger I got the wonderful opportunity to fulfill my dreams in the department of environmental education in the Gesäuse National Park. Now I’m in charge of several exhibits, all of the themed trails, the National Park app and of interpretation. Besides that I still love to conducting programs and being outdoors in the park.

It is my heartfelt desire to establish solid interpretive programs across Europe so that visitors to our historic and scenic places will gain a greater understanding and appreciation for them. Only through effective interpretation we will be able to preserve and protect these places for future generations.

Bill Taylor (UK)

Bill Taylor's role on the Supervisory Committee is temporarily on hold whilst he covers the role of IE's Conference Coordinator.

For the last six years I have run my own consultancy in tourism, heritage and interpretation.  For 20 years I have been actively involved in promoting the use of effective interpretation to connect visitors to outstanding heritage sites. Most of my work has been in Scotland, but over the last few years I have been working extensively in Norway and Northern Sweden. I chaired the very successful Vital Spark conference in 2007 and the 2013 Sigtuna conference.  I was actively involved in the early development of the UHI Masters in Heritage Interpretation and delivered a range of modules.

Before this I worked for 30 years in a range of public bodies, including the regional development agency in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, where I was heritage manager; Scottish Natural Heritage where I was lead for tourism  and managed several of the top conservation sites in the UK. I was the first project officer on the innovative Highland Interpretive Strategy.

I bring considerable experience in recreation and access, nature conservation, tourism and heritage interpretation to the Supervisory Committee.

Our mission

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