Inspiring speakers at the IFEA Europe’s conference

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Why not seek new inspiration during the dark winter months in a city that is known for its creativity and imiginative approach to public events? IFEA Europe’s 20th anniversary conference in Rotterdam – held at the end of January alongside the International Film Festival Rotterdam – brings together festival organisers, researchers, city cultural workers, students of event management, and others in the industry, for 2 days of workshops, debates, social exchange, and sharing of best practice.

The conference features a list of inspiring guest speakers covering a range of topics, from insights into the challenges of running the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad (Nick Dodds) and managing the acclaimed Eurosonic Festival in Groeningen (Peter Smidt), to serving and engaging audiences via new technologies (Rohan Gunatilake, named in 2012 by Wired magazine as one of 50 people who are about to change the world, and formerly a lead producer of the Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab).

Recent additions to the list of prominent speakers include Brussels-based sponsorship expert William Fenton of ”Sponsorship Ideas”, and Berlin based communications expert Sebastian Hesse, founder of ”Big Bang & Whistle”.

William Fenton has worked for sponsors and sponsorship seekers for 20 years and is co-author of The Sponsorship Handbook. His clients are as diverse as The British Library, Epson, FedEx, The Barbican, The Dubai International Film Festival and The European Space Agency, and willl present to the conference his observations on trends in sponsorship, what modern sponsors expect, as well as best practice examples from the world of arts and city festivals. He will also provide meaningful practical advice on selling sponsorship in a tough market.

 William Fenton

William Fenton holds The Market Research Society Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice. His articles have been published in The International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship & The Journal of Sponsorship, and he is a founder member of the European Sponsorship Association’s Continuous Professional Development Accreditation programme.

Sebastian Hesse is a dynamic speaker, worth listening to if you want to renew or revisit your marketing approach and gain new audiences. Taking a starting point in interesting social media tools and channels, Sebastian Hesse discusses the linkage between programming, actual media content, desired target audiences, and the overall brand experience.  Drawing on examples of best practice and the use of ”fascination triggers”, he focuses on how efficient use of the art of storytelling can help convey an an idea and provide a bigger picture of what will happen, bringing audiences with a sense of not wanting to miss an upcoming event.

Sebastian Hesse

 Sebastian Hesse is an expert and consultant for Communications and Business Development with a track record in international PR and Marketing Communications of more than 10 years, including 6 years at Weber Shandwick, one of the leading international PR firms. He counseled numerous NGOs and companies such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mia Farrow’s Dream for Darfur, Bertelsmann Foundation, Ski Dubai / Mall of the Emirates, eBay Germany, Vattenfall, Russian Standard Vodka and L’Oréal. For his work, he and his team was recognized with several awards, such as the Pan-European Sabre Award. Sebastian studied communications at University of Erfurt, is alumnus of the intercultural musical program of Up with People, and recently founded Big Bang & Whisper, a circle of independent communications professionals.


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