L to R: Matthew Attard, Ann Laenen, Caldon Mercieca, Nicole Bearman, Alexandra Pace.
Matthew Attard (Malta 1987) graduated in History of Art at the University of Malta in 2008. Between 2009 and 2013 he collaborated with international contemporary art institutions, including The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Venice Biennale and Galleria Michela Rizzo; experiences which also determined his artistic development. In 2011 he was awarded an artist residency at Forte Marghera, where he began developing his current artistic research. Attard has exhibited broadly in Italy, London, Beijing and Los Angeles. He is also co-founder of NO.ME Studio, Valletta.
Caldon Mercieca is project leader of the Valletta Design Cluster and Manager at the Culture Directorate within the Ministry responsible for Culture. He is a co-author of the National Cultural Policy (2011) and of the National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries (2013). Since 2008, he has worked directly on the development and implementation of several public funding initiatives related to culture and the arts, including the Malta Arts Fund, the Malta Film Fund, INVEX Scheme (creative start-ups programme), KREATTIV (Education+Creativity scheme), the Culture Card initiative, the Malta Digital Games Fund, and the President’s Creativity Award. On the policy front, Caldon has worked on the review of the Theatre and Film Age Classification Regulations (2012), the review of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (now Arts Council Malta) and of the Cultural Heritage Act. He has conducted stakeholder workshops and seminar presentations, as well as presented in international conferences, on matters related to the creative economy, cultural and creative education, intellectual property, cultural mapping, and cultural heritage. He has been involved in the European Capital of Culture preparations for Malta since 2006, and is currently actively engaged with the Valletta 2018 Foundation’s research programme, with particular interest in the areas of cultural mapping and the urban impact of the ECOC programme. Caldon holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy from the University of Malta, where he contributes to courses on policy and on critical perpectives on artistic practice and culture under a number of faculties and institutes in the Humanities.
Ann Laenen studied Arts and Theatre Science at KU Leuven and reached PhD level at the University of Leeds in 2007 on Audience Development: ‘Why Opera Education? Five Cases of views in a European Context’. She then worked as a project coordinator and cultural manager for several (inter)national projects and organisations. In 2009 she was appointed co-ordinator of the Communication Media Design programme at the Media & Design Academy in Genk; the following October became the Head of Department; and two years later was appointed Dean of the Faculty of the Arts (LUCA School of Arts / KU Leuven). Currently she is teaching Active Design Processes and Design Thinking at the Department of Digital Arts/Faculty of Media and Knowledge Science, University of Malta. She combines her academic work with project coordination and consultancy at a strategic as well as service design level within the arts, culture, creative industries and education. As such she is co-ordinator of the Meeting Point Strand, including the Artist in Residence programme, for Valletta 2018 Foundation, European Capital of Culture.
Nicole Bearman is Programme Director at Blitz. She is an arts professional with 20+ years experience creating publications, events and programmes for visual arts and craft organisations, museums, universities and festivals, including the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (Powerhouse Museum), Sydney Design Festival, the Biennale of Sydney, and Object, Australian Centre for Craft and Design. She was both Editor and contributor to numerous art, architecture and design magazines including Object, Australian Art Collector, Indesign, Monument, Vogue Living and POL Oxygen. Nicole holds degrees in Visual Arts and Museum Studies, both from the University of Sydney.
Alexandra Pace (*1977) is Director of Blitz. She is an artist, educator and curator living and working in Malta. Educated at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London, Alexandra has lectured at the Department of Digital Arts at the University of Malta where she has taught photography, as well as multidisciplinary studio practice. Alexandra’s work forms part of various private and public collections, including the permanent collection of the University of Arts London and the Museum of Fine Arts in Malta.
In 2013, Alexandra founded Blitz, a non-profit contemporary art space in Valletta (Malta). She currently holds the position of Director and Curator.