The Alternative’s international ambassadors are our eyes and ears in the region they live in. The Alternative needs good tips from people, organizations and milieus to inspire our policy development.
The ambassadors also function as local points of contact and help with organizing any workshops or seminars which are to be held to develop solutions and ideas for our global challenges.
Last but not least, the ambassadors are a sounding board for initiators who want to establish the first local sections in those parts of the world where we have an ambassador.
Ambassador in Canada
Peter MacLeod is principal of MASS LBP, an innovative advisory firm based in Toronto which works with forward-thinking governments and corporations to deepen and improve public consultation and engagement.
Since 2007, MASS has led some of Canada’s most original and ambitious efforts to engage citizens in tackling tough policy options while pioneering the use of Civic Lotteries and Citizen Reference Panels on behalf of a wide array of clients.
Over the past decade MacLeod has worked with leading organizations in North America and Europe, including Fast Company magazine, Vancouver’s Work Centre for Dialogue, Britain’s Demos think tank and the KaosPilots, a Danish school for business design and social innovation.
A graduate of the University of Toronto and Queen’s University, he writes and speaks frequently about the citizen’s experience of the state, the importance of public imagination and the future of responsible government. He is an Action Canada fellow, a recipient of the Public Policy Forum’s Emerging Leaders Award, and a director of Toronto’s Wellesley Institute for Urban Health, as well as the Quetico Foundation, and the Wagemark Foundation, which he founded in 2013.
Ambassador in Australia
Michael Doneman is founding director of Edgeware Creative Entrepreneurship. He has 25years of experience in education and community cultural development, which inspired work in communities (including Indigenous and rural-remote communities) in enterprise development, vocational education and training, and information technology. In the course of this he developed expertise in informal education and animation, the just-in-time design of skills, networks and interactions.
Michael was a Senior Research Fellow at Queensland University of Technology from 2002-2005 and an Affiliate of the ATN University network’s e-Grad School, focusing on knowledge transfer and research commercialisation. He founded the Edgeware model of ethical entrepreneurship education in 2006, and works with Edgeware and independently as an educator, facilitator and coach.
Ambassador in Croatia
Željko Blaće (b.1976), works in contemporary culture and arts, digital technologies and media, community sport and queer activism. He has had various different roles – as researcher, reporter, producer, designer, curator, critic, editor, activist, artist, athlete – all the time retaining a more generalist perspective as a creative lead or critical contributor.
He studied fine arts and pedagogy but switched to digital domain and critical culture in the mid 90s, later working as a media design researcher at Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, Netherlands from 2008-2009 and more recently as a doctoral student at the Royal Academy in The Hague.
Around the turn of the millennium he co-founded the Multimedia Institute/net.culture club MaMa in Zagreb, Croatia as a place for new media culture and a hub for the independent and urban cultural scene as well as many minority groups and initiatives. In 2001-2003 he co-organized and co-curated a number of seminal new media events: ASU2 – art/act/alt servers/spaces/streamers unlimited (2001), Critical_Upgrade – new media culture week festival with the RealityCheckForCyberUtopias conference (2002) and Next5Minutes festival of tactical media (2003). He also worked as freelance journalist for national TV and on-line media both in Croatia and internationally.
Since 2005 he has instigated the QueerSport community of queer athletes and recreation enthusiasts, later establishing the qSPORT organization with the same social and critical agenda. In 2012 he co-organized the Contesting/Contexting SPORT conference for inclusive, diverse and sustainable sport. Currently busy with organizing its second edition while maintaining a focus on issues of social justice and hetero/homo-normativity, emancipatory media and technology tools, and leisure and recreation as a context for critical and creative engagement.
Ambassador in the USA
Laurie Meadoff is CEO of Laurie Inc. and Team, a company designed to innovate connect and activate brands and media from around the world. In her role at Laurie Inc. and Team, her work on behalf of a wide range of digital and conventional businesses, non-profit organizations, broadcast and cable television networks, academic institutions, political leaders and others all benefit from her uniquely diverse experience and unmatched record of accomplishment.
Laurie was CEO of actress Fran Drescher’s Cancer Schmancer where she created the brand Trash Cancer with Humana. She also consulted to Goldie Hawn’s education foundation and founded The Citykids Foundation. As founder and CEO of Chat Ventures, Laurie has executive produced for Nickelodeon, Disney, ABC MTV and VH1. After receiving a Rockefeller Fellowship she co created the innovative television series, Chat the Planet, linking young people around the globe as well as the critically acclaimed web series “Hometown Baghdad.” Laurie just completed the production of a six-part series with Grandparents.com and Deepak Chopra. Laurie is currently consulting for three innovative, game-changing companies, The Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute, August Moon, Grandparents.com, as well as The Gramercy Millennium Group.
Ambassadors in the UK
Shelagh Wright works with a diverse range of people and projects around the world on cultural and creative economy policy and sustainable practice.
She is a Director of Mission Models Money, an Associate of the think tank Demos, a Director of ThreeJohnsandShelagh and an Associate of the Culture+Conflict initiative. Her publications include: Creativity Money Love; After the Crunch; So.What Do You Do?; Making Good Work and Design for Learning; in addition to articles and papers on sustainable cultural and creative enterprise, skills and investment policy. Shelagh has led programmes of work on policy and practice in the UK, was a contributor to the Creative Britain strategy and a member of the EU Expert Working Group on the Creative Industries. She is also on the boards of several UK arts and cultural organizations.
Peter Jenkinson OBE is an independent cultural broker based in London working across a diverse portfolio of sectors and disciplines in the worlds of culture and creativity. Previously he was the founding director of both the initially £40 million Creative Partnerships creativity in learning programme with schools across England and of the £21 million, world-class New Art Gallery Walsall.
For five years from 2006 he was an advisor on the post-conflict art programme in the City of Derry~Londonderry in Northern Ireland and a member of the city’s successful bid team to become the first UK City of Culture in 2013. He was Chair of the International Symposium at the first Post-War Arts and Culture Festival in Northern Iraq/Kurdistan~Iraq in 2009 and Chair of the Contemporary Art Iraq Symposium at Cornerhouse Manchester in 2010. These experiences of zones of conflict led to his interest in co-founding the Culture+Conflict agency of which he is an Associate. He is a board member of the Drawing Room London, the International Curators Forum and the International Culture Arts Network Derry~Donegal, a patron of Space Studios London and a member of the London Chapter of the Awesome Foundation.
Ambassador in South Africa
Nicolette du Plessis. Nicky is an independent arts consultant
specializing in the design and management of cultural development projects, project evaluation and training. Clients have included the Nordic Council of Ministers, Sida, Norad and Hivos, for whom she has worked throughout Africa; various tertiary education institutions in South Africa and Europe as guest faculty and external examiner;
and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority,
with whom she has devised development programmes in cultural tourism.
She has also worked with Business and Arts South Africa, contributing to building relationships between arts practitioners and the business community. She co-edited The South African Handbook on Arts and Culture with Mike van Graan in 1998; served as the National Deputy Chair of the Performing Arts Network of South Africa, is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the South African National Arts Council, and the Chair of Art Moves Africa, the only mobility fund for African artists travelling within Africa. She won the Arts Administrator of the Year Award from the Arts and Culture Trust in 2005.
Cultural Radius CC (established 1998) frequently co-ordinates consortiums or establishes partnerships with other professionals and like-minded organizations in order to undertake specific contracts. The ethos of the company is based on commitments to sustainable development; the dignified promotion of the arts based on principles of human rights and an unshakeable belief in the transformative power of the creative spirit – in art, in education, in business and in development.
Ambassador in Hong Kong
Ada Wong has been a staunch advocate of creative education and cultural development. She founded the non-profit Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture over 10 years ago, founded and is now supervisor of HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity (the only “art high school” in Hong Kong) In the last two years, HKICC further launched two signature events – the Make A Difference (MaD) Platform (www.mad.asia) and the Chinese Creative Industries Forum (CCIF) (www.ccif.hk).
Wong actively participated in public service and community activities. She was an elected Urban Councillor, District Councillor and Chairperson of Wan Chai District Council. Shs is currently a member of the Consultation Panel of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, the Art Museum Advisory Panel, and a board member of Hong Kong Shue Yan University and Hong Kong Design Centre respectively.
She was a columnist for Oriental Daily and Ming Pao Daily for over 10 years. She is also a co-host of two current affair programmes at Radio Television Hong Kong. She received her BA (Hons) from Pomona College, California, USA and M Ed from the University of Hong Kong. She is also an Honorary Fellow of Lingnan University and Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Ambassador in Sweden
Nikola Matišić. Nikola Matišić is the founder and leader of Operalabb, a movement for artistry, artistic quality and public dialogue in Opera and the voice, including the Operastaden Project – a community based public facility for artists, classical music, development and training. Nikola is a member of the European Cultural Parliament, as Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, member of Mensa, board member of the Masthamnsoperan Project, and several other network-organizations.
After initially working as a Stockholm Royal Opera chorus-member during his teens, Nikola is now a trained opera singer with a postgraduate from the Royal Academy of Music, London and a Master of Music from the Royal Academy in Den Haag and is a Samling Scholar. As a soloist Nikola has performed lead roles in many major theaters in Scandinavia and is a former Jette Parker Young Artist of Covent Garden, London, where he performed both major and minor roles for more than two years, on top of the concert work with major orchestras.
Nikola is a published author of many articles on culture, the arts and social issues in all the major newspapers in Sweden, as well as specialist magazines. As a teenager, Nikola was an elite ballroom dancer, is trained in mime and is an active martial arts practitioner – and not surprisingly therefore specializes in pedagogy and development of physical culture and movement for the stage.