“Creative mentorship” affirms mentoring as a tool of personal and professional development, strengthens the capacities of the cultural sector and provides support to prospective professionals interested in developing, networking and sharing knowledge and experience. We want to build, gather and support a community of motivated and socially responsible individuals that will contribute to the development of a society based on creativity, culture, knowledge and mutual cooperation.



Sixth annual meeting of the “Creative Mentorship” Advisory Board was held in Mokrin House on the last weekend of May. The Advisory Board consists of foreign and domestic experts and professionals from various fields: cultural management and policy, cultural heritage and creative industries; education, mentorship and human resources; international cultural cooperation and diplomacy; business, marketing and others.

To date, the Advisory Board of the “Creative Mentorship” has consisted of eight experts from Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom. A mandate expired to Marie Vila, entrepreneur and business consultant from Sweden who works on the development of local and gastronomic tourism in Albania, and Dr Milena Dragicević Šešić, a full-time professor at the University of Arts.

On the last meeting of the Advisory Board, four new members were elected: Philipp Dietachmair, Larisa Halilović, Relja Dereta and Višnja Kisić. We are honored that our colleagues accepted the invitation and joined this adventure!

Philipp Dietachmair is a cultural worker from Austria, who, for almost two decades, is engaged in the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) based in Amsterdam. Currently, he holds the position of Programme Manager. Philipp studied history and history of arts in Vienna and arts management in Utrecht. Before moving to Netherlands, Philipp was involved in projects related to higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina and he organized cultural events in post-war Sarajevo. Since he joined the ECF team, he worked on programmes that aimed at strengthening the capacity of cultural initiatives in EU surrounding countries (in the Balkans, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Turkey and the Arab Mediterranean region). In cooperation with the organization MitOst from Berlin, he created a programme of cross-border cultural cooperation TANDEM. In partnership with the Goethe Institute in Brussels, Philipp currently coordinates the global educational programme of leadership in culture for the European Union’s Cultural Diplomacy Platform. He was involved in numerous field research and publishing projects that examined the role of art and independent culture in the development of civil society and international cooperation, including the recently published The Art of Civil Action – Political Space and Cultural Dissent. He lives and works in Amsterdam.

Larisa Halilović is an international expert, speaker and consultant with more than 20 years of experience in management, leadership and professional development. She studied at Cambridge University in the UK and New Zealand in the field of adult education, linguistics and psychology. She is accredited coach and mentor from the British Coaching School. Larisa has been leading important projects in the fields of education, social development and culture in the Western Balkans, for the past 16 years. She participated in the global pilot project Blended Learning 2004-2006, which developed distance learning and use of digital technologies in education in remote locations before massive use of smartphones and stable internet connections. Currently, she holds a position of a director of the international pilot project Digitial Cities, which is implemented in six countries of Western Balkans and the UK, and she is also a director of the British Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Larissa recently designed and developed a tailor-made program for organizational development in the field of emotional intelligence, communication and ethics in work. She lives and works in Sarajevo.

Relja Dereta was a participant in the first generation of the “Creative mentorship”. Later, he became a partner of the programme, and finally a mentor in the 3rd generation of 2016/2017. He is one of the founders and director of Epic Assistants, with more than 10 years of experience as a consultant and trainer of presentation and communication skills. He advises global experts, managers, scientists, lecturers, creative workers and many others in formulating their ideas. He worked with more than 400 speakers, and many of them were participating at TEDx conferences. In the period 2010-2015 he worked as a teacher and project coordinator at the Tango Natural Institute, contributing to making it the largest organisation of this type in Europe, and one of the largest in the world. He was also a coordinator of the School of Activism, where hundreds of young people have been taught the activism skills and organised numerous projects. Relja is also a member of the Board of Directors of Civic Initiatives. He lives and works in Belgrade.

Dr Višnja Kisić is a co-founder of the “Creative Mentorship”programme and its development and education manager since 2012. She is a passionate advocate of mentoring, continuous learning, sharing and cooperation. She studied history of arts, holds a master degree UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management, and a PhD in heritage studies. In addition, she is a researcher, practitioner and educator. She focuses her research and expertise on politics, politicity and the social role of heritage and culture. She is a lecturer at the Faculty of Sports and Tourism, UNESCO chair for cultural policy and management at the University of Art in Belgrade, visiting lecturer at the University of Lyon 2 (France), Uppsala University (Sweden) and the Academy of Cultural Management of the Goethe Institute. She is a member of different teams, trainer and consultant in the educational and professional development programmes of the Balkan Museum Network, South East European Heritage NetworkInternational Council of MuseumsEuropean Heritage AssociationRegional Cooperation Council, Europa Nostra and others. Since 2011, she has been actively involved in the civil sector related to culture, as Secretary General of the Serbian branch of the largest European cultural heritage network, Europa Nostra, but also as an author and manager of numerous projects for management, development and interpretation of cultural heritage based on a participatory approach and the engagement of local communities. She is the winner of the National Museum Award in 2009, and the European Prize for Cultural Policy of CPRA in 2013 for her research. She lives and works at Fruška Gora.

We are extremely pleased that Višnja will continue to support “Creative mentorship” programme and be a part of it. Also, we are grateful for all her time, energy and effort that she put in shaping and constantly improving the “Creative mentorship” programme.

The mandate of the newly elected Board members lasts for three years, until 2021. The Advisory Board now has a total of 10 members, in addition to the already mentioned: Slavica Marković Sandić, Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer atthe Swedish Embassy in Belgrade, Marko Radenković, General Manager of Nova Iskra, Branimir Brkljač, founder of Terra Panonica and Mokrin House, Karen Knight, Cultural Heritage Specialist from Great Britain, Helene Larsson Pousette, former Cultural Attaché at the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade, and Tony O’Brien, former Director of the British Council for the Western Balkans and Chairman of the Advisory Board.

On the same occasion, the Honorary Board of “Creative mentorship” was established and professor Milena Dragicević Šešić was elected as its first president. Dr Milena Dragićević Šešić is a full time professor at the University of Arts and one of the biggest experts in cultural policy in the region. She is again elected director of the Institute of Film, Theater, Radio and Television of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, and is nominated for the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. She is an  author of numerous books and studies translated into 15 languages; international lecturer on cultural policy and management; a consultant and expert in the field of cultural policy and management, often engaged by the European Foundation for Culture, Council of Europe, UNESCO, Marcel Hicter Foundation, Pro Helvetia, British Council and others.

We thank all members of the Advisory Board for strongly supporting our programme pro bono. The  “Creative mentorship” programme is constantly enriching and developing with their knowledge, experience, ideas and dedication, and their contribution is immeasurable. We thank Mokrin House led by Branimir Brkljač, a long-time friend and partner of “Creative mentorship” for another year of exceptional hospitality.