Board & Staff

Current Board of Directors

Leena Vuotovesi (Finland) - President
Is CEO of the development company Micropolis Ltd. located close to the Arctic Circle. Previously, Leena was the executive director of KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre running a tailored residency program. She holds a MA in cultural anthropology from the Oulu University, and also has an academic background from the Georg-August Universität Göttingen in Germany and the University of Namibia. Leena has been the representative of Res Artis at the board of Culture Action Europe. She participated also in the work of the EU commission’s OMC working group on mobility of artists as an external expert. In Finland she is active at The Finnish Cultural Foundation Association.

Lea O’Loughlin (United Kingdom) - Vice-President
Lea manages Acme Studios International Residencies Programme (Acme IRP). Working with international artists and liaising with governments and foundations to maximise their investment in London cultural residencies. A vital part of her role is to build strong and sustainable relationships between residency funders, visiting artists and a wide cross-section of communities both within and beyond the cultural sphere. She has a history of developing residencies, promoting international dialogue and critical exchange, connecting people and networks and providing practical guidance and advice to artists and arts organisations. Holding an MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art London and Bachelor of Visual Arts from the University of South Australia her previous experience includes working with The Royal British Society of Sculptors, The Florence Trust, Tate, Gasworks, Cubitt Artists (United Kingdom), MoMA (United States) and Adelaide Central Gallery & Studios (Australia).

Francisco Guevara (Mexico) - Treasurer
Is a visual artist and curator, specialized in social design emphasizing the role of contemporary art in economic development and as a tool for social change.  His experience includes projects on international cooperation, alternative economies, intangible heritage, and visual arts education. As an artist he has researched, studied and worked exploring the connection between food, rituals of eating and collective identity.  He holds a degree in Development Cooperation Projects and postgraduate degree in Cultural Management and Communication.  As of 2009, Guevara is the co-founder and Executive Director of Arquetopia, a non-profit foundation promoting Development and social transformation through educational, artistic and cultural programs.

Ika Sienkiewicz-Nowacka (Poland)
Is culture manager and curator. Since 1998, she has been working at Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Ujazdowski Castle. In 2003, she founded the A-I-R Laboratory as the first ongoing residency programme in Poland( Between 2003 and 2011, she curated and co-produced many projects, exhibitions, presentations and publications. She has also acted as project manager of two multi-institutional European projects – Rooted Design for Routed Living(, funded with European Economic Area and Norwegian Financial Mechanisms resources, and RE-tooling RESIDENCIES (, supported by the European Commission.

Kavita Shah (India)
Is  managing Trustee of Chhaap Foundation, established in 1999 to promote original prints and contemporary arts.  Passionate print maker and educationist, she has innovative approach to designing workshops and activities for artist-in-residence for Chhaap foundation. With a grant received from Hivos, she curated international exhibition of Women printmakers, shown in India and abroad. She has participated in Triennale India, Print Biennale and many international shows. She has made presentations on National and international forum such as MPCVA, Mumbai; Southern Graphics Council,  Kansas city, USA ; Impact 5, Tallinn and Impact 6, Bristol. She holds MA in Printmaking from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University of Baroda and been working as Associate professor in College of Architecture since 2005. As a board member, in Res Artis she will be working for Mapping, Visa and Mobility.

Jean-Yves Coffre (France)
Jean-Yves Coffre is the Director of CAMAC, a creative, multi-disciplinary center offering international residency programs for visual artists, writers, musicians and scientists. While at CAMAC, Jean-Yves has organized and curated renowned exhibitions of works by contemporary artists. He wants to show the importance of an Art Centre located in a rural area by creating links among the population with the artists and demonstrates the economic impact of cultural projects. In 13 years, camac acquired, in a 230 unhabitants village, a vibrant and dynamic image in the whole Region, in France and internationally. He is also the author of "Hangzhou, un Phénix au coeur de jade" published in 2009.

Kira Simon-Kennedy (USA)
Is the co-founder of China Residencies, an organisation helping artists find out about opportunities all across China, and providing advice and support for artist residency administrators. China Residencies has grown steadily, forming alliances across four continents, publishing interviews, maps and resources to strengthen the global field of artist residencies. Kira worked across the music, film and art worlds on projects in China, Iceland, France, Mali, and Mississippi. Since 2001, she produced over 50 music videos, as well as several well-received independent feature and documentary films that toured the global film festival circuit. She frequently leads multi-national and multilingual teams to develop creative projects that shed light on the importance of fostering diversity and sustainability.

Jean-Baptiste Joly (Germany)
Is the founding director and artistic director of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Germany’s largest artist residency program where he introduced a multitude of activities and new initiatives since its inception in 1989. He also served as one of the founding members of Res Artis in 1993. Jean-Baptiste studied German Studies in Paris and Berlin from 1969 to 1975 and worked as French and German teacher afterwards. From 1983-1988 he was the director of the French cultural institute, creating the very first artist residency ever in a French institute in 1985. Jean-Baptiste has experience in founding a residency, international support of emerging residencies, invention of new fellowship programs, long term perspective for artists residencies, interdisciplinarity, worldwide overview of residency politics, alumni policy strategies and network activities.

Tooraj Khamenehzadeh (Iran)
Is a visual artist and curator currently living in Tehran. He studied Computer Engineering at Azad University in Qazvin, Iran and received a B.S. in 2002 as well as a Film Shooting Course Diploma. As an artist he has shown his photographs, videos and installation works in various festivals and exhibitions nationally and internationally. He has contributed to his cultural identity with an innovative and critical body of work. Over the past years, by attending a number of artists’ workshops and accepting residencies in Sri Lanka, India, Ghana, Pakistan, and China, he has tried to expand his knowledge of contemporary art trends in different countries. He is co-founder and a member of the board of directors of Rybon Art Center, an independent art institute in Tehran. He is also curator and program manager of Kooshk Residency the first artist residency in Tehran.


In Memoriam

Crystal Ruth Bell (1985-2014) (United States/China) 
Crystal Ruth Bell ran a not-for-profit initiative called China Residencies that develops resources for residency programs in Mainland China and for prospective international creatives. Initial efforts included mapping and researching the residency field of 30+ programs. Previously, Crystal was the director of Red Gate Residency in Beijing where she established systems for the organization to scale, diversify applicants, and establish fiscal sustainability. She worked full time in NYC thinking about ways to relay digital information in an intuitive and engaging way at, a not-for-profit techonology organization. 



Melbourne, Australia based

Eliza Roberts - Executive Director (Australia)
Eliza Roberts is the inaugural Executive Director of Res Artis focused on fundraising, public profile and strategy for the organisation. Eliza served on the Res Artis Board of Directors from 2012 – 2016, including a 2 year term as Vice-President from 2014. For the past 6 years Eliza worked as Arts Residencies Manager at Asialink, Australia’s largest and most long-standing artist residency program in the region. Eliza has diverse experience in the arts industry, having worked at a range of local and international institutions and organisations including Christie’s auction house in London, The Ian Potter Museum of Art and Artbank. Eliza speaks intermediate level Indonesian and holds a MA Art Curatorship and BA Creative Arts, both from the University of Melbourne.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands (HQ) based

Birte Gehm - Communications and Operations Manager (Germany)
Is in charge of communication matters and administration at the Res Artis office in Amsterdam. Birte obtained a double Master’s Degree in Global Studies from Roskilde University (DK) and Leipzig University (DE). During her undergraduate degree she studied at Heidelberg University (DE) and Lindenwood University (USA) and holds a degree in translation studies. In the course of various stays abroad, she developed a strong affinity for matters of cultural exchange and international cooperation with a special interest in the work of NGOs. Besides her passion for languages and cultures coupled with her desire to travel the world, she enjoys soccer and yoga.

Honorary Board Members

  • Tatsuhiko Murata (Japan)
  • Karol Frühauf (Switzerland/Slovakia)
  • Maria Tuerlings (the Netherlands)
  • Rudolf Brünger (Germany)
  • Clayton Campbell (USA)
  • Michael Haerdter (Germany)
  • O.P. Jain (India)
  • Laurens Schumacher (the Netherlands)
  • Mario A. Caro (United States)