Name: Leen Laconte, M.A.
Date of birth: 31 May 1963
Nationality: Belgian
Position: Manager International Arts and Cultural Projects/ Senior Policy Advisor
Address: Ieperlaan 35,
1000 Brussel
Phone: +32 (0)498 19 44 92
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Leen Laconte (°1963) worked in the field of international cultural and artistic cooperation in Belgium, France and The Netherlands. She has a Master in Comparative Cultural Studies (University of Ghent). The last 8 years, she was the Director of the Brakke Grond, the Cultural Institute of the Flemish Community of Belgium, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.( Before that she worked for the Council of Europe ( in Strassbourg, as manager for the Arts Production House Villanella ( ) and for the Flemish Agency for the implementation of different E.U. programs in Brussels. As such she has major experience as a mediator between governemental programs and the needs of the cultural field. She is a dedicated boardmember of different artscollectives ( ; ), the International Theaterfestival in the Flemish Community in Belgium ( ) and of Manifesta 9 ( Currently she is working for Sica : Stichting voor Internationale Culturele Activiteiten ( ), the Dutch Centre for International Cultural Activities, for Boris VZW (  and for the documentary filmmaker Renzo Martens (


Key Qualifications
Pioneer, initiator, innovator and networker. I think in global concepts, using strong analytical skills, in other words: I go right to the core. As a result, I know how to formulate mission statements and develop medium- and long-term strategies. I have often worked as a mediator between policy and the field. I (still) have experience in different kinds of organizations: from very grassroots to highly institutional, from social over educational to cultural and artistic organizations.

I’m a team player and a motivator. For me, life evolves around ideas, concepts, principles and their implementation in the field of intercultural communication, intercultural learning and international collaboration.

I am specialized in arts and culture: culture as a natural dimension of life – similar to breathing and sleeping, artists and/in the arts sector, the arts- or cultural institutions and their practices, the challenging relation between the arts, society and audiences, governments and their policies and how it all works together.

1992-1994: Teaching Qualification (with distinction) at Ghent University.

1991-1993: Cultural Science (formerly: Multi-cultural and Global Studies) at Ghent University, Master’s Degree.Thesis: Deconstruction, Postmodernism and the American Dream (Cum Laude).

1984: Traineeship at Center for Recreational Work. Thesis: Training for animators, a project of C.R.W. (Center for Recreational Work).

1981-1984: Social and Welfare Work, specialization: Social-Cultural Work (with distinction) at the Sociale Hogeschool K.V.M.W. in Ghent.

1975-1981: Secondary education at the Bisschoppelijk Lyceum in Roeselare. Subjects: Latin and Greek.

1988: Writing efficiently
1989: Computer Science, bookkeeping programs, Excel
1989: Visual Culture
1991: Art History
1992: Photography at the St-Lukas Institute in Ghent.
1992: First Aid Certificate
1993-1995: Spanish at the University of Ghent, evening classes.

Employment record
May 2012-until end of october 2012: Senior Policy Advisor at Sica: Head of Team Europe.
This team runs the different Dutch agencies for 2 European Mobility Programmes: Culture, and the European Citizenship Programme.

January 2012-until present: Manager International Arts and Cultural Projects for vzw Boris: developing cooperation with Brazil, management of artistic productions with contemporary performing artists Nadia Tsulukidze (Ge), Celia Ledoux (Be), Ricky Seabra (Br).

2004-2012: General Director of Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond: the Cultural Institute of the Flemish Community of Belgium in Amsterdam.

2003-2004: Policy expert at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg: researching policies to support young artists and develop young audiences for the arts, in order to coach new democracies (Slovenia, Croatia, etc.)

2000-2003: Managing Director of Villanella, Art Production House for children and young people in Antwerp.

1995-2000: Programme manager at JINT, National Agency for Youth and European Voluntary Service, mobility programmes of the E.U. for the Flemish Community.

1993-1998: Lecturer Arts and Culture at the department Social-Cultural Work within the ‘Sociale Hogeschool K.V.M.W.’ in Ghent.

1991-1994: Coordination of the Student Council Department of the Higher Paramedic Institute in Ghent.

1984-1991: Founder and Director of De Verbeelding (The Imagination, now Lada vzw), a plural pluralistic national youth service working in the field of arts, culture and young audiences, recognised by the Ministry of Culture.

Experience record
As Senior Policy Advisor for Sica, I am the head of Team Europe. This team runs the agencies for several European Mobility Programmes (European Citizenship, Culture) in the Netherlands. In this capacity, I am responsible for the quality of the work of the agencies, for the future synergy between CCP and Mediadesk (Creative Desk) and for the internal co-operation within Sica.

As Manager International Arts and Cultural Projects for vzw Boris, I produce festivals en co-productions, amongst others with our Brazilian partners, in order to foster long-term sustainable cooperation. At the same time I assist the artistic director with the production of and management of young independent artists like Nadia Tsulukidze, Celia Ledoux and Ricky Seabra.

As General Director (programming, finances, infrastructure, hrm, pr and stakeholders) of the Brakke Grond, I was responsible for the repositioning of this unique national cultural institute. Its status changed from being governmental and situated within the Ministry of Culture to a NGO at arm-length. This meant a fundamental change in the management of the house and its relation to the Government. It also meant a change in content: the development of adequate international partnerships and networks, the development of new forms of programming… At the same time, I was accountable for the implementation of the management agreement with the Flemish Community.

As Policy Expert for the Council of Europe, I researched national policies in Europe supporting young artists and developing young audiences. I ran Coyote, the Magazine for Multipliers, as a tool for the partnership between the COE en the EU and I assisted several ministerial conferences within the framework of the COE. At the same time I ran the Young Active Citizens Award.

As managing director of Villanella, I was responsible for vision and policy development in relation to artistic management, staff management and human resources, internal and external relations with stakeholders, employees, general public and authorities, communication with authorities, international relations and networks, financial management and the implementation of several international arts projects: Kunstbende Internationaal, Tweetaktfestival, Kunstkoters (Brugge 2002).

As programme manager at JINT, I was responsible for the implementation of the Youth for Europe (YFE) programme, more specifically for the elements that foster international cooperation with third countries, international network development, youth initiatives and international training and education for multipliers. As these were centralised strands, I dealt directly with the European Commission and with the Technical Assistance Bureau Socrates and Youth.

At the same time, I organised and participated in various international conferences, seminars, fact-finding visits within the framework of YFE, a.o.:
-Amman, 1996: Participation in a seminar following the Barcelona Conference, main topic: co-operation with the Mediterranean Region.
-Russian Federation, 1998: Head of a European delegation during a fact-finding mission.
-Vienna and Budapest, 1999: Planner of, and trainer in the Training for Trainers of European Youth Projects in the framework of the partnership-covenant between the European Commission and the Council of Europe.
-Brussels, 1996-1999: Member of the Selection Committee at European Commission level, regarding International Cooperation with Third Countries.
-Brussels, 1998: Traineeship at Technical Assistance Bureau Socrates and Youth for the European Commission, preparing selection between 3 and 16 June 1998.
-Brussels, 1999-2000: Member of the editorial staff of Coyote, European Magazine on international training of Youth Workers, commissioned by the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

As lecturer at the Sociale Hogeschool K.V.M.W. in Ghent, I was involved in supervision of the art and cultural department: I coached traineeships, dissertations and exchange programs in the second and third year. I lectured on arts education and on theory of social-cultural science and youth cultures. I participated on behalf of K.V.M.W. in the conceptualizing of Art-in-the-Neighbourhood projects, in co-operation with the city of Ghent. I was a member of the Programme and Profession Development Committee in the department of Social-Cultural Work.

As coordinator at the Student Council Department of the Higher Paramedic Institute in Ghent, I was responsible for the development and expansion of the participation network between lecturers, students and management. I developed a solidarity project with Ecuador in co-operation with the students and a prevention project regarding medication. I was responsible for the Student Supervision Programme and individual coaching of students with a disability.
As director of De Verbeelding, I was responsible for the development of the organisation, the programme, the team coordination and management, the contact with the board of directors and external representation with stakeholders.

Other management and socio-cultural activities
Until present: Member of the board of Het Beschrijf/Passaporta, Manifesta 9, Theaterfestival Vlaanderen, Stichting Immens (artist Roos Van Geffen, NL), Stichting Traum A (artists Jochen Stechman/ Nadia Tsulukidze, NL).,,,

Until present: President of the board of Abattoir Fermé (Theatre company, B), President of the board of Stichting Trustfonds Dasarts, President of the board of Spin vzw (artists Diederik Peeters, Kate Mc Intosh, Hans Bryssinck),

January until May 2012: Content and strategy coach for ‘Kunstenoverleg Kortrijk’, platform for co-operation between the arts organisations in Kortrijk, developing a policy plan for the future of the Arts in Kortrijk, in the context of the local elections October 2012.

January until September 2012: Office Manager and Advisor for the (future of the) Institute of Human Activities, an arts institute, inspired by the ideas of documentary-maker and visual artist, Renzo Martens.,

2007-2010: Member of the board of IETM.

2007-2009: Member of the board of Stichting Dasarts.

2007-2009: Member of ‘Platform Lezen’ of the Taalunie.

2004-2012: As the director of the Brakke Grond, I gave many lectures and presentations on international co-operation in the field of arts and culture to very different kinds of groups: students, members of parliament, political parties, socio-cultural organisations, artists, universities, all kinds of press and media and in different situations. The most challenging presentations were the hearings in the Culture Commission of the Flemish Parliament and the Tweede Kamer in the Netherlands, where politicians questioned the representatives of the 5 organisations involved in the Flemish-Dutch co-operation.

2004-2012: Member of the consultation group of the governmental and non-governmental organizations involved in the Flemish-Dutch Co-operation: Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, Vlaams-Nederlands Huis de Buren (, Ons Erfdeel (, de Taalunie (, het Cultureel Verdrag Vlaanderen-Nederland. (

2004-2008: Founding member of Eunic-Amsterdam and in this capacity a participant to several Eunic-meetings on European Level.

2002: Initiator and involved in the organization of Art Connexion, an international youth art festival for and by 250 young people in the context of Brugge 2002 (Cultural Capital).

2000: Founding member of Winners Anyway, a broad European collaboration between art education organizations for young people in 14 countries.

1994: International study exchange programs, involved as participator, lecturer or trainer:
-Multilateral: International Year of Youth (1985, Strasbourg, France)
-Bilateral: Animation with adolescents aged between 14 and 16 (1986, Quebec, Canada).
-Multilateral: Intercultural Learning (1991, Humlebaek, Denmark)
-Multilateral: Racism and Youth Work (1994, Bradford, U.K.)
-Multilateral: Art Education (1994, Lisbon, Portugal).
-Supervision and organizer of multilateral exchange programs, commissioned by Minister Van den Brande and Minister Weckx on the occasion of 11th of July and in the context of Antwerpen ’92 (Antwerpen Cultural Capital).

1984-2002: Active in various advisory boards and selection committees on local, regional, provincial and national level, regarding the development of policies for youth, art and culture.

2004-2012: Editor of several publications for the Brakke Grond, contributions for Boekman Cahier.

1999-2002: Several articles for Coyote, European Magazine on international training of Youth Workers, commissioned by the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

1995: Postmodernisme, Deconstructie en de Amerikaanse Droom (Postmodernism, Deconstruction and the American Dream), commissioned by Professor H. Pinxten, Ghent University. Published in various magazines.

1993-1995: Editor of Als een lekker taartje: Jeugdwerk, Jeugdcultuur en Jeugdbeleid (Like a tasty cake: Youth Work, Youth Culture and Youth Policy), Acco, Leuven.

1991-1993: Editor of Intercultureel Spelenboek: Book of Intercultural Games, a methodical brochure aimed at intercultural learning, Jint, Brussels.

Canada, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, U.S.A., Morocco, Syria & Jordan, Colombia, Black Sea Region, Cuba, Namibia, Southern States of the U.S.A., Brazil, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Georgia (Ge), …

Abilities Speaking Writing Reading
Dutch Native Language Native Language Native Language
French Good Good Excellent
English Very Good Very Good Excellent
German Basic Basic Good
Spanish Good Good Good
Portuguese Basic Basic Basic