Presenter Bios

International Presenters

Luca Barberini
Keynote Speaker, Workshop Presenter
Luca Barberini was born in Ravenna 1981. He has grown up and developed as an artist in a city that owes much of its world fame to Paleo-Christian and Byzantine mosaics, absorbing and transforming these influences in his own distinctive contemporary practice.

Luca graduated from the Istituto Statale d’Arte Gino Severini in 2000 and continued his studies with practical mosaic experience, eventually co-founding the well known Ravenna studio Koko Mosaico with his wife, Arianna Gallo.

Luca has developed a unique reductive style of figurative mosaic, through which he conveys messages about such pressing global issues as climate change and the asylum seeker crisis, exploring sometimes ironic and humorous insights into the human condition.

Luca has participated in significant solo and group exhibitions in national and international European and Asian contexts including Bologna, Mantova, Rome, Venice, Paray le Monial, Frankfurt/ Słubice, Dallas, Taipei, Yokohama, Kyoto and Tokyo.

Tamara Froud
Plenary Speaker, Workshop Presenter
Tamara is an award winning London based mosaic artist dedicated to bringing mosaic art to a wider audience. After chancing upon mosaics in 1999 following a stint of teaching English and travelling, the resulting short, unpaid apprenticeship was an experience that changed her life. She has never looked back!

In her first mosaic job, she learned the value of involving communities in the mosaic process;  something that she returns to again and again in her projects and public art installations. Through her company Mosaic Art Ltd, she combines her skills in teaching and mosaic and has created and installed mosaics in the UK and internationally. Along the way she has worked with thousands of children and adults of all ages and abilities to create site-specific mosaic installations.

More recently, she has moved in a sculptural direction, working with polystyrene sculpting alongside concrete casting and carving and investigating other techniques and materials for creating sculptural mosaic bases. Tamara is also President of the British Association for Modern Mosaic (BAMM), writes regularly for BAMM’s Grout Magazine and travels the world to teach, set up and work on collaborative mosaic projects.

Arianna Gallo
Plenary Speaker, Workshop Presenter
Arianna Gallo graduated with a first-class honours degree from the Mosaic Institute of Art and from the Scuola per il Restauro del Mosaico, Soprintendenza di Ravenna. During her training, Arianna participated in the conservation of the prestigious Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna. She has also taken part in the making of the replica of the monumental Alexander the Great mosaic for the House of the Faun, Pompei. Her formal training and extensive experience in making classical replica mosaics help make her a leading instructor in the field.

In 2005, together with her husband and visual artist Luca Barberini, Arianna opened Koko Mosaico, a mosaic studio in the heart of Ravenna. Arianna is the Creative Director; responsible for private commissions and teaching specialised mosaic techniques to local and international students.


Joanna Kessel
Pecha Kucha Presenter (Video)
Joanna Kessel is a Scottish artist who studied in both the ceramic and tapestry departments at Edinburgh College of Art in the 1980s. She went on to study tapestry within the painting school at the Royal College of Art, followed by a year living in Barcelona where Joanna came across a very different type of mosaic adorning the buildings of Antonio Gaudi.

Joanna first worked with mosaic in the early 1990s, undertaking several public art commissions for local councils, schools and hospitals as well as for private clients. Her father who was a Professor of Psychiatry  had been an early protagonist of the Arts in Health initiative, in Manchester, UK. Through this, Joanna developed a particular interest in creating work for healthcare environments and in the rejuvenating effects that art can have on well-being.

Arts Council England and Creative Scotland Research and Development Awards in 2007 and 2010 were pivotal points, and led Joanna to re-connect with her studio based practice. She set up Edinburgh Mosaic Studio in 2009 and now combines her own studio practice with teaching, research and commissions.

In 2022 Joanna received the prestigious Inches Carr Creative Development Award to study flame-working and filato micro-mosaic, shifting her focus from macro to micro and from the urban to the natural environment.

Carol Shelkin:
Pecha Kucha Presenter (Video)
Carol Shelkin is a North American visual artist and art instructor who also creates contemporary fine-art mosaics. Her original work with hand-cut stained glass is intricate, revealing an attention to detail that distinguishes her. She has created a style that is defined as Painting with Glass.

From the moment she could hold a crayon, Carol was an artist. She attended Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia at age seven and continued to pursue her passion throughout her young life, studying painting at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and mosaics in Ravenna, Italy with master craftsmen. Her eclectic approach to surface design – placing glass where a painter would naturally place paint – is the perfect marriage of these two loves.

As a full-time artist, Carol creates one-of-a-kind pieces that make their home in galleries, community centres, libraries, and commercial and residential settings. She has received several grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Upper Darby Arts, and was awarded the prestigious Robin Brett Mosaic Scholarship from SAMA. She is a founding member and past president of the Mosaic Society of Philadelphia; the founder of Mosaic Art Worldwide Retreats, Workshops and Tours, and Juried – Master Artisan of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.

Mireille Swinnen
Plenary Speaker, Workshop Presenter
Mireille Swinnen is Belgian by nationality but lived abroad all her adult life following her diplomat husband.  This gave her the chance to teach mosaics in Bangkok, California, and recently Uganda.  No fewer than 350 students were taught how to work in “smalti in a painterly style”, specialising in animal and human portraits in the preferred medium of her choice, smalti.

Her work was selected for various shows and exhibits in the USA including SAMA in Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Diego, culminating in receiving the Members’ Choice Award in 2015 for her work l’Arte di Volare – the Art of Flying.

Now back in Europe, Mireille organises international workshops for her students to Venice and Spilimbergo. She brings much-needed foreign exposure and new techniques to her most dedicated students and through mosaic tours through northern Italy shows them the world of the big producers and players in contemporary mosaic.

Mireille is an earth sign. She has a deep love for the materials.  She is a people person, a friend and a lover of art and anything beautiful.  Most of all, she loves to share her passion for mosaic art, and art of life to inspire others and bring happiness.

Anabella Wewer
Plenary Speaker, Workshop Presenter
Capturing a moment in time has long been a hallmark of Anabella Wewer’s work together with the use of hard materials to achieve a sense of softness and fluidity. Her graphic design background, her love of type, language, and materials, all inform her mosaic practice. Classically trained, Anabella uses traditional mosaic techniques to produce thoroughly modern abstract mosaics.

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, and working in the United States, Anabella is fluent in four languages. She has studied mosaic all over the world with contemporary mosaic masters. In addition to her studio practice she teaches internationally and curates educational experiences abroad and with visiting instructors in the U.S. Her work is collected and exhibited widely, and she is a frequent writer and speaker on the theory and practice of mosaic and the broader subjects of art making. Most recently, and after focusing on larger works for expansive exhibition spaces for many years, Anabella is exploring smaller work, with the goal to ultimately return to what drew her into mosaic over two decades ago: micro mosaics in the Roman tradition. She continues to work as a graphic designer and is a sometime metalsmith, working largely in forged silver and concrete.

Australian and New Zealand Presenters

Helen Bodycomb
Symposium Chair, Workshop Presenter
Dr Helen Bodycomb is well known as one of Australia’s few contemporary artists working primarily in mosaic. She is widely professionally active; exhibiting, fulfilling commissions, guest teaching and presenting her work nationally and internationally. Helen has practised full-time as a mosaic artist working predominantly in stone and glass for more than 30 years.

After first training as a painter, in August 2019 Helen completed her practice-led PhD in Visual Art with La Trobe University, Australia, her research project investigating Mosaic: classical principles and the act of making in contemporary works.  Helen’s practice spans three predominant streams: experimental fine art, community art/commissions and education. Her education stream includes leading technique-based workshops in her studio, mentoring other artists via zoom/email, and leading deluxe Art Retreats and Mosaic Study Tours in Italy. In 2023 Helen published the dual English/Italian book Mosaicism – Thinking in mosaic. (Translated by Carolina Zanelli).

Catherine Conaty
Workshop Presenter
Brisbane based mosaic artist Catherine Conaty has been creating with glass since 1997.  She is drawn to the limitless potential of mosaic as an artform while being sustainable and permanent.  Her favourite medium is stained glass, because of the ‘dance of light’ that it can achieve.  Inspired by nature’s beauty, her work reflects a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation. Catherine works professionally as a mosaic artist and teacher, creating everything from micro mosaics to large scale architectural installations. She greatly enjoys teaching and passing on skills and knowledge to her community.  Catherine is one of the MAANZ state representatives for QLD.

Insta: @cairomadethat

Wendy Edwards
Workshop Presenter
Wendy Edward’s art practice is rooted in close observation of the natural world, drawing inspiration from the plants and creatures, especially birds, that inhabit her environment.  She often upscales her subjects, drawing attention to the little things and creatures that are easily missed, and will be easily lost if we do not notice and hold them precious.

She clothes her sculptures in a variety of materials, including glass, tile, beads and handmade ceramic components, telling the story of the creatures and their habitat. She tries to show each creature is a treasure we should not bear to part with.

Caitlin Hepworth
Gallery Talks Presenter
Caitlin Hepworth is a visual artist and educator who established her school Hepworth Studios in 2010. She has worked in visual arts education for over twenty years writing, facilitating and evaluating educational curriculum at secondary schools, museums and galleries around NSW including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Powerhouse Museum.

Through Hepworth Studios, Caitlin facilitates in person workshops and online learning for an international community currently spanning 15 countries. Caitlin is currently developing a sequential curriculum The Art of Andamento for an international audience.

Caitlin has been involved in MAANZ in a voluntary capacity since 2012 in varying roles and is currently the MAANZ Education Officer and Symposium Workshop Coordinator.

David Jack
Plenary Speaker, Workshop Presenter
David began mural work with artist Harold Freedman at the State Studio in 1973 while completing a diploma in Art and Design. In 1980 David undertook a Churchill Fellowship to study mosaics and murals in Europe, Mexico and the USA. He assisted Harold for over 13 years on his major mosaic and painted murals including the History of Transport Mural, the Geelong Regional History mosaic, the Legend of Fire mosaic and the VFL Greats mosaic at Waverley Park.

In 1989 David co-founded the Melbourne Mural ­­­Studio creating the Skygarden and Chifley Plaza mosaics in Sydney,  the Australia mosaic on Collins in Melbourne, and the Milky Way Dreaming mosaic in Darwin Supreme Law Court.

Dominic Johns
Workshop Presenter

Dominic Johns was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1966. He started in the tile industry at an early age before going to University and obtaining his Bachelor of Education. More industry experience followed before Dom concentrated on decorative work and then heard the call of Far North Queensland and Cairns in particular, moving to the area in the late 80’s, where he continued to work in commercial and domestic tiling. In 2002 Dom opened Shardworks, his studio committed to the art of mosaic, and began exhibiting his artworks.

Spending considerable time in Cape York and Torres Strait Islander communities, Dom has been working to extend the boundaries of mosaic through education projects, writing curriculum for trades based traineeships as well as skills training organisations. Dom has completed numerous public art projects both nationally and internationally; been nominated several times for the Prime Minister’s Awards for Work in the Community, and had a number of successful solo exhibitions and many group showings.

Dom was awarded a coveted Mosaic International Award for his sculpture Telescopus situated on the Northern Esplanade in Cairns and was the 2008 winner of the Qld Regional Achievement and Community Awards.

Deanna Kernick
Workshop Presenter
Deanna Kernick is the owner and creative vision behind Mosaic by Design, a mosaic studio and school located in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Deanna has been creating stained glass mosaic murals for private and corporate clients across Australia for over 26 years as well as facilitating classes and workshops for her mosaic community.

Deanna is a dedicated teacher who is passionate about sharing her knowledge and inspiring students to improve their skills. She maintains her own studio practice, in particular experimenting with the play of light and shade through the manipulation of tone, resulting in engaging dimensional mosaics.

Her love of learning and travel has led Deanna to attend workshops internationally, further developing her skills in working with smalti, marble and stained glass which in turn enriches her studio practice and teaching curriculum.

Dan Mitchell
Pecha Kucha Presenter (Video)
Dan Mitchell is an artist working across major festivals, circus, theatre, music and public art during his 30-year career as a creative producer. A person with Whadjuk Noongar and European heritage, Dan has instinctively been drawn to the tension, dysfunction and contradiction inherent in Australian culture. He has agreed to participate in the MAANZ Symposium to share his insights into how the themes of Time and Materiality might resonate through the lived experience of First Nations Australian culture.

Dan is principally interested in our shared narratives, experience and journeys through both displacement from, and connection to, place. Through this, he navigates his way in the hope of coalescing an understanding of shared identity through art, ritual and story. Dan has worked across many of Melbourne’s most significant arts and cultural festivals and commissioned public art programs, actively commissioning public art mosaics for the City of Moreland, now Merribek. Until recently, Dan was the Senior Producer of the Indigenous Cultural Program at Footscray Community Art Centre,  before taking on the role of Creative Producer Arts Strategy at Dumawul for the Djaara Corporation, in central Victoria.

Paul Perry
Workshop Presenter
After working for more than 25 years in local government, Paul Perry saw the light, and went to art school in 2011. He discovered mosaics in 2017 and since then has been working full time in mosaic. His local government exposure had introduced him to the power of art as a community development tool, so it was not a surprise that he pursued opportunities to put his newly discovered mosaic skills into effect in the public realm. Over the past six years Paul has initiated, designed, and facilitated a range of community art projects in the Wide Bay region of Queensland where he lives, including the award winning MilBi Magic community mosaic project covering the walls of a public toilet block in Bargara with over 42 sq metres of mosaics created over a two year period by more than 200 participants.

Sharon Pine
Pecha Kucha Presenter (Video)
Based in Dunedin, New Zealand, Sharon Pine has been making mosaics in her garden shed for about 25 years.  Initially self-taught through exploration, she enjoys experimenting with different materials and is currently slightly obsessed with stained glass cat portraits.  She loves showing her work and is the recipient of several awards from the biennial NZ Mosaic Art National Exhibition. She has a keen interest in learning from other mosaic artists and is looking forward to highlighting some of New Zealand’s unique contemporary mosaic art at the MAANZ symposium.

In her spare time, Sharon helps manage a cat rescue, is on the committee of NZ Mosaic Art Incorporated and was formerly Secretary of MAANZ.

Professor Brendan Stuart Weekes
Pecha Kucha Presenter
Professor Brendan Stuart Weekes was the Foundation Chair of Communication Sciences and a Director of Laboratories in Communication, Development and Information Sciences in the Faculty of Education, University Hong Kong (HKU), and a Distinguished Fellow in Humanities and Social Sciences (Research Grants Council of Hong Kong). He is now Emeritus Professor at HKU and Honorary Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Melbourne.

He explores the cognitive and neuro-linguistic conceptualisation of multilingual and multimodal language use, with a focus on how literacy contributes to the research on Trans-languaging. He advises on writing systems during UNESCO’s Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-32), and is an enthusiastic contemporary mosaicist.

Kristin Wohlers
Workshop Presenter
Angaston-based mosaicist Kristin Wohlers works with traditional mosaic media and loves working with transparent smalti. She has exhibited and run workshops worldwide.

She is the MAANZ SA representative and Community Arts Officer. Since November 2021, she has been coordinating the Australian contributions to the worldwide project Mosaic for Afghan Women (MFAW) to raise awareness for the plight of Afghan women. This project will be exhibited at Canberra Glassworks in August 2024.

Kristin works collaboratively and is involved in several community projects. She was recently commissioned to create three reflection sofas, funded by Black Dog Ride Australia. The sofas symbolise hope and break down society’s stigma around the topic of suicide.

More on Spotify: Barossa Podcast – Kristin Wohlers