Have you ever seen a deserted warehouse and thought “that would make a great concert hall or cultural center”? Well, this is what Mieke Renders does for a living! She is Managing Director of Trans Europe Halles. Based in Lund, Sweden, it’s a network of grassroots cultural centers with members in 36 European countries. They convert abandoned buildings across Europe into vibrant centers for arts and culture. In doing so, they transform communities, neighborhoods and cities.
Born in Belgium, Renders studied physical anthropology and arts management, which led to a career in the museum and cultural heritage field as curator and project manager. Years later, she shifted into the living arts and made connections between heritage, performing and visual arts. Before moving to Sweden, Renders was the general manager of the Flemish Cultural Center ‘De Brakke Grond’ in Amsterdam and worked as cultural attaché for Flanders House in New York.
Renders is passionate about culture and languages. She is a strong believer in the independence of cultural operators, and their capacity to self-organize in networks in order to achieve greater impact. She describes herself as an associative thinker, a connector and a nomad. She loves concept development and transformational change, connecting the dots and people in networks, and developing tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
At and& Leuven, listen to Renders’ transformational thinking. You might even be inspired to creatively regenerate your own local neighborhood!