Preconference presenters

South African Tourism



Linzi McLagan
Linzi McLagan

Linzi McLagan was initially involved in highland dance and first gained contemporary dance experience at 12 years old. She is a proud Scottish School of Contemporary Dance graduate and has maintained a strong relationship with the college throughout her career. Linzi was initially a teaching artist within the community initiatives team at Dundee College before joining the Performing Arts team as a lecturer. She spent four years delivering movement science, body conditioning, contemporary and choreography and was group tutor for the ‘Introduction to Dance course’. Linzi has worked extensively throughout Scotland as a Community Dance
Artist, Dance Development Officer (educational remit) and a Dance Educationalist in Early Years, Primary, secondary and Further Education settings. Linzi has a passion for learning and teaching and is an advocate for dance within the Education sector. Her goal is to initiate and facilitate discussions that empower teachers as well as challenge their perceptions and tacit assumptions.

As Head of Education at YDance, Linzi is principally responsible for the Education strand of the company’s work which includes strategic planning, management and delivery of education projects and events. Her role aims to promote the delivery of dance within the formal education sector and influence the future development of dance within the Scottish curriculum.


Interdisciplinary arts 

Francois le Roux (Ha!Man)
The HA!Man (Francois le Roux) was transformed from being a cellist-pianist with a classical background into a world-traversing spontaneous performer. Years in an artistic wilderness shaped his 'three-dimensional' mind-set towards music, dance and writing that captures true emotional flow, which he regards as essential to keeping the arts vital and politically relevant. In his multi-layered shows and inspirational workshops, high levels of skill meet an openness towards creative interaction. Based in South Africa, he self-manages a prolific output and itinerary.




Willemien/Philomène Rust
Independent lecturer in French, Singer-songwriter

Willemien Rust is an alternative Afrikaans singer-songwriter who has a French alter ego called Philomène. Willemien/Philomène obtained her masters in French in 2015 from the University of Pretoria, South Africa where she taught French through music from 2011 to 2016. Currently she is devoting much of her time to her music career singing in French and Afrikaans at different venues, functions and theatres locally and abroad. Notable performances include concerts at the Breyten Breytenbach Sentrum (Wellington), Vrystaat Kunstefees, Nice (France), Accra (Ghana) and Lagos (Nigeria). She presents language workshops based on French and Francophone songs at schools and language institutes on invitation (Alliance Française de Johannesburg, DSG St.Mary's, Kingsmead College, Afrikaanse Hoër Meisiesskool and Francophonia (amongst others). She also gives online French lessons.


Visual Arts

Visual arts

Mart Gey van Pittius

Mart Gey van Pittius is a born and bred resident of Potchefstroom. The town’s rich heritage sparked her interest in history and art. This inspired her to study the History and Art history undergraduate programme at the North-West University Potchefstroom, followed by an Honours in Art History and later a Master’s degree focussing on narrative memory and identity in the works of two contemporary South African female artists. She is currently working on completing her PGCE to one day inspire and influence a younger generation through art education.


Curational value of visual arts

Les Cohn

Les Cohn

Les Cohn is a qualified artist and an experienced arts administrator. She holds a BAFA(Hons) from Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town and a H. Dip. in Fine Art from the Technikon Witwatersrand (now University of Johannesburg). She was awarded the Technikon Merit Medal. Les Cohn obtained a Diploma in Arts and Culture Management from the PD & M School, University of Witwatersrand. Her unique combination of qualifications, extensive experience in art development, and management positions, board seats and expertise position her ideally to take a leading role in industry initiatives. Cohn has curated exhibitions in most South African museums and has taken exhibitions to Germany Moçambique, museums in Washington and Baltimore in the US.

A key focus area Les undertakes is strategic career development for contemporary South African artists. Long-term clients include Paul Emmanuel whose Transitions exhibition was exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington. Emmanuel’s The Lost Men Project has been selected for the WW1 centenary commemorations in 2014 in France. Recent and ongoing artist’s projects managed by Cohn include Mbongeni Buthelezi’s IMIZWA YAMI, Usha Seejarim’s Venus At Home, Wilma Cruise’s Will You, Won’t You, Join the Dance? and Rosemarie Marriott’s relaas. Her earlier art career experience was as gallery administrator of Die Kunskamer in Cape Town during the 1970s – a highly respected gallery and leading player in the South African ‘Old Masters’ art market. Later in Johannesburg she managed Quadri a contemporary commercial gallery. In 1996 she was appointed the first Administrator of the Fordsburg Artist’s Studios (aka Bag Factory). Cohn served as the Creative Director and Curator of the Sasol Wax Art Award. Sponsored by Sasol for three years, this Award was unique in recognising the contribution to the arts of senior, established visual artists in South Africa. Collectively, this experience laid the groundwork for a thorough understanding of the technical and curatorial aspects of the art business, including the commercial aspect; namely the selling and marketing of art, negotiating with the serious collector and the buying public. These key insights have served her well as she has gone on to work in the business of building the profile and careers of contemporary visual artists. She has been an invited guest lecturer at several academic institutions on professional practice and fundraising and is a supervisor on the University of Johannesburg Fine Art Department’s Workplace Integrated Learning programme. Les Cohn brings professionalism, experience, enthusiasm and energy to any project she undertakes and is, above all, passionate about developing the sector and enhancing its professional image.

The art of becoming PART: Part iii Student perspectives

Merna Meyer

Merna Meyer

Merna is the subject head for Creative Arts at the Education Faculty of the North-West University, South Africa.  Her teaching and learning focuses on the professional and leadership development of pre-service art teachers. Merna encourages her students through participatory action research using socially engaged art practices to create enabling environments with the youths. She received the NWU community engaged excellence award for her transdisciplinary work.

Her students’ artworks are exhibited globally on digital platforms. Her PhD in living educational theory – The ART of becoming PART –  is a mantra that she advocates at various conferences, both nationally and globally. Merna is the organiser of the first virtual Arts conference in sub-Saharan Africa and serves as the vice-chair for SSASEA (Sub Sahara African Society of Arts Educators).

"ArteNautas" by Teresa Alexandrino