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FRESH 2019 - The Meeting Design Conference

13 - 15 October 2019


A vast majority of meeting and event professionals are looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of their gatherings. Conferences are perceived as the most “serious” segment and Festivals as the most Frivolous. But Festivals seem to be the ultimate place to be. Great fun, great line-ups, people of my age and interest, etc. Conferences, meetings and events can learn from Festivals: let’s look at festivalisation as a new medicine – in the right dose - for more engaged and energised participants. This may transform all sorts of meetings where participants get more time together and experience is key.

At FRESH19 you will discover and experience several tools and techniques you can apply to improve presentations, increase interaction, keep energy high and support your objectives in learning, networking and motivation for participants.

The 7th edition of the FRESH Conference will build on the Barcelona FRESH where many performances enriched the conference. We will have artistic and other performances that have a connection with conferences. They will be included in sessions or in breaks for all to discover. A Conference-Art Showcase allows all sorts of artists to demonstrate their unique and creative activities for meetings, conferences and events.

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Start: 13 October 2019
End: 15 October 2019
Meeting Design Institute

Turnhout, Belgium

2300 Turnhout Flanders


Paul Gudgin

Freelance Festival Director
Festival & Event Management lecturer
Paul Gudgin
  • Paul Gudgin
    Paul Gudgin has over 20 years experience in the management of festivals and events including the Aldeburgh Festival, Durham International Brass Festival the City of London Festival and he was for 8 years the Director of the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This was an exciting period that saw the event double in scale hosting an incredible 12,000 performances and selling over 8 million tickets. Paul has become recognised as one of the world’s leading festival and event experts and has taught festival and event professionals all over the world. He was Visiting Professor of Festivals and Events at Leeds Metropolitan University and Senior Consultant at the Edinburgh Institute for Festival and Event Management at Edinburgh Napier University. He has been a key-note speaker at leading event conferences in Ireland, Canada, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, The US and China.
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George Parker

Performer | Speaker | Author

Spiderworks BV
George Parker
  • George Parker

    George Parker is much sought after speaker/performer and combines science, art and philosophy in his LectureShows© about the creative process. Over the last four decades he has created art and reinvented himself in ten wildly different careers to discover the secrets behind how we create and transform reality. He collected his philosophy, insights and techniques in his TheCreationGame® and shared them in over 5000 LectureShows© all over the world. He turns eye-opening, original content into experiences and brings them to life (using illusions, mentalism, comedy, audience participation, illustrations and acting) to remind people that every outcome is the result of a creative process and help them create the outcomes they want. His Little Book of Creativity and TheCreationGame® Carddeck inspire readers to approach their life as a creative process.

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Jasmien Herssens

Architect, Teacher, Researcher and a Designer for All

Faculty of Architecture and Art at Hasselt University
Jasmien Herssens
  • Jasmien Herssens

    Jasmien Herssens is an architect, teacher, researcher and a Designer for All. Design for all (DfA), Universal Design (UD) or Inclusive Design (ID) is a research domain and strategy supporting creators in designing products, services and environments for the best possible inclusive user experience and more precisely in an elegant way. At the faculty of Architecture and Art at Hasselt University, Jasmien Herssens teaches Design for All (DfA) to students and conducts research on design methods and methodologies. She works together with a diversity of users in order to find design parameters and methods supporting designers to create inclusive experiences in the built environment. For example, people born blind are experts to find insights in multisensory qualities.  She was the first architect in Belgium who received an IWT grant for her research and was honoured with several Best Paper Awards. In 2012 she became the first female winner of the Cera Senior Award (Engineers with a heart).

    Jasmien Herssens is an Executive Board Member of EIDD-Design for All Europe responsible for science and education and representative in the European Disability Forum (EDF). In 2018, Jasmien initiated and received an FWO grant to start up an international coordination action for the academic network of EIDD-Design for All Europe. As President of the Belgian Design for All network, Jasmien founded the first DfA (UD)- Week in Hasselt, Belgium in 2016. DfA Weeks are event weeks in which interdisciplinarity and inclusion are key for innovation. This year in Spring she successfully conducted a second DfA week in Brisbane Australia. For Jasmien, events are successful if a DfA- attitude and mind set result into an event where everyone feels welcome and connected.

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Diogo Almeida Alves

Partner | Curator World Economic Forum Shapers Lisbon | Book Author & Speaker
The Human Story
Diogo Almeida Alves
  • Diogo Almeida Alves

    With an accumulated international experience in 9 countries and 4 continents, Diogo works with big corporations in digital transformation strategies and with startups and investors across Europe, US and Asia. He has a vast experience in the digital area, having launched and managed 4 tech companies with distinct business models and in different countries. Diogo held broad responsibilities at the largest venture capital firm of Portugal and was part of the team that launched the first sports technology Accelerator in Europe.

    Diogo is a Partner at The Human Story, a company that focused in the empowerment and development of people through innovation and arts, with improvisation theatre at the core of its methodology. He discovered his passion for this performing art in 2015, while joining a theatre group in Berlin that aimed at raising the awareness for the challenges faced by migrant refugees when they arrived to German capital.

    Together with his technology and arts endeavors, he is also a Visiting Professor at Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics, the Curator of World Economic Forum Global Shapers for 2019/2020, and is in the Board of two Sustainability NGOs, the German Federal Association for Sustainability and Loving the Planet.

    After “The Binomial Technology & Sustainability”, Diogo is already preparing a second book with the key themes being the origins, intersection and evolution of the 4 elements of nature, mankind and technology.

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Marijn Venmans

Owner and Operational Director

Bass Events
Marijn Venmans
  • Marijn Venmans

    Marijn is the owner and operational director of Bass Events – Belgium’s leading promoter in the Hard Dance event scene. Bass Events is responsible for some larger events like The Qontinent (Weekend Festival in Wachtenbeeke), Reverze (Indoor Event in Antwerp, Sportpaleis) and Flashback (In/Outdoor Event with multiple edition and venues).

    Besides Bass Events, he also organises the Sunrise Festival (Weekend Festival in Gierle) which every year welcomes a variety of artist from different music genres like House, Urban and Hardstyle.

    His love for organising events started when he was just 16, and this flame has never stopped burning since. Nowadays, he is turning his passion for events towards a more eco-friendly path and is trying to make a socially responsible difference with his latest project: Sustainable Solution (The Call of Nature).

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Maarten Vanneste

Founder of the FRESH Conference
Senior Meeting Architect consultant
Meeting Design Institute
Maarten Vanneste
  • Maarten Vanneste

    Maarten Vanneste, started his company ABBIT in 1982. It grew from an AV company over production to a full-service meeting design company. After more than 30 years he is seen as a Meeting Industry leader and visionary with a focus on meeting design.

    His CMM's business-plan project became reality as the Meeting Design Institute (2006) - a member based organization that educates and exposes meeting planners to meeting design and its toolbox. In 2007 Maarten wrote the ground-breaking book ‘Meeting Architecture, a manifesto’. This became an industry bestseller that lead to an international movement and educational projects.

    Maarten is an influential innovator, author, trainer and a speaker. For his relentless work and influence in the Meetings industry, he received the IMEX Academy Award in 2005 and the MPI RISE Award for Industry Leadership in 2011.

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Theater Stap

  • Theater Stap

    Stap is an theatre company that exclusively works with actors with mental disability. Besides their plays, they are internationaly involved in film, TV-series, conferences, events etc.

    At the fresh conference you will discover several aspects of this wild bunch of creatives. You will be moved by their film, touched by their work and smile during their coffeebreak-interventions. The meeting industry’s attention for inclusion is growing; we built a session on inclusion with the STAP actor’s input. FRESH shares things you haven’t seen before, so you here you will get your FRESH ideas for inclusion first-hand…

    All the art you experience at FRESH can be booked, STAP is available for your international meetings too!

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Sam McNeill

General Manager - UK & Europe

Sam McNeill
  • Sam McNeill

    Voted as a Top Five Speaker in Spice Magazine’s Hot 100, Sam McNeill - SongDivision GM for UK & Europe - is one of the most in-demand Corporate MC’s & Facilitators. Sam has hosted over 350 interactive experiences including musical team building workshops, gala awards events and product launches on five continents.

    Sam’s accolades include winning ‘Future Leader’ awards for both Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) and the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). In 2017, Sam was included in Connect Corporate’s esteemed list of ’40 under 40’ industry professionals.

    Sam’s professionalism and energy has made him a favourite among some of the biggest brands in the world including Coca- Cola, Microsoft, McDonald’s, Spotify, and Fujitsu. However, Sam’s greatest professional moment was performing at a Virgin Airlines event where Sir Richard Branson planted a kiss on Sam’s cheek. He’s still blushing.

    Sam earned a Bachelor’s Degrees in Music Studies (Classical Voice) from Sydney Conservatorium of Music. 

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Maarten Bel


Maarten Bel - Visual Artist
Maarten Bel
  • Maarten Bel

    Maarten Bel is a multidisciplinary artist based in Rotterdam (NL). Besides his master in Fine Arts, he is a qualified teacher for higher education. The latter has a great influence on his work: often are his works and projects based around spreading knowledge and awareness, be it about art (Valse Meesters; Halsoverkop) or even his own favourite moles and other bodily curiosities (Body Tour). He has done several projects with children or young adults (Expeditie: Planeet Aarde), though works like ‘I Think That Way’ and ‘Don’t Worry, You Will Die’ show a more seasoned look on life. He has published several books and given lectures all around the Netherlands.

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Jan Van Doorens

Director of programs at the Department of Sport Sciences
University of Applied Sciences, Thomas More Turnhout
Jan Van Doorens
  • Jan Van Doorens

    Jan Van Dooren has over 23 years experience within education, the organization and management of education. Since childhood, Jan has been immersed in the world of conscious movement, sensor motor skills, yoga and eutonie. The link between physical and mental health has long been his field of interest, both within the world of (top) sport, education and daily working life. In the meantime, Jan has guided in a playful but focused way over 700 young people in their search for balance, between tension and relaxation, between flexibility and strength, between attention and distraction…

    As a program director at the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences he increasingly tries to identify the importance of exercise in preventive healthcare.

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Bertrand Caudron


The Human Story
Bertrand Caudron

Dr Magnus GT Hamann


Loughborough University
Dr Magnus GT Hamann
  • Dr Magnus GT Hamann

    Magnus is a researcher of embodied talk, social worlds, and human interaction. Magnus earned his PhD in Denmark but has since moved to Loughborough University in England. 

    Magnus has used "conversation analysis" to study various settings, such as rehabilitation, business meetings, call to service providers, human-computer interaction and networking during coffee breaks. 

    Magnus' work at the moment focuses on exploring the "social rooms" and the resources that make up various professional and mundane settings. When Magnus is not doing research or teaches in the university, he arranges and runs workshops for larger groups of people (usually between 100-400 people). Magnus runs about 40 such workshops each year.

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Dr. Elling Hamso

Managing Partner
Event ROI Institute
Dr. Elling Hamso
  • Dr. Elling Hamso

    Elling has spent most of his career as a senior executive in the Norwegian oil and gas industry and later as a management consultant. 

    He started an event agency in Norway in 2000 and Event ROI Institute in 2005. He has been Chapter President and a member of the European Council of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and is currently a member of the jury of European Best Event Awards (EuBEA), International Best Event Awards, Middle East Best Event Awards, Meetings Industry Marketing Awards (MIMA) in the UK, Evento Awards in Finland, Irish Event Industry Awards and Estonian Best Event Awards. 

    Conference & Incentive Travel Magazine ranked him 5th on their list of the 50 most influential people in the UK meetings and events industry in 2006 and Eventbranche magazine named him third among the 30 most influential in the meetings and events industry in the Netherlands in 2012. 

    He consults and speaks frequently on subjects such as ROI, events industry trends, meeting architecture, procurement and risk management. Elling has a B.Sc. in Management Sciences and a Ph.D. in procurement strategy from Manchester University.

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Matt Grey

Director of Business Development EMEA
Matt Grey
  • Matt Grey

    A 20-year veteran of the events industry, Matt has far-reaching global experience spanning Kuala Lumpur to Boston and many in between.

    At INVNT he is responsible for ensuring engagement, alignment, and growth in INVNT’s clients throughout the EMEA region, and is passionate about sharing the agency’s unique positioning and challenger mentality with clients – an approach that many perceive as a breath of fresh air in a crowded market.

    Matt brings a warm, wise touch to INVNT in Europe, complementing relationships with a wide variety of brands including PepsiCo, Samsung, TEDx, Xero, Microsoft and Facebook.

    Away from work, Matt lives outside London with his family and hairy dog, Jake. 

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We are in a special destination: A small town, an unknown town, a no conference centre town, our town and we plan to stay. (Our key-note Paul Gudgin will tell you why.) See how you can benefit from an alternative destination, learn the good and the bad.

C-Art Showcase

Theater STAP

Theater Stap is a professional theatre company creating performances in which mentally disabled people take centre stage.
  • Theater STAP

    Theater Stap is a professional theatre company creating performances in which mentally disabled people take centre stage. The performances’ artistic quality legitimises the company’s unique position within Flanders’ mainstream theatrical landscape.

    Theater Stap strongly believes disabled artists possess the capacity to move their audiences while performing. The company offers the actors a working space to develop their talents and individual artistic careers. In collaboration with various professional artists Theater Stap creates productions putting first the actors’ authenticity, increasing the visibility of disabled people and livening up broad discussions about theatre.

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Global provider of interactive musical experiences for meetings and events that empower teams and build a deeply unified corporate culture.



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Host Sponsors

Partner Sponsor

Local Partners

City of Turnhout

A small medieval city with a mote of 1110, a 13th century beguinage and many charming buildings. Welcome!


Music studio Break-out room


Sustainability at conferences knows many forms. Call of nature is a start-up that helps festivals with very practical solutions that increase sustainability and decrease waste and pollution.

NEST Brewery

A local brewery creating some fine beers and naming them after playing cards like the "Ace of spades"...