Maria Hansen: Walk the Talk: Purposeful Travel in the Arts

How do you take your commitment to travelling in a more ecologically responsible way from work to life, and back? How can a more ecologically responsible business model be implemented in the arts , a field that is so dependent on international collaboration? Maria Hansen has worked for more than 35 years in the arts, mainly in Europe. She has dedicated the last 15 years of her career to developing and promoting a greener practice – both at work and in life. Her conundrum: does international cultural diplomacy through the arts have a future? Maria will tell stories from her green work in the field of the performing arts and, for the past years, at ELIA, an international network of arts education institutes (which counts the Banff as one of its members). She will debunk some of the ‘Great Excuses Not To Act’, and then will also tell you about her efforts to slow-travel across Europe with her Canadian husband – be prepared for bikes, boats, trains, and hiking boots!

Maria Hansen

Maria Hansen is Executive Director of ELIA, a leading European network of art universities, globally connected and dedicated to offering a dynamic platform for exchange and development of its almost 300 members. 

Born and raised in Germany, Maria worked in the performing arts for more than 30 years. She was Executive Director of Ottawa’s opera company before moving to the Netherlands in 1995.  Maria managed the Netherlands Bach Society, a baroque ensemble she toured internationally. In 2007, she became Managing Director of the Municipal Theater and Concert Hall in Haarlem. In 2017, she made the move to ELIA and the international field of arts education. Throughout her career she has served on the boards of many organisations, including the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, youth music ensemble Oorkaan and vocal ensemble Frommermann.

 A passion of Maria’s is developing an ecologically responsible business model for the cultural field.  As managing director of the Theatre and Concert Hall in Haarlem, she was a driving force in achieving green certification for nine local cultural organisations in that city. Maria now has a leading role in the establishment of eco-certification for European cultural networks. In her spare time, Maria loves bootcamp exercise in the dunes nearby her home in Haarlem (Netherlands), welcoming old and new friends for dinner at her long table and practicing meditation.