President of VENIS STUDIOS, Senior Expert Art Conservator Restorer
Venizelos G. Gavrilakis is a highly expert in art conservation and restoration of Byzantine icons, historical paintings, artworks, and antiquities, renowned worldwide for his exceptional expertise. With a strong academic background, Venizelos graduated from a Ministry-certified conservation and restoration faculty in Greece, specializing in art conservation and restoration of artwork and antiquities. He further honed his skills through dedicated studies in paintings restoration and conservation at the prestigious Conservation Fine Art Faculty of Palazzo Spinelli in Florence, Italy. Since 1994, Gavrilakis has served as a senior expert art conservator and restorer, undertaking numerous noteworthy projects across the globe. His remarkable career includes managing director positions at art conservation laboratories in renowned institutions, collaborations with galleries and private collectors. He is an art-writer and contributor to “The World Art News”, Local Approach” and others. Gavrilakis is a member of KMKD Kültürel Mirası Koruma Derneği (Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage) while also member of AIC, IIC, ICON, ICA and other heritage culture associations. He is owner and president of VENIS STUDIOS, a leading art conservation and restoration company headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey. The studio is dedicated to delivering exceptional services worldwide, combining the science and art of conservation and restoration, ensuring the art preservation of historical artworks and monuments at the highest level of craftsmanship.
Dr. Damla Acar is a conservation architect, specialized in historic wooden buildings and wooden objects conservation. She is also a specialist on conservation of painted and decorated architectural surfaces. She was a senior conservation architect at National Palaces Directorate in Istanbul till 2022. She is co-founder of Koruma Akademisi (cultural heritage conservation learning community) and is running the conservation of timber altarpieces and timber Templon wall of Yeniköy Panagia Church in Istanbul. She organizes many learning experiences for the mid- career professionals on painted surfaces conservation, timber conservation and icon conservation for Koruma Akademisi.
Assist. Prof., Işık Üniversitesi, Turkey
Şehrigül YEŞİL obtained her undergraduate degree from Istanbul University, Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property and her master's degree from the Classical Archaeology Department of the same university. She received her PhD degree from Istanbul University, Department of Conservation, Renovation and Restoration with a dissertation on the reburial of mosaic pavements for preservation in the ancient city of Perge. YEŞİL has been working as a lecturer and head of programme at FMV Işık University since 2013 and has been working as an Assistant Professor since 2020. She is also a member of the board of the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. She has experience as a field conservator over fifteen different sites in Turkey. Her research activity is mainly focused on documentation, conservation, maintenance programs, and reburial for preservation of mosaics.
Professor at the School of Spatial Planning and Development of Aristotle University, Greece
Dr. Efstratios Stylianidis is a Professor at the School of Spatial Planning and Development of Aristotle University, Greece, where he leads the Laboratory of Geoinformatics (LabGeo). During this period (2019-2023) he is acting as Vice Rector for Research and Lifelong Learning. His research focuses on the intersection of Geospatial Sciences and ICT for the benefit of natural and built environment. He is currently the President of the International Committee for Documentation of Cultural Heritage - CIPA (2020-2024) where he will continue to serve as a Vice President for the next four years (2024-2027). CIPA is one of the oldest International Scientific Committees of ICOMOS (International Council of Monuments and Sites), jointly founded in 1968 with ISPRS (International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing) to facilitate the transfer of technology from the measurements sciences into the heritage documentation and recording disciplines. Dr. Efstratios Stylianidis was a visiting Professor at Columbia University (2018), while as an invited speaker he gave lectures at Columbia University, Princeton University, and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Assist. Prof. of Christian Archaeology and Art at the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of History, University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Todor Enchev Todorov received his BA in Theology (1996) from Sts Cyril and Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo. He pursued Master’s degree in Theology at the Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece (2003) and did his PhD in Archaeology in the University of Veliko Tarnovo (2016). He is an Assist. Prof. of Christian Archaeology and Art at the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of History, University of Veliko Tarnovo and Vice-president of the EIKONA – a group of academics working in the field of ecclesiastical arts from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Russia, initiated by Prof. George Kordis. Since 2001, he participated in archaeological excavations at the mediaeval monasteries in Bulgaria. His research interests are in the field of early Christian art and archeology, and history of Christian art and he has numerous publications and translations from Greek language.
Senior lecturer, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Bulgaria
Pencho Mihnev, PhD, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", is a senior lecturer in e-learning. He works in the fields of e-Learning (planning, design, development, delivery, assessment and evaluation), Technology Enhanced Learning, Instructional Design, and Curriculum Design. He has more than 70 publications in international sources, and participated in more than 25 R&D and innovative international projects. He obtained MSc degree in Mathematics (Plovdiv University, Bulgaria), one-year specialisation in Computer Science (Sofia University, Bulgaria), and MSc degree in Educational and Training Systems Design (University of Twente, The Netherlands). His career path includes teaching of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Headmaster position at secondary school, Expert in ICT and head of department at the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria, project officer and project manager positions at Sofia University and in private companies, teaching and research positions at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski".
Assoc. Prof. of Icon Painting at the Department of Church Arts, Orthodox Theological Faculty, University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Vanya Sapundzhieva, born 1974 in Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria. Vanya Sapundzhieva finished the National Aprilov High School in Gabrovo (1993) and received her BA and MA in Iconography (1998) from Sts Cyril and Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo where she also did her PhD in Iconography (2008). She carried out a postdoctoral project at the National Science Fund (NSF) in cooperation with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2010–2013). Vanya Sapundzhieva is Assoc. Prof. of Icon Painting at the Department of Church Arts, Orthodox Theological Faculty, University of Veliko Tarnovo. She is a founder member of the EIKONA – a group of academics working in the field of ecclesiastical arts from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Russia, initiated by Prof. George Kordis. Since 1997, she has participated in iconographic exhibitions held in Bulgaria, Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, France, Luxembourg, Greece, Poland. Some of her most important projects in the area of Christian art include the frescoes of St. Nicholas Church, Weiler-la-Tour, Luxembourg (2011), the frescoes of St Paisios of Hilandar Church, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria (2004-13), St Michael the Archangel Church, Kolena, Bulgaria (2014-16), Anonsiation Chapel, Stara Zagora (2017), the icons of the same church, St. George Church, Cherni Osam (2021,2023), Bulgaria, icons for the iconostasis of St Haralambos Church, Dolna Mahala, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, iconostasis panels for St Patriarch Evtimii Church, Paris, France and many individual frescoes for churches in Bulgaria. Icons drawn by Vanya Sapundzhieva are also found in many private collections in Europe and the USA. Vanya Sapundzhieva has taken part in two international icon-painting workshops in Brancoveanu Monastery (1998) and in Bistrica Monastery, Romania (2000); in the First, Third, and Fourth Symposium on iconographic art organized by the EIKONA Group held in Thessaloniki, Greece (2009) , St Petersburg, Russia ( 2010) and the Monastery of New Valaam (2011), Finland, respectively; in the Third Biennale 'From Assumption to the Present Day' held at the Institut de théologie orthodoxe Saint-Serge, Paris, France (2009), International atelier "Ikona Nova", Bucharest, Romania (2014) and from the First to the Eight Biennale of Church Arts held in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (2009-2023). In the period 2011-2023 she is a curator and participant of 10 exhibitions of icons organized jointly with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Municipality in Paris at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute there in. She has one monograph and numerous publications on post-Byzantine art and in the field of Christian iconology.
Dimitar Iliev holds a PhD in Classics (Late antique poetry) and an MA in Computer Linguistics and Humanities Computing from the University of Sofia. His main scholarly interests range from the linguistic analysis of Ancient Greek poetry and the interaction of religions and cultures in Late Antiquity to the digital publication of ancient epigraphic monuments and other textual sources using TEI XML. He has been a guest lecturer and a workshop tutor at the Universities of Cologne, Belgrade, and Tbilisi. He is the coordinator and the encoding supervisor for the ORASIS collection of Post-Byzantine church murals from Bulgaria.
Assoc. Prof. of Classics in the University of Sofia, Bulgaria
Tsvetan Vasilev holds a PhD in Classics (Koine Greek language) and is currently an Associate Professor of Classics in the University of Sofia. His scholarly interests are in the field of Post-Byzantine inscriptions in Greek language and Neolatin studies. He has been a guest lecturer in the University of Cologne and has participated in scientific projects concerning the epigraphic heritage of Bulgaria and the Balkans. Together with Dimitar Iliev has been working upon the ORASIS project – a digital edition of Post-Byzantine inscriptions from Bulgaria.