Ewan Simpson, Almaty

Dean of the School of Law and Social Sciences, Narxoz University

A native of Scotland,  Ewan became the Dean of the School of Law and Social Sciences at Narxoz University in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2018. Prior to this, he held various faculty and senior executive positions at KIMEP University (2004-2014) and was the Dean of Business at the Kazakh-British Technical University (2014-2018). In the past five years, he has worked closely with the British Council on a wide range of issues.

In terms of recent experience with the creative industries he worked on a consulting report for the British Council (with Andy Pratt and Dana Shayakhmetova), mapping Kazakhstan’s creative industries. This builds on his experience at the University of Glasgow 1993-2004 as a researcher. 

Galina Koretskaya, Almaty

Head of Arts and Creative Economy, British Council Kazakhstan

Galina joined the British Council in 2014 to lead our work in the arts, showcasing the best of UK theatre and music events, coordinating new visual arts exhibitions and developing capacity building programmes and policy dialogue initiatives in support of the creative and cultural economy. In summer 2017, she developed Future Creative, the UK’s cultural programme for EXPO in Astana and more recently she helped bring the V&A’s Jameel Prize to the Kasteyev Museum in Almaty. She has also played a leading role in founding the ‘Transforma’ cultural venue within Almaty’s new creative hub, SmArt.Point.

She began her career as an account manager at the Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agency in 2005 before completing her MA in theatre arts management at the Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno, Czech Republic in 2011. 

Gauhar Kozhasheva, Almaty

Project Manager, Impact Hub Pilot Almaty

Gaukhar started her career in Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia where she was responsible for projects in education, corporate social responsibility, entrepreneurship and corporate volunteer activities. 

In 2018, Gaukhar started working at Impact Hub Pilot Almaty where she works on the Art2B Laboratory of Creative Entrepreneur project. This project provides creative entrepreneurs of Almaty with the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills through participating in the unique educational programme and various networking and collaboration events as well to extend their international connections and contacts with the partners of the Impact Hub network around the globe.

Indira Makhmetova, Astana

Founder and Managing Partner, Astana Biennale

Indira Makhmetova has always dreamed of organising international exhibitions and art salons. It has been twenty years since she started successfully realising the first part of her dream. She has founded and conducted over thirty annual international events, including one with the participation of the President of Kazakhstan during his official visit to France in 2010. She has vast international experience, having worked in Kazakhstan, UK, Turkey, Mongolia, Russia and France.  Together with the Astana architects Vitaliy Siletsky, Arseniy Pirozhkov and Vladimir Laptev, she organised the Astana Architecture Forum. Makhmetova is a co-founder of the first creative cluster in Astana, the Hydra Art Factory.

Jamilya Nurkaliyeva, Almaty

Director, Tselinny Center of Contemporary Culture

The Tselinny Center of Contemporary Culture is Kazakhstan’s first private institution aimed at developing interdisciplinary interaction between contemporary culture and art.


The Center was founded by Kairat Boranbayev and is based at the premises of the Soviet-built Tselinny (“Virgin Lands”) cinema theatre. Reconstruction of the cinema is to begin in late 2018 under the direction of the British architect Asif Khan, who aims to transform the building into a multifunctional space. After the final opening in 2020, the Tselinny will focus its efforts on the study and representation of processes taking place in the fields of contemporary culture and the arts, as well as social processes and developments in the humanities and STEM disciplines.

Kairat Tarbayev, Almaty

Deputy Development Director, Association of Museums of Almaty

Kairat Tarbaev started his career as a journalist at the Caspian Commune newspaper in Atyrau, Kazakhstan. Later he worked as a newscaster of the region’s TV and radio broadcasting company. In 1998-2001, he served in the Kazakhstan army as an officer. In 2001, he was appointed as an assistant to the Deputy Akim of the Atyrau region. In 2003-2004, Mr Tarbaev worked as an officer at the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In 2004-2006, he worked as a press secretary of the Minister of Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan. He also worked at public relations departments of KazMunayGas national oil and gas company, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy national railways company and as a press secretary of the Akim of the Atyrau region. 

Madina Sergazina, Astana

TSE art destination

Madina graduated from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, where she studied Art History.

Professional development courses she took:

  • Variations sur le nu dans l’art occidental (1863-1939) – Variations on the Nude in Western Art (1863-1939), École du Louvre, 2017
  • Histoire et représentation des fleurs dans la peinture, de la Renaissance au XIX siècle – History and Representation of Flowers in Paintings from Renaissance to the 19th Century, École du Louvre, 2017

Nastia Goncharova, Almaty

Creative Researcher

Nastia Goncharova is a creative researcher. She believes that one of this year’s landmark projects is “Spirit of Place: Almaty” dealing with research into the identity of a modern city and its residents. Nastia works with interdisciplinary creative projects. She is an independent curator (City Nomads 2.0 by British Council), coordinator of educational programmes (Cities and People by Urban Forum Kazakhstan) and mentor of creative entrepreneurship development programmes (Art2B for Impact Hub Almaty). She is also a facilitator of the WeAlmaty project dealing with civic society development, a teacher of design thinking and a columnist for several online media.

Ms Goncharova has many years of working experience in advertising industry and translated James Hurman’s book “The Case for Creativity: The Link between Imaginative Marketing and Commercial Success” that was published in Russian for the first time in October 2018. 

Nazerkem Itybayeva, Astana

"New Economy" Project Office under the Department of Investment and Developement, Astana Mayor's Office

In 2011-2015, Nazerkem Itybayeva studied at the Pennsylvania State University after receiving a scholarship from Kazakhstan’s Bolashak international education programme. In 2015-2017, she studied in France and Spain working on her master’s degree under the EU’s Erasmus Mundus programme. In 2017, when finishing the programme, she defended her dissertation on economy of energy systems (Spain, Italy). 

Nazerkem was an organiser of the Family Day 2018 creative industries festival that brought together representatives of diplomatic missions, cultural centres, creative communities and businesses of Astana. She also participated in meeting the guests of Kazakhstan Kids Fashion Show 2018 that featured fashion and beauty industries, fashion theatres, dancing teams and media from 16 countries. 

Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, Astana

Director, Public Foundation “National Bureau of Translations”

Rauan Kenzhekhanuly works on projects aimed at developing the intellectual potential of people in Kazakhstan. These projects include WikiBilim, kitap.kz, bilimland, iMektep, iTest.kz, and more.

Rauan graduated from Almaty State University, where he studied international relations. From 2005-2009, he worked as the second secretary and first secretary at the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Russia, as the director of Mangystau office of the TV channel Kazakhstan and as an adviser to the Akim, or governor, of Mangystau Province. From 2009-2011, he studied international relations at Harvard University.

Since 2017, he has worked as the executive director of the organization National Bureau of Translations (WikiBilim). The foundation is currently developing the project “New Humanitarian Knowledge: 100 New Textbooks in the Kazakh Language,” translating the best textbooks into Kazakh