Stiftung Lesen

Simone C. Ehmig

Born 1964, she studied communications, German language and history of arts. She received a PhD in communication studies at Johannes Gutenberg University (Mainz / Germany) where she took responsibility for studies in political communication, journalism research and on media effects as well as for research on risk and health communication. From 2007 to 2009 she headed the Department of Applied Research in Health Communication at Università della Svizzera italia (Lugano / Switzerland).

Since November 2009 Simone Ehmig is head of the Institute for Research on Reading and Media at Stiftung Lesen. The institute is providing research on reading and reading aloud focussing motivational and behavioural aspects as well as development and evaluation of programmes and campaigns.

Ehmig is an honorary professor at Johannes Gutenberg University (Mainz / Germany).

Stiftung Lesen (German Reading Foundation), based in Mainz, Germany, is committed to reading and literacy promotion. We believe that reading is a prerequisite for full participation in today’s media- led and culturally diverse society. Reading is fundamental to human development, it enables people to live full and meaningful lives and contribute towards the enrichment of the communities in which we live.

Stiftung Lesen acts as an advocate for reading and media competency in Germany to ensure that every individual in Germany develops crucial reading and media skills, and enjoys reading. In order to create a basis for the development of reading skills, and to enhance the overall level of literacy, Stiftung Lesen established adequate and accessible programs – especially for educationally, socially or culturally disadvantaged target groups.

The foundation’s initiatives and programs as well as pilot and research projects complement and build on each other. The programs support early infant development in the family and nurseries when the basis of reading competency is laid. Older children and teenagers are reached through projects in- and outside school, covering their future development. In addition to the children benefitting directly, actors chaperoning the children’s development such as parents, childcare workers, teachers, booksellers and librarians are integrated in the programs.

Shared Reading

Carsten Sommerfeld

Carsten Sommerfeldt, founder and managing director of Shared Reading gGmbH i.G., is highly experienced in speaking and writing about books and literature. As publicity director and publishing director with Berlin Verlag and the Droemer Knaur publishing group he coordinated the press campaigns for fiction and non-fiction books, the online marketing and the social media activities of bespoke publishing groups.

Shared Reading gGmbH i.G. is a social enterprise working in the GSA Region (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) as the partner of the award-winning charity The Reader Organisation (TRO), a nationally recognised centre for the promotion of reading and positive mental health. The goal of Shared Reading is to bring books to life, creating welcoming environments in which personal feeling is recognised and valued, forming vital connections between people and literature through which everyone can feel more alive. Since 2015 Shared Reading gGmbH i.G. has spread the movement of Shared Reading in what are now more than 30 weekly Shared Reading groups led by up to 85 trained Facilitators in a wide variety of environments, namely libraries, communities, corporates and education.

Stichting Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek

Joris de Bruin

CPNB is the communication office for the book market in The Netherlands. Its primary goal is to stimulate reading and book ownership. Next to continuous marketing activities, the CPNB organizes the yearly national book week, and children’s book reading week. The CPNB is well connected with all stakeholders in the book sector, including libraries and book sellers.

Buero Bauer

Erwin K. Bauer

was born in Styria, Austria and educated as an alpine farmer. Changing the area of interest, he studied Type- and Bookdesign and Graphic Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where he is a lecturer of Design management and Graphic Design. He also teaches internationally, works as a curator, judges in design juries, publishes on current issues in Communication Design and works in the practical field of design.

Erwin K. Bauer is the founder and head of buero bauer in Vienna, an interdisciplinary design studio operating on the intersection of visual, spatial and social design. A special focus lies on information-design throughout all media.

The work of the studio has been awarded with multiple prizes such as the Red Dot Award, European Design Award, the Austrian State Prize and the Joseph Binder Award. Beside that, Erwin K. Bauer and his design team are committed to current social issues and started a variety of self-initiated interventions by design, inter alia as a curator for visual communication at the Vienna Design Week or the Vienna Biennale. Numerous projects have a strong focus on research and build on the collaboration with experts in the scientific field.

Lillestrøm Upper Secondary School

Ole Tobias Mangen

MA in English Literature and Culture Teaches English and American literature on various levels in the Norwegian system as well as at the International Baccalaureate system. I am also head of the English department at our school as well as head of the regional network of English teachers.

The school typically prepares our students for higher education, it would be the equivalent of a sixth form college. The age group of the students is 16 – 18/19. The literature classes for the older students would be at the level of college first year. Literature courses in Norway typically has a wider approach, embracing civilization/culture studies as well.

Rüdiger Wischenbart Content & Consulting

Rüdiger Wischenbart

Rüdiger Wischenbart, born in 1956 in Graz, Austria, is the founder of “Content and Consulting” (since 2003), and a writer specialized in culture, cultural industries, the global book markets, innovation in the book industry, literature, media, and communication.

He served as Director of Communication to the Frankfurt Book Fair (1998 to 2001), as Director of International Affairs to BookExpo America (2005 to 2016) and as Director of Programming to Publishers’ Forum in Berlin (2015 to 2019).

He conducts extensive research on the international publishing industry, notably on Europe, the Middle East (with Nasser Jarrous, including a ground breaking survey of the publishing market in the UAE), China, Russia and Latin America (“El espacio iberoamericano del libro”, 2018).

He researched and (co-) authored analytical surveys on global publishing markets, notably an annual update on “The Business of Books” for the Frankfurt Book Fair, the “Global eBook” report ( ), the “Global Publishing Markets”, and the “Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry”, updated annually since 2007 (initiated by Livres Hebdo, France, and co-published by The Bookseller, UK, buchreport, Germany, PublishNews Brazil, and Publishers Weekly, US), which is at the core of a debate of industry leaders at the Frankfurt CEO panel discussion, moderated by Wischenbart with the editors of the partnering trade magazines.

Wischenbart co-authored the “Diversity Reports” 2016 (forthcoming), 2010, 2009 and 2008 mapping translation markets and cultures across Europe. ( ).

In 2017, he co-founded BookMap, a non-profit initiative on international publishing statistics together with Miha Kovac of the University of Ljubljana. ( )

As a consultant, he regularly works for international platforms and institutions catering to the publishing industry, including, WIPO, UNESCO and the European Commission. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal “Logos”, and the co-author of a chapter on globalization in publishing for “The Oxford Handbook of Publishing” (2019.

He holds a PhD in German literature from the University of Graz, and was lecturing at the University of Vienna, Austria (1987 to 2014).


Het Lezercollectief  / The Reader Group

Dirk Terryn

Dirk Terryn is managing director of the organisation which consists of 82% volunteers. He is a former teacher and civil servant responsible for culture education.

Het Lezerscollectief is a learning community (network) of trained leaders in shared reading organising shared reading groups in vulnerable target groups. Shared reading is a way of social reading in which people gather in small groups and listen to some great literature read aloud. Participants share the same experience at the same time and get the opportunity to interact and express their impressions and feelings in whatever way they want. The leader will facilitate and stimulate this interaction in which people tend to express, discover or find words for their own stories.

Het Lezerscollectief has reading groups in every province in Flanders and is active in Brussels. It is the partner of the international centre for shared reading in Liverpool (UK) for Flanders, Brussels and the Netherlands.

IG Leseförderung

Barbara Piatti

Barbara Piatti is an independent scholar and publisher, holding a PhD in German studies. After various research stays abroad such as Stanford University, USA and Charles University, Prague, she was appointed as Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Institute of Advanced Study (2010/2011). From 2006-2014 she worked as a research group leader at the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation, ETH Zurich, responsible for “A Literary Atlas of Europe”. In 2013 she founded her own company, specialized on cultural mediation, producing maps, exhibitions, festivals, digital platforms, radio plays, theatre performances etc. Besides academic publications she wrote a number of non-fiction books for a wider audience for example  Lake Lucerne and Mount Gotthard – like you have never seen this landscape before (2016).

The IG Leseförderung was founded in 2017 by Barbara Piatti (see above), Claudio Miozzari (historian) and Christian Stauffenegger (graphic designer) with the intention to develop playful and unconventional approaches to reading promotion. In 2018/19 the pilot project “Die grosse LeseLiebe” has been implemented, officially supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture and promoted by media partners with a large range. The project focused on teenagers: In quizzes and events the project brought together literary texts about love with the current emotional realities of young people.

Laeseforeningen / The Reading Society

Mette Steenberg

Mette is Managing Director and Chairman of the Reading Society, was trained Reading Facilitator in England in 2009 at The Reader Organization. Since 2010, Mette has been responsible for developing and facilitating reading guide education in Denmark. Mette has a research background in literature and semiotics.

Laseforeningen (The Danish Reading Society) is a Danish non-for-profit voluntary organization developing and implementing Shared Reading groups across society, currently delivering 100 reading groups for people from various background, mostly lonely elderly people, and young vulnerable adults as well as socially marginalized groups (immigrants and people suffering from poor mental health) and others living at the margins of society. Finally as a number of open mixed group all over the country meet weekly in settings such as libraries and other cultural institutions.

The volunteers (approx. 130) are organized in a reading guide programme organized locally in the 3 major municipalities (Kbh, Odense, Aarhus) receiving training, supervision and ongoing support from a local organizer. In addition, seminars and workshops on topics related to facilitation, literature, and target groups are organized nationally. 

The organization was founded by Mette Steenberg, a literary scholar from the University of Aarhus, who now runs the daily management. The Reading Society continues to work in close collaboration with research and are currently engaged in developing an Empowerment programme for young vulnerable adults (From Participant to Reader Leader) together with researchers from AU, and a programme for men in the transition from work life to retirement with researcher from SDU.

Dr. Josef Raabe Slovensko

Mária Zelenková

Publishing house Dr. Josef Raabe Slovensko, s.r.o. was established in 1999 and is a member of the international Klett Group. Our company’s mission is to support the development of education system. Our main goal is to improve the overall quality of the Slovak education system in the field of teaching, didactics, and entrepreneurship. The company has proved to be a leader in the field of education and training, by providing a dynamic development of tailor-made activities and a portfolio of products and services that actively respond to the demands and perceptions of current and future school leaders and staff, as well as the digitalisation of the market.
We are specialised in development of targeted workbooks and handbooks, aimed at headmasters, teachers and other school staff. The company organises regular educational workshops for teachers that are accredited by the Ministry of Education in Slovakia.

Dr. Josef Raabe Slovakia cooperates with many state educational institutions as the Didactic-Pedagogic centre, which focuses on postgraduate education of teachers in cooperation with the State Pedagogical Institute, which is responsible for national curricula, educational programmes and standards in Slovak schools.

Our key research areas and activities are listed below:

  • Development of materials and products for headmasters;
  • Methodical and didactic manuals for teachers of primary and secondary schools;
  • Methodical materials for teachers in kindergartens;
  • Educational events for teachers and headmasters;
  • Organisation of international annual conferences on school education.

International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature

Paul Sopcak

Dr. Paul Sopcak is Coordinator of the Office of Student Conduct, Community Standards and Values, at MacEwan University in Canada, where he also teaches comparative literature and philosophy. His research interests include the empirical study of literature, empathy, restorative practices, phenomenology, and existential philosophy. He is an IIRP certified trainer of restorative conference facilitation, assistant editor for the journal Scientific Study of Literature and Member at Large of the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (Internationale Gesellschaft für Empirische Literaturwissenschaft; IGEL).

The aim of IGEL is to advance empirical literary research through interdisciplinary and international cooperation. The Society supports efforts to apply, or facilitate the application of, scientific methods to study of the structure and function of literature, especially its aesthetic function. Literature is broadly defined as all cultural artifacts that embody literary devices, such as narrative genre, stylistic variations, and figurative language. The domain includes novels, short stories, and poetry, but also theater, film, television, and digital media.

The International Association of Empirical Aesthetics

Thomas Jacobsen

Thomas Jacobsen, Professor of Experimental and Biological Psychology at Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany, is the author of publications in the area of (neurocognitive) psychology, including auditory processing, language, empirical aesthetics, and executive function. He was a Visiting Scholar in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, fellow of two McDonnell Summer Institutes in Cognitive Neuroscience, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna and the Freie Universität Berlin, and received the Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten Award of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA) in 2008.

The International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA) is an organization of researchers who use scientific methods to investigate aesthetic experience and aesthetic behavior in a wide variety of domains, including encounters with beauty, visual art, music, literature, film, theater, philosophy, and museum behavior. Our membership includes individuals from psychology, neuroscience, sociology, museology, art history, philosophy, musicology, and other domains. Currently IAEA has members in over 20 countries.

The Federation of European Literacy Associations

Máirín Wilson

Máirín Wilson is the Vice-Chairperson of the Federation of European Literacy Associations and a member of the Executive of the Literacy Association of Ireland. She has recently retired as a full-time Associate Professor on the Post-graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education, Learning Support and Special Education in Dublin City University, but continues to contribute to the course part-time. She also delivers a course on ‘Citizenship Within Wellbeing’ on the Professional Master’s in Education in Trinity College Dublin. She sits on the Board of Directors of Warrenmount Community Education Centre in Dublin.

Her special interests are in the areas of literacy (adolescent, adult and digital literacy), inclusive practice and teaching methodologies in literacy, numeracy and citizenship education. She is keenly interested in both initial teacher education and the continuing professional development of teachers to support and enable more effective teaching and learning.

FELA aims to contribute to improvements in literacy at all levels in member countries; promoting and developing empirical and theoretical research in Europe on the learning and teaching of literacy; developing education policies and contributing to the implementation of European recommendations on literacy; promoting the exchange of information and cooperating with member organisations and other organisations throughout the world concerning the learning and teaching of literacy.