Strategic direction and management
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Prato Centre and Global Network Development)
Cecilia leads the strategic planning and direction of our centre's activities, with guidance from the Prato Board. She is also Associate Dean (International) of the Faculty of Arts. Cecilia played a key role in the centre’s establishment with its founding director, the late Emeritus Professor Bill Kent. She held the position of director of our centre 2012-2020. With a PhD in Renaissance history, she has held fellowships at Harvard University's Villa I Tatti and the European University Institute. Her publications include: The Italian Garden: Restoring a Renaissance Garden in Tuscany (co-edited with Narelle McAuliffe); Studies on Florence and the Italian Renaissance in Honour of F.W. Kent (co-edited with Peter Howard) and Rural Communities in Renaissance Tuscany. Contact Cecilia if your institution or organisation has a proposal for academic or industry collaboration with Monash University in Europe.
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Cathy has been the manager of our centre since 2011. You can contact Cathy if you wish to book the centre for an international conference or meeting, education program, or event. In addition to overseeing the centre's program of activities, Cathy also manages its general operations including human resources. If you wish to be considered for upcoming employment opportunities, forward Cathy your curriculum vitae and cover letter.
Academic programs, student services, and visual residency
Academic Programs and Internships Coordinator
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Loredana is the key contact point for all academic programs at our centre. Contact Loredana if you are interested in either running or attending a course here.Interested in our internship program? Loredana will help place you if you are a student, or she will find a Monash intern with the perfect profile for your organisation.
Lecturer, Italian Studies
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Samuele teaches intensive in-country Italian Studies units for the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts. He also teaches our Parliamo! not-for-credit course, giving students and staff some Italian language and culture basics. Samuele joined Monash in 2010. He has published in both English and Italian on queer and performance studies, feminist and lesbian theatre, and, more recently, feminist queer theories and anti-authoritarian political thought. His post-doctoral independent research has focused specifically on the connections between feminist queer theories and interdisciplinary, critical pedagogies to encompass sexuality and citizenship education, activist performances, and cultural and educational exchanges.
Mariagiulia Da Riva
Student Engagement and Support
Mariagiulia coordinates our community engagement initiatives. Born and raised in Prato, with a background in foreign languages, Mariagiulia will help you navigate the local scene to maximise your overseas study experience. If you’re a student coming to Prato, she’ll put you in contact with locals through initiatives such as Buon Appetito! family meals and our homestay program. Mariagiulia also coordinates our Visual Residency program, connecting our artist-in-residence with the local arts scene.
Heather supports our students during their time in Prato, using her background in university admissions and more recently in student services and housing in Florence. She will help you meet locals, and even learn a little Italian, through our Conversation Exchange initiative. Originally from Scotland, Heather is a language graduate with a passion for Italy and travel so she’s always happy to share travel ideas during your stay here.
Research, conferences and school programs
Senior Research Officer
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Matteo is also an Adjunct Research Fellow of the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics. He worked on the Youth in the City research project in Prato. Awarded a PhD by Monash University, Matteo’s research interests include how cultural producers collaborate with Indigenous, migrant and multiethnic communities to produce transmedia and transcultural counter-narratives of belonging and identity. His work has been published in Studies in Documentary Film and Fulgor and he recently collaborated on the production of the Australian Indigenous Film and Television online knowledge-sharing platform. His first monograph Legacies of Indigenous Resistance was published by Peter Lang Oxford in 2019.
Senior Events Officer
Sarah coordinates our centre’s vibrant calendar of events. If you're organising a research workshop, conference or other event, Sarah will be your key contact to ensure it runs smoothly. She also coordinates our Australian secondary school study tour program. Originally from England, Sarah has been living in Italy for over 35 years and has a wealth of local knowledge and international event management experience.
Services and facilities
Francesca will help you find the right accommodation in Prato, whether you're a student looking for a suitable long-term option, a conference organiser who wants advice on hotels or residences, or a Monash visiting staff member who may be interested in staying in our apartments located on the third floor. Francesca’s extensive experience in the tourism industry means that you are in good hands.
Maria Donata Batisti
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Donata works on facility-related projects at our centre.A graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Florence, she specialises in interior design and renovation.
Finances and Administration
Leonardo is responsible for various aspects of our centre's administration, especially finances. If you're organising a conference or event at our centre, Leonardo will provide you with on-the-ground assistance and help you liaise with local suppliers to secure the best price for services or products.
Andrea will help you with anything IT related you might need during your time at our centre, such as connecting to wifi, configuring your presentation for a conference, printing a document, or hardware and software issues.
Networks and Systems Administrator
Leonardo manages all IT related matters at our centre, from the servers and network devices to computer hardware and software trouble-shooting. He also maintains our audio-visual facilities and keeps our IT systems secure. Contact Leonardo if you are organising a conference or course and need advice on our technical facilities.
Monica will welcome you at reception with a warm smile. Coming from a career in customer care and hospitality, most recently as a hotel receptionist in the heart of Florence, Monica will help you with anything you might need during your stay.