In addition to being experienced professionals with substantial university-level teaching backgrounds and advanced degrees, all HISA’s core faculty members are working artists and writers, currently publishing and exhibiting.
The fundamental essence of the program is to provide opportunities for students to discover and develop their individual talents in a pressure-free environment. The HISA faculty encourages students to express their ideas and opinions in an open and unselfconscious way and work at their own pace. Students will be able to work in small groups, often individually with teachers and artists who are able to devote their full attention to their creative and intellectual development. Each teacher is dedicated to making students' study abroad experience a memorable and productive one.
Barry Tagrin - Founding Director
BARRY TAGRIN, the founding Director of the HISA program, leads discussions in both the Philosophy and Creative Writing programs. He holds a Masters Degree with honors in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and a bachelors degree in Political Science from Cal State Long Beach.
During the seventies he was a member of the San Francisco Poetry Workshop, a unique grouping of the major poets of the day where an open (and often radical) exchange of ideas helped him expand his poetic themes and critically examine his work. A writer of direct, complex and emotionally driven poetry, his poems illuminate a deeply romantic and loved world of interpersonal relations; tenderness, loyalty, and tolerance lay at the base of his human ideals.
His teaching years began in Japan, with an internship that included a country-wide lecture series on America’s post-modern poets. From there on, a life of travel and discovery led him across the planet for some twenty years. Teaching for a living, believing in the dream of learning and sharing knowledge, he lived and worked in Pamplona, Spain, at the University of Navarra; was language and literature coordinator for the Texas International Educational Consortium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; a Fulbright scholar for American studies in Egypt, and four years with Texas A&M in Koriyama, Japan, as senior coordinator for social and linguistics studies.
Domestically settled on Paros island from 1981, he envisioned an experiential study abroad program that could benefit students in their most sound, insightful selves. His latest book of poems, Collage of the Soul, is now available on Amazon.com.
Ioannis Georganas - Archeology and Culture
Ioannis Georganas, the Academic Director, is a prehistoric/proto-historic archaeologist, and holds an MA and a PhD from the University of Nottingham. Before joining HISA, Ioannis worked for the British School at Athens, the Foundation of the Hellenic World, and Lake Forest College.
His research interests include the study of burial customs and the construction of identities in Early Iron Age Greece, and weapons and warfare in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Aegean.
Ioannis is also an active field archaeologist and he has participated in excavations and field surveys in Greece and Bulgaria.
He is President of the Athens-Greece Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and Secretary of the Society of Ancient Military Historians.
George Crane - Creative Writing and Film
Writer, journalist, editor and world traveler holds a Bachelors from the University of Illinois in English Literature and Art History and a Masters in Creative writing from San Francisco State University. He has taught at Manhattanville College, University of Indianapolis and has given seminars and readings around the world (New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Athens, Paris, Prague, Bucharest and at the 2008 International Writers Conference in Bulgaria.) He is author of two internationally acclaimed memoirs, Bones of the Master: A Journey to Secret Mongolia (Random House/Bantam Books) and Beyond the House of the False Lama: Travels with Monks Nomads and Outlaws (Harper Collins). Besides nonfiction, he has translated poetry from the Chinese, A Thousand Pieces of Snow; and an upcoming novel, Never Been Killed, Never Been Eaten: A False Memoir (HarperCollins). Crane’s screenplay, an adaptation of his book, Bones of the Master, has been optioned and is currently in pre-production by Random Acts Entertainment. His writing has been translated into 16 languages.
Sigrid Health - Women's Studies and Theater
After graduate school, Sigrid Heath began her career in the mid-70s in a regional theater movement with many notable actors and other skilled actors, exploring a wide variety of styles in plays by Chekhov, Ibsen, Mamet, Moliere, and Williams. She performed in a variety of Shakespeare’s plays helmed by directors whose approaches encompassed the traditional and the wildly iconoclastic. She performed Off- and Off-Off Broadway in countless experimental new works, and on Broadway, she appeared opposite Liv Ullman and George Hearn in I Remember Mama. Chosen by audition to work with the late Mary Tarcai, who had received her training directly from Konstantin Stanislavski, Heath received a firm foundation in Stanislavski’s method for acting and script analysis. Tarcai also introduced her to the work of Michael Chekhov, nephew of playwright Anton Chekhov. Between acting jobs in New York, Heath coached actors in audition technique and character analysis. She soon expanded her experience into workshops that were popular for their unique interpretation of Stanislavski and Michael Chekhov’s exercises with a specific, individualized approach. She was founder and artistic director of the theater company housed in the historic Byrdcliffe Theater. It was here that her first full length play was produced, an adaptation of Pirandello’s At The Gate, with a live jazz ensemble onstage. Wingbone, Heath’s monodrama about aviatrix Beryl Markham, was initially produced by Academy Award nominee (for Philadelphia), screenwriter Ron Nyswaner. For that work (along with her body of plays featuring strong, eccentric women) she was the 2001 recipient of the prestigious Berrilla Kerr award.
She has taught numerous seminars in acting technique, acting as ritual, and conducted seminars in playwriting in a variety of situations including Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. At HISA, Heath’s pedagogical approach is more that of mentor than lecturer, engaging students in a conversation towards self-knowledge within the framework of the study, be it ancient or contemporary Greek poetry, the work of the classic Greek tragedians, Shakespeare, the function of mythology in culture, or the practical work involved in acting in or directing a play.
Neva Bergemann - Painting and Drawing
Neva Bergemann is a painter and printmaker. She holds a Master's degree in art education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing from the University of Minnesota. Neva has been a working artist and teacher for over twenty years, exhibiting her artwork internationally as well as in various regions of the United States. Her confident and sensitive studio manner allows her students to advance at their own pace. She is adept at holding classes for beginners as well as advanced students, arranging for their progress in the areas of oil painting, watercolor, drawing, printmaking and clay. An accomplished artist with a wide range of experience, Neva enjoys working and teaching in a variety of mediums. Appreciating change, and creative energy, she is flexible and considers choice of medium to be as important as each idea or image being created, aware that watercolor, monotype or oil all have their own expressive qualities. She believes too in the certain beauty and strength of a simple line etch, as well as enjoying the layered, translucent features of an oil painting and the distinctive quality of light and absorption which results from the markings of a monotype print. In addition to her teaching in the studio, her classes are held outside at times in the breathtaking Greek landscapes of Paros.
Maria Drakaki - Photography and Environment
Maria Drakaki, professional photographer and teacher, studied at the prestigious LEICA Academy. An activist and socially conscious artist, she began her career as a news photographer, turning later to the dramatic lure of the pure image in black and white. In addition to her group exhibitions at the LEICA Academy in 2003-2005, her exhibit “Ore Mines” was presented on the island of Serifos in 2005 and her impressive solo exhibition entitled “On the Vehicle of Time” appeared a year later in 2006. Her versatility, sense of composition, and acute relationship to the objects of her imagination, as well as a professional predilection for memorial and sacred images, is evident in the depth of emotion and poignant characterization of all her work. Of her natural and spiritual feelings , she says: “Photography is a journey of the self. One is sitting in the driver's seat, keys in hand, the eye sees the clouds running across the sky & from the half-open windows, the wind invites the soul upon a lengthy and undetermined journey… of no particular destination, all made of dreams.” Check out her photographs on her website at drakakimaria.com
Yuko Yamauchi - Student Affairs
Yuko Yamauchi, Associate Director and Student Affairs Coordinator, is a graduate of Hokkaido University Medical School in Sapporo, Japan, and a certified occupational therapist. For six years she worked in Rehabilitation Therapy for the Red Cross Hospital in northern Hokkaido. Recently earning her degree in Psychology from University of Indianapolis, she plays an important role in HISA’s program both as counselor and coordinator of student affairs. She also oversees the orientation and cultural excursion modules so integral to HISA’s vision of social and creative immersion into the Greek island atmosphere. Her liaison duties include arranging visits by international artists and writers for workshops and lectures, as well as coordinating all the necessary needs for HISA’s Faculty Led Study Abroad Program. She also designed and maintained HISA’s Kyoto, Japan, summer Art and Culture course.
Kirsten Koromilas - Program Coordinator
Kirsten holds an MFA in Painting from Western Connecticut State University and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. She has spent the last 6 years teaching fine arts at WCSU, CCFC, and most recently the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Concurrent with her teaching duties, she is in her second year of PhD studies in Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School. Adept across the curriculum in studio work and portfolio assembly, her artistic concepts include an awareness that artists today are working in an uncertain, ever-changing, in process world. Her teaching philosophy embraces then an experimental environment where the artist’s instincts feed essentially into one’s creative spirit. Prior to her teaching experience, she lived and worked in Los Angeles as a professional photographer and make-up artist in the entertainment industry. A progressive activist at heart, with a humane sense of ambition, she then moved to Connecticut where she founded a post-mastectomy boutique, serving women as a Certified Mastectomy Fitter in a dignified sanctuary of her creation. Seeking always a creative, non-traditional and deeply impactful life, she has traveled widely and spent the last two decades visiting her husband’s family in Northern Greece.