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CultureCIVIC Team

Ayşe Erarslan, Goethe Institut Istanbul

Ayşe is an anthropologist, a civil society professional and a social entrepreneur. She engages with local, national and international stakeholders for the promotion of dialogue and participation, and for policy building and implementation. She develops collaborations and leads joint projects to strengthen culture and arts activities from a community and human rights-based perspective.

With an experience of over 10 years of involvement as a participant, expert and manager in civil society projects in Turkey, Ayşe believes producing and sharing arts and culture will have a curative and transformative power on both those who need it most and the whole community in Turkey. To this end, she works as the director of CultureCIVIC at Goethe-Institut Istanbul.

Nevra Arslantürk, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts
Project Coordinator

Nevra graduated from Koç University, Department of Business Administration in 2008. She started to work in the field of management and consultancy in the private sector. In 2013, she inclined to social science and completed her master’s degree at Galatasaray University, Department of Sociology (TUTİ). She wrote her master’s thesis in the field of food commons, in which she was already an activist. Her work was featured in the book Yaşamı Örgütleyen Deneyimler published last year, with the contribution of eleven female researchers. The book examines alternative structures such as solidarity economies from a gender perspective. She is the founding member of the ecology-based “Hayat Müşterek Inisiyatifi” and the initiative’s social enterprise, Mahalleden “Community-Based Food Sharing Platform”. She also organizes workshops for children in the fields of philosophy, creative drama, and ecology. Nevra, who loves to read, spends her pandemic days with book and movie clubs. While currently experiencing mind-opening readings with Bookchin; reading lost time in Proust's footsteps. Hesse, Le Guin, and Atwood are the writers that she always finds inspiration.

Gizem Bayıksel, Anadolu Kültür
Project Coordinator

Gizem Bayıksel was the festival coordinator and programmer of Pink Life QueerFest between 2012-2017, which she has been a part of since its establishment. In addition to serving as a jury member at festivals such as Berlin International Film Festival (Teddy Awards), Faroe Islands Minority Film Festival and IQMF Amsterdam, she prepared film programs with the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and Etiuda & Anima. From 2017 to September 2023, she was the director of film and video programming at Pera Museum. In the last 7 years, she has been involved in many projects as an expert and coordinator in the field of creative content creation.

Gizem has been working as a programmer, cinematographer and director in the film industry since 2010.

Tolga Güleç, Anadolu Kültür
Project Coordinator

Tolga completed his undergraduate studies in Johnson & Wales University, and worked in various fields such as content management, advertising and visual communication. After 2016, he continued to focus mainly on communication in civil society. After his first experience as a translator at NOOR-Nikon İstanbul Masterclass in Documentary Photography organised by Nikon, he began to work as a host and translator in various photography workshops as well as for programs such as Spaces of Culture and BAK. Tolga has worked as a photography instructor for youth in institutions and contributed to various photography publications. In 2019, he began working at Ofset Yapımevi in 2019 and gained experience in offset printing and artbook production during the 1.5 years he spent there. For the past decade, he has worked on silver-gelatin printing in his darkroom and he continues to contribute to the artistic practices of his fellow artists who use the same process.

Ceyda Özdemir Ertan, Goethe Institut Istanbul
Project Coordinator

Ceyda graduated from the German High School in Istanbul and studied International Relations at Istanbul University. For ten years, Ceyda worked in the private sector and had various managerial roles, two of which were in Germany. In 2013, she became the project coordinator of the German-Turkish Youth Bridge organization, whose Turkey office was hosted by the Community Volunteers Foundation. The Turkish National Agency nominated her to attend the Erasmus+ Training of Trainers program of SALTO Training and Cooperation Center and there she got formation on non-formal learning design. She has conducted, funded and facilitated many international projects on youth work, capacity building and learning through culture and arts.

Ceyda is an accredited trainer of Lewis Deep Democracy, a leadership and facilitation methodology developed in South Africa, after the apartheid regime. Being a facilitator and a Gestalt coach, she has expertise in non-violent team communication, conflict transformation, workshop design, self-development for leaders and facilitation of decision-making processes. 

As second university Ceyda studied Child Development and currently continues her education to become a Waldorf pedagogue.

Üstüngel İnanç, Goethe Institut Istanbul
Communications Coordinator

Üstüngel studied Dramaturgy and Critical Drama at Istanbul University. Between 1995 and 2010, he worked at the Theatre Festival, Istanbul Biennial and Media Relations departments at the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV). In 1998 and 1999, he was involved in international exhibitions such as Mediterranea - Tradition and Contemporary in CeramicsPropositions and İskorpit [Scorpionfish]. From 2007 to 2009, he was both the project coordinator for the Turkish Pavilion at Venice Biennale and the leader for IKSV’s international projects. From 2010 to 2015, Üstüngel was the press and public relations officer at Rampa, and for the next five years, he worked as the media and marketing coordinator at Arter.

He took part as an actor and crew member in the following theatre productions: Curtainman (AÇOK 1992), I Have No Friend (İstanbul Devlet Tiyatrosu 1992), Spring Awakening (Tiyatrokare 1994), Toad Stories (BİLSAK 1999), and Cotton Fields (Bagaj 2001).

Üstüngel is a passionate contemporary art and opera lover. He has a cat named Ajda.

Leyla Gümüş, Goethe Institut Istanbul
Finance Coordinator

After completing her studies in Asian and Cultural Sciences at the University of Bonn (Rheinische Friedrich-Wihelms-Universität) in Germany in 2017, Leyla came to Istanbul as an Erasmus+ student to study at Istanbul Bilgi University. At her first job as an administrative intern at the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre in Bonn, she took an active part in the organization of UNEVOC TVET Learning Forum and TVET Leadership Program in 2018. Between 2018 and 2020, she joined Germany’s leading volunteering organization, the Senior Expert Service (SES), Foundation of German Industry for International Cooperation, for their grant programmes in Mongolia. Meanwhile, she pursued a postgraduate degree for teaching German as a foreign language at the University of Bonn, and studied project management at the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Cologne. Leyla is interested in classical music, especially in concerts that take place in Beethoven’s hometown of Bonn. She loves traveling and discovering different cuisines of the world.

This page is published on 23 June 2021.
Last update: 5 October 2023