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CultureCIVIC Team

Ayşe Utku 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.

Anıl Derkuş, Anadolu Kültür
Project Coordinator

Anıl is responsible for the project’s grant management and capacity-building activities and strategies. He graduated in 2014 from Dokuz Eylül University’s Public Administration Department and received his MA degree in 2018 in Political Science and International Relations from Yıldız Technical University, with his dissertation entitled “Rethinking Social Movements with Sociology of Emotions: Political Possibilities of Mourning and Melancholia in the Representation Dilemma”. That same year, with financial support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Anıl also published his first book Nomadic Feelings, focusing on the everyday experiences and emotions of refugee youth in Turkey.

Between 2016 and 2018, Anıl worked as a research and policy coordinator at Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG) where he led and carried out several research and policy projects, including the multinational Global Action Local Empowerment project on behalf of the Swedish Youth Council (LSU). Between 2019–2021, he was the monitoring and evaluation specialist of the international Towards Inclusive Education for Refugee Children project. Currently, as a PhD candidate in sociology at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. Anıl continues his academic studies on the sociology of emotion, power relations, image, representation, cinema, and contemporary art.

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.

Ezgi Kan, Goethe Institut Istanbul
Project Coordinator

In 2016, Ezgi graduated from Boğaziçi University, Department of Political Science and International Relations. She completed her master's degree in Sabancı University Cultural Studies program in August 2020. In her thesis study, she examined how the dilemma between “voluntarism” and “professionalism” in civil society has an impact on social workers’ burnout, well-being and precarious working conditions. For 5 years at the Hrant Dink Foundation, where she began working in 2016, she participated in various projects for research, reporting, and project coordination related to hate speech and discrimination. In 2021, she worked as a Grant Manager for the Norwegian Helsinki Committee's Eurasian Civil Society Program, which aims to support and strengthen the capacities of institutions and individuals working in the field of human rights in Turkey. She continues her work in the field of well-being in civil society.

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
Administrative 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: 19 December 2022