I am a cultural manager, researcher and freelance writer-editor-translator from the Netherlands, based in Berlin. I am co-founder of the upcoming Independent Curators Lab & Network Berlin, and editor-in-chief of the CityToolBox platform. Moreover, I am on the board of the Nikolaiviertel e.V. as project coordinator. In the past I have initiated and curated a number of arts and community projects, such as ‘Auf einen Kaffee: Begegnungen im Nikolaiviertel Berlins’, Bonne Vie Berlin (2018); ‘ART as/is SOCIAL: On engagement in contemporary cultural theory & practice’, ZK/U Center for Art and Urbanistics Berlin (2017); and ‘Lasting Wear: Sustainable design in the fashion industry’, Radboud Honours Academy Nijmegen (2013-2015). Furthermore, I contributed to a number of publications, among which ‘I can’t work like this’ (2017), edited by curator Joanna Warsza. This website shows a selection of the projects and initiatives I have been working with.
The Independent Curators Lab and Network Berlin (ICLNB) is a collaborative initiative geared at the culture of independent curatorial practice in Berlin. It is imagined to be a platform for the circulation of practice-based knowledge between Berlin-based curators, a conceptual (and hopefully in the future physical) laboratory to develop a discourse around the theoretical and practical themes, questions and challenges regarding independent curatorial work in the city, as well as on a transnational level.
ICLNB looks at the diverse augmented work processes of Curating, Organizing, Producing, Managing, Mediating and Conceptualizing, among other activities in the art world. The project thematizes the nature and efficiency of constituting meaning through curatorial work. Bringing to the forefront the (at times isolated yet collective) processual labour of these activities, we aim to create a space for meta-reflection on the practice of curatorship in the specific context of Berlin’s art scene.
Through our personal experiences working and living in Berlin, we have observed an increasing necessity among cultural managers for a network and support system that is neither institutional nor academic. We aim to activate the vast and rich field of initiatives in the city and create opportunities for the community to collect learning experiences and partnerships. The content of ICLNB is essentially shaped by the needs and desires of its participants and public, combining theoretical reflection with the confrontation of practical challenges. What are the wishes and demands of independent curators in Berlin? What are the questions, topics and issues that our community would like to see discussed? The situation of the independent curator is not an individual struggle but a structural subject that needs to be addressed collectively – solidarity as a response to solitude. We perceive a need to discuss themes such as Political Representation, Financial Stability, Exchange of Resources, Alternative Economies, Social Capital, the Relationship of Work and Labour, Connections between Institutions and the Independent, the Formal Definition of the Curator as a Profession, the Task of the Curator, the Theory of Curating, to name a few of the most pressing matters.
ICLNB essentially consists of a series of events that address questions and concerns regarding contemporary curatorial practice in the city, and shape an active community in the process. These will appear in different existing spaces, with an optimistic prospect of establishing our own project space on the long run. The focus is on active, personal exchange in a live setting, allowing people to connect with each other, find solutions to real problems and challenges together, and potentially start collaborations. As our core formats we aspire to create and offer Meetups, Curator Labs, Reading / Working Groups, Political Outreach, Panel Discussions, Online Tool Sets and a Self-Organized Publication preserving the knowledge that happens and comes into being in the events we organize. However, we imagine the ICLNB platform to be constantly extending its margins as the network grows, and we are eager to invite both existing and new partner formats that work in a similar spirit, both within Berlin and across different cities and cultures, for collaboration.
This project aspires to be a sustainable yet dynamic platform and network for Berlin-based curators to work with and through the theoretical and practical implications of curatorial labour in the city. ICLNB reflects the diversity of curatorial practices (in plural), moving beyond common understandings of the mediation of arts and culture outside, and in relationship to artistic and cultural institutions. Thematizing curatorship as such, what we propose is a curatorial practice on the topic of curating, a form of metacurating – To Curate Curating.
In the spirit of the historical Parisian Salons – a format that is being quoted more and more often nowadays – the Independent Curators Lab and Network Berlin (ICLNB) launches a new, ongoing format: The Living Room Sessions.
As self-organized cultural managers we tend to work in a variety of localities: studios, co-working spaces, galleries, museums, art institutions, project spaces, libraries, archives, and of course our living rooms. Indeed, independent curatorship seems to be an inherently nomadic profession. Curatorial practice requires a constant oscillation between parasitizing and welcoming.
In line with this existence, and both out of necessity and out of principle, ICLNB is conceptualized as a nomadic platform itself. Simultaneously a parasite and a host to the Berlin independent art scene, we ask existing spaces to welcome us so that we can welcome our network.
One way in which we intend to do so is through the format of the Living Room Sessions: an ongoing series of informal meetings in the living rooms of our team and members. Making use of the intimacy and vulnerability involved in hosting people in one’s own home, each Living Room Session creates a safe space to share personal experiences. In a moderated discussion, topics such as process-based curating, the structure of curatorial work, curatorial nomadism, how to make one’s choices, the creative process of the curator, the struggle for funding, and how to plan ahead will be covered.
For more information and collaboration, email email@example.com.
(c) picture: Sapir Huberman
The Nikolaiviertel e.V. is the association for small business owners, hospitality, residents and sponsors of Berlin’s historical Nikolai district. Our mission is to maintain and stimulate the cultural, architectural and infrastructural identity of the Nikolaiviertel as the origin of Berlin, and to make its history accessible for the inhabitants and visitors of the city. Our assignment lies in the maintenance of the Nikolaiviertel as Berlin’s historical birthplace, the reinforcement of its image as historical but also young and lively neighbourhood for living, working and leisure, and the sponsoring of trade, business and culture in our urban district. The association is also representative of the Nikolaivierel’s interests towards media and politics.
→ Visit the Nikolaiviertel e.V. website
Currently, I am coordinating the new project ‘”Israel ist reell”: Das ehemalige Kaufhaus im Zentrum’ (working title) that looks into the multi-layered, heroic history of the former department store Kaufhaus Israel, which used to be on the corner of the Spandauer Strße and the Rathausstraße, and the Jewish traders family Israel. For more information and collaboration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my role as project coordinator on the Board of the Nikolaiviertel e.V., I have initiated and curated the cultural programme and community project ‘Auf einen Kaffee: Begegnungen im Nikolaiviertel Berlins’, at Bonne Vie Berlin (2018). In close collaboration with local business owners, neighbours and visitors, we organized an event series in the historical heart of Berlin. Bonne Vie Berlin was opened in 2009 as a shop selling high quality, artistic and hand-crafted tiles and ceramics. Over the years, our offer came to include all sorts of creative products that have been made and collected with great care and passion. But that’s not all. As a cafe and bakery, Bonne Vie also grew out to be a place of encounter for local business owners, neighbours and visitors, to relax and discuss over a cup of coffee and a piece of homemade cake. Throughout those nine years, we have observed how people are brought together within our walls time and again. We would like to actively extend the possibilities to do so. The ‘Auf einen Kaffee’ project is imagined to be just that: a series of encounters through cultural events such as live music, readings, discussions, and exhibitions. Against the backdrop of the historic Nikolai district, with its richness of (hi)stories, we aspire to tell the stories of the district and its users, by encouraging local creativity and reflection. The speed and tensions of life in the city can be overwhelming, we notice that day by day. In the Nikolai district, with its historical ambience preserved by the recent monumental protection rule issued by the Landesdenkmalamt, it is almost as if time stood still. We would like to make use of this by creating moments to breathe and reflect together with the many creative people in the area.
→ Visit the project website
CityToolBox.net is an online learning platform encouraging young people to take action in the city. It provides them with the practical ‘know-how’ to become the protagonists in transforming the city – according to the CityToolBox’s motto ‘CIY – Change it yourself’
CityToolBox is addressing future professionals and dedicated citizens to gather practical experience on bottom-up activities. It facilitates knowledge exchange, shows the spectrum of possibilities and empowers people to become agents of change and self-employed protagonists in the ‘urban arena’. Through exemplary tools interested citizens learn from step by step guidelines and apply them in their local context.
– newest and up to date practices of urban change
– networking possibilities
– an exchange of concrete experiences
– uploading and sharing of own tools
– concrete steps for an effective urban action
– tools that address critical urban issues
– tools that have a constructive impact paying respect to universal human rights
→ Visit the CityToolBox website
I am available on short and longer term basis for writing, editing and translating services in English, German and Dutch, particularly for projects and organizations in the fields of arts and culture, design, community work, urban development, and so on. In my work I put great value in close collaboration and communication with the client, and a thorough understanding of and sensitivity for their purpose and discourse. Interested? Please send me your inquiry here.