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ArtEvolution Jury

An experienced international jury evaluated the applications for the ArtEvolution programme. After shortlisting eighteen entries, interviews were conducted with the applicants to select the final eight candidates. Here you can get an overview of the five jurors:

 © Alia Haju

Frederike Berje

Frederike Berje is the Head of Arts for the MENA region at the Goethe-Institut in Cairo since May 2022. She studied Geography and Management of Cultural and Non-Profit Organizations in Mainz, Bonn and Paris.  After a one-year Arabic course in Jordan, she wrote her Master’s thesis on the Syrian cultural scene in the diaspora. From 2017, Berje joined the Goethe-Institut in Lebanon and afterwards transferred to the strategy department in Munich. During her time at the Goethe-Institut, she oversaw the cultural production fund for Syrian artists Laboratory of Arts aswell as the project UnControlled Gestures II, a one-year program for dancers and choreographers from the MENA region, organized in cooperation with HAU Hebbel am Ufer.

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Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi

Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi is a member of the Brussels theatre company Dito'Dito and dramaturgical advisor for the curation of the festival program of Tanz im August in Berlin in 2023. Since 2009, she has been a programer at the Halles de Schaerbeek and has contributed to the visibility of contemporary artists from the Arab world. She has worked on the KVS, an artistic project with the Brussels City Theatre. In 2012, she also programed the Moroccan contemporary art season, called Daba Maroc. Since 2014, Hadj Benchelabi has been associate curator for On Marche, an international contemporary dance festival in Marrakech. She was also associated with D-CAF, a multidisciplinary festival in Cairo for the Arab Art Focus (2016-2018), and co-curator of the first edition of the Tashweesh  Festival, with the Goethe-Institut Brüssel and the Beursschouwburg. Furthermore, in 2022 Hadj Benchelabi was a curator and dramaturge of the Halaqat and Un-Controlled Gesture program, initiated by the Goethe-Institut.

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Maral Mikirditsian

Maral Mikirditsian is the Deputy Director of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) since June 2021. She holds a Master's degree in Design and Public Spaces from the ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering. Mikirditsian has worked on various cultural projects, mainly in Barcelona, where she led community-based art projects and exhibitions. In 2017, she moved to Armenia to lead the TUMO Studios educational program. Before moving to Armenia, Mikirditsian co-founded and managed Studio Safar in Beirut.

 © Armin Smailovic

Nora Hertlein

Nora Hertlein is the curator for international programs at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg since 2018. She holds degrees in Theatre, Film, Media Studies and Romance Studies from the University of Vienna and the University of Bologna. After years of working as an assistant director (most notably at the Burgtheater Vienna), she expanded her scope to encompass international festival production. She worked as a production manager and tour director for the Nature Theater of Oklahoma company (New York), for Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller (Oslo/Berlin), for the Salzburg Festival, and for Romeo Castellucci at the Schaubühne Berlin. In 2015-2018 Hertlein lived in the US where she got her Master´s degree in Social and Cultural Analysis as a Fulbright Scholar at New York University. During that time, she consulted for Thalia Theater’s 2017 Theater der Welt festival and Berliner Festspiele as a curatorial scout and production broker.

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Louna Sbou

Louna Sbou is the Director of Oyoun, the antidisciplinary arts centre in Berlin-Neukölln centering queer-feminist, decolonial and class-critical perspectives. Her lived experience as a queer Muslim and first generation immigrant led to an unconventional journey exploring contemporary curatorship and non-Western approaches to collective making. Louna curated numerous exhibitions, performances and festivals incl. Un:Imaginable (2022/23) in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina with Hope Azeda, Moudjahidate* (2022) with Nadja Makhlouf, Maya Inés Touam and Sarah El Hamed; as well as Backbone (2021) with Mazen Khaddaj. Furthermore, she was the director of be’kech in Germany (2016-20), independent curator in Japan (2016-19) and program director at Station in Lebanon (2013-15).