Interview with Sophia Karimi (Goethe-Institut)

In November we introduced you the new President of EUNIC Netherlands, Nina Hauer, and it’s time now to complete the round of presentations announcing the latest acquisition of the new Board of our Cluster: Sophia Karimi 🇩🇪🇳🇱🇪🇺

Sophia is a Program Manager at the Goethe-Institut in Amsterdam, and has recently been elected Vice-President of our Team. Passionate about European culture and literature since her years in Academia, Sophia took part to countless projects of EUNIC, always striving to ensure the smoothest and most successful cooperation among artists and cultural institutes in the country.

Are you curious to know how Sophia experienced the co-organization of EUNIC NL initiatives in the last years? Read EUNIC’s monthly interview, and get to know the freshest new entry of our Board!

1) What role do you play in your institute/embassy?

I am a program manager at the Goethe-Institut in Amsterdam, which means that I manage and realize a broad variety of very different and diverse cultural projects. My work has two sides: the visible side of curating, producing, and communicating cultural events, and the invisible side of connecting people, institutions, and communities in local and global cultural contexts. Our cultural projects are always realized in a collaborative context, thus establishing and maintaining these connections is a very important task I take care of. It truly gives me such joy to introduce, for example, an artist to another institution, and then both are enabled to realize something new together!  By making use of our cultural infrastructures we can play our part in facilitating meaningful things to happen. During the latest months of this ongoing pandemic, I have also realized even more how much we need community and care in our cultural scenes, so I always ask myself when starting a new project: What does everyone involved need in order to feel comfortable and share their best side and work?

2) How do you contribute to EUNIC?

Over the years I have been actively involved in several EUNIC projects, for example the European Literature Night and, recently, EuropeReadr. I am also taking part in internal processes of transformation; for instance, in our EUNIC NL workgroup of diversity and antiracism we were able to organize, among the others, an anti-racism training. We aim for intersectionality, care, and diversity to play an always bigger role in all our EUNIC projects. A topic we will focus on in the near future is fair payment for artists, accessibility, and caring infrastructures. Since this December, I also took on the role of Vice-President of the EUNIC NL cluster, therefore I am now part of the board, joining an amazing all women’s team!

3) What is the best aspect about being a EUNIC Netherlands’ member?

The community and people, for sure! Our meetings are a lot of fun. This network offers such a variety of perspectives on how to think about certain topics. A lot of national cultural institutions went through a paradigm shift in recent years – such as the Goethe-Institut –  thinking about topics of civic engagement and social justice through art and culture, rather than programming from a merely national perspective. In this way, it is really valuable to have a meaningful ongoing exchange between us, and realize projects together in a collaborative process.

Thank you, Sophia Karimi, for letting us looking at European cultural collaboration through your eyes. We wish you all the best in your new role as Vice-President of EUNIC Netherlands. Looking forward to the projects of 2022!