Mission, Point of Departure and Principles


artasfoundation is an operating foundation that initiates its own projects and finances its work through commissions, endowments and private donations.

The foundation has its seat in Switzerland and maintains an office and a competence centre for art in the contexts of conflict mediation and peacebuilding. Through this centre, the foundation has created an international outreach. In addition, artasfoundation is establishing the Centre for Art and Peacebuilding together with Zurich University of the Arts.

artasfoundation initiates and organises art projects for and with people in regions affected by wars or violent conflicts. Every year, the artasfoundation team conducts several such projects in collaboration with artists and local partner organisations.

artasfoundation also supports diplomatic conflict mediation, and mediation processes of civil society and governmental or international institutions through specific artistic interventions.

artasfoundation conducts general research on artistic work in the context of conflict mediation and peacebuilding and thus aims to provide grounded support for its own art projects.

artasfoundation networks artistic initiatives that relate to its field of activity and facilitates international exchanges of experience.

The foundation also presents its work outside the narrower conflict regions, fostering public discussion at regular events.

Point of Departure

Art Has the Potential to Build Peace
- Art is a fundamental element of human existence and social coexistence. Its role should therefore be recognised and valued in humanitarian and peacebuilding operations following violent conflicts.
- Art offers a specific way of relating to the world. It invites us to let go of utilitarian calculations, perceive the seemingly familiar with greater subtlety, and abandon familiar categorisations. Accordingly, it creates new perspectives for conflict transformation.
- Art allows us to communicate experiences that are difficult to put into words. It can bring together people of very different cultural backgrounds.
- Creating a space beyond everyday concerns, art invites us to experiment with new ways of acting. Artworks stimulate discussion and exchange of opinions between people with different worldviews.
- By engaging in art, marginalised and underprivileged people can achieve dignity and personal recognition and can make themselves seen and heard.
- In order for art to develop this potential, it must not be subordinated to any fixed goals or purposes – no matter how good the intentions might be. It needs spaces of trust in which to play and to create, without guaranteed outcomes or proven effects.
- The above applies to artistic work of all categories and traditions: visual arts, music, dance, drama, film, literature, etc.

Human Rights Apply Universally
- Human rights, with their emphasis on the fundamental freedom and equality of dignity and rights of every human being, are the guiding reference for cross-cultural international cooperation.
- Respect for these rights creates the best foundation for the flourishing of any community.
- The commitment to human rights is a central area of international cooperation. This involves mutual and respectful engagement where customs and current practices conflict with these rights.

Cooperation on Equal Footing
- In order to overcome global as well as local challenges in a sustainable way, it is essential that people of different origins work together on an equal footing.
- Against the backdrop of weighty historical and current relations of domination and exploitation, every contemporary collaboration is faced with the task of seeking new ways of fair exchange and mutual respect.

Guiding Principles

artasfoundation is a non-profit organisation. It offers its supporters concrete options for direct, meaningful engagement. It enables people in regions affected by war to have experiences and encounters that support them in overcoming violence. It aims to strengthen those who work for peaceful coexistence in such regions.

artasfoundation works independently in terms of politics and content. It is not neutral with regard to the values that guide it; rather, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights forms the basis for its work.

artasfoundation publishes its sponsors and ensures that they provide their support without political ties or constraints.

artasfoundation focuses on socially engaged art from various disciplines and regions of origin, and gives artists the freedom they need for their work.

artasfoundation cooperates with local cultural organisations in conflict-affected regions and strives for transparent mutual exchange.

Within the framework of its art projects, artasfoundation seeks to promote encounters and exchanges between people from conflict-affected and privileged contexts.

The artasfoundation team is directly involved in the foundation’s projects on site and reflects on its own work according to criteria of conflict sensitivity.

artasfoundation is committed to the sustainability of its projects by promoting long-term collaborations between artists and creating a framework for mutual learning.

In order to establish artistic approaches to peacebuilding in the field of the arts and international cooperation, artasfoundation seeks exchange with educational institutions, especially universities.

Working across conflict regions

In order to work with people and institutions on different sides of an unresolved conflict, artasfoundation refrains from commenting on local political issues, territorial claims, or the validity of particular historical narratives. The Foundation underlines that emphasises that its use of names and titles particularly in regards to conflict regions should not be understood as implying any form of recognition or non-recognition by the foundation or as having any other political connotation whatsoever. 

More information


The Board of Trustees determines the guidelines and priorities of the foundation’s work and supervises the work of the office. It ensures the financial stability of the foundation, determines its structure and is responsible for its annual reports and financial statements. The Board of Trustees elects the President and Vice President of the foundation and works on an honorary basis.

The Presidium consists of two members of the foundation’s Board of Trustees, which appoints them. They act as representatives of the foundation. The president manages the foundation’s board and acts as its official representative. The Vice Presidency is an operational position.

Daniel Baumann
Art historian, curator, director of the Kunsthalle Zürich

Daniel Baumann is a Swiss art historian and curator. From 1996 to 2014 he was curator of the Adolf Wölfli Foundation at the Kunstmuseum Bern. In 2004, he began a multi-year series of exhibitions in Tbilisi, Georgia. In 2008, he founded the exhibition space New Jersey in Basel with other artists. From 2012 to 2014, he was co-curator of the 56th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. He has been director of the Kunsthalle Zürich since 2015. Daniel Baumann writes for various art magazines and is considered a specialist in Georgian art. In collaboration with Georgian art historians, he has curated exhibitions on Modernism in Georgia as well as an exhibition on Niko Pirosmani at the Fondation Beyeler in 2023.

Barbara Ellenberger
Dramaturge, consultant, lecturer, co-initiator KlimaKontor Basel

Barbara Ellenberger was born in Zurich and studied theatre studies at the Schauspielakademie (now ZHdK) there. She worked as a freelance director and dramaturge, and from 1996 was a theatre educator and dramaturge at the Schauspielhaus Zürich. From 2000 to 2007 she was Director of Dramaturgy at the Stadttheater Hildesheim and from 2007 to 2015 Artistic Director of the TAK Theater Liechtenstein. From 2015 to 2019, she was artistic director of Miller’s Theatre in Zurich.
Barbara Ellenberger has been a member of the artasfoundation foundation board since 2011 and was a member of the board of directors of Kosmos-Kultur AG (2020–2022). Further training in the areas of change management, organisational development, systemic structural constellations, solution-oriented coaching and mediation. Teaching and consulting activities with a focus on solution-oriented project management. She is currently developing the KlimaKontor Basel, which initiates art projects that respond to the climate crisis in a solidarity-based, innovative way.

Dagmar Reichert (President)
Cultural geographer, consultant

Dagmar Reichert, born in Vienna in 1957, studied geography, sports and philosophy in Vienna and Toronto, research fellowships in Stockholm and Cambridge, visiting professorships at the University of Bologna, University of Salzburg and ETH Zurich. MA, doctorate and habilitation in geography. From 2003 full professor of cultural geography / social sciences at the University of Kassel, resigned this position in 2006 at her own request. Since 2021 she has taught cultural theory at the Zurich University of the Arts and headed the CAS programme Arts and International Cooperation. In 2011, she initiated the establishment of the artasfoundation and served as the foundation’s executive director until 2023. She also runs a research and consultancy company in Zurich.
Dagmar Reichert is the author or editor of various books (Wissenschaft als Erfahrungswissen, 2000, Räumliches Denken, 1996, Limits of Representation, 1994, Umwelt zur Sprache bringen, 1993 and Ortssuche, 1993) and has curated several cultural events and exhibitions (Airolo, 2007, Shedhalle Zürich, 2003; Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, 2002; Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, 2001). She lives and works in Basel and Zurich.


Tim Guldimann
Swiss diplomat

Tim Guldimann is a former Swiss diplomat who served as Swiss Ambassador in Tehran from 1999 to 2003 and in Berlin from 2010 to 2015. From 1996 to 1999, he led several OSCE missions in Chechnya and Croatia, as well as in Kosovo in 2007/08. He has been teaching political sciences as honorary professor at the University of Bern and as visiting professor at the university of Frankfurt. After his retirement as Ambassador in Berlin he was elected to the lower chamber (Nationalrat) of Swiss Parliament for the Social Democratic Party and quit this function in spring 2018. Since then, he is president of the supervisory board of the Swiss National Museum. Twice a month he publishes his political Podcast DEBATTE ZU DRITT. 

Isa Stürm

Isa Stürm studied architecture at the ETH Zurich and graduated in 1983 under Dolf Schnebli. She was an assistant to Adolf Max Vogt at the Chair of Architectural Theory and Architectural History at ETH. Before founding her own architectural practice with Urs Wolf in 1988, she worked for Santiago Calatrava and Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron.
Isa Stürm works in Switzerland and internationally. Early buildings by her office with Urs Wolf include the Plarenga Domat-Ems car park (1988), the office building for the social insurance service of the Canton of Zurich SVA (1998) and the Röntgenareal residential complex (1999). For Expo.02 they developed the federal pavilion Wer bin ich? (2002). They designed further exhibition architecture for Swiss Design, Akris, Swiss Art Awards, and shop interiors for Issey Miyake, Yoshi Yamamoto and Kerquelen New York. Public buildings for culture with a lighthouse charisma include the Kunst(Zeug)Haus in Rapperswil-Jona (2008) and the Lokremise cultural centre in St. Gallen (2010). Other important projects include the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, the Automuseum Teufen, the Nam June Paik Museum in Korea, the Maritime Museum in Aaland, Martyr’s Square and the Grand Axis in Beirut, the Mobile Aids Clinic for Africa, the presidential lobby of the UN in New York and the Waidmatt co-operative housing estate in Zurich. Current buildings include the recently occupied townhouse in Zurich’s industrial district and the fashion interiors on Bahnhofstrasse. The buildings and projects have received numerous awards.
Isa Stürm is involved in the theoretical discourse on architecture. She regularly gives lectures, takes part in juries, design critiques and discussions and writes essays. She has worked as an expert on architecture for the Swiss Federal Art Commission and as a guest lecturer in architectural design at the EPF Lausanne. Isa Stürm is on the board of the Kunsthalle Zurich and on the foundation board of the Sitterwerk St. Gallen.

Margit Wästfelt
Austrian diplomat

Margit Wästfelt, born in Graz, Austria, studied law and French at the University of Graz. During her school years, she spent a year with American Field Service in the USA. After graduating, she worked as a university assistant at the Institute for Civil Law at the University of Vienna and graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. In 1978 she joined the Austrian diplomatic service. She began her career at the Austrian Embassy in Paris, followed in 1984 by a stint at the Foreign Ministry in Vienna, where she set up the Citizens’ Service. In 1990 she was seconded to the Embassy in Moscow as Cultural Counsellor; from 1995 to 1999 she was Envoy and Deputy Head of Mission at the Austrian Embassy in Moscow, whose area of responsibility also included the successor states of the Soviet Union. Margit Wästfelt returned to Vienna in 1999, where she served as a member of the Austrian delegation to the OSCE and as Special Ambassador during the Austrian Chairmanship in 2000; Head of the Austrian Delegation to the OSCE from 2002; also responsible for the Council of Europe as Head of Department. 2008 to 2013 Austrian Ambassador to Finland; 2013 to 2015 Alternate Secretary General of the Central European Initiative in Trieste, Italy. Subsequently worked as a consultant in the areas of international business contacts and knowledge management. Publications on OSCE and Council of Europe topics.

Annelise Wiederkehr
Specialist in Business and Technology Transformation, Start-up Coach

Annelise Wiederkehr, born in Biel-Bienne, has been living with her family in Zurich since 2007. She holds an IMD Executive MBA and a Master of Science of the Universities of Bern and Vienna in Economics with a minor in Sociology. She is specialized in business and technology transformation. As a former Managing Director at Accenture, she has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry working with global banks, private and retail banks, as well as insurance and financial market infrastructures. She has been successful in strategy development and its implementation, as well as in establishing and leading international, large-scale, and complex programs. Since 2019, she has been coaching various FinTechs and since 2023 she is a member of the Advisory Board of Sustainaccount.
In the cultural sector, she was a founding member and board member of the Association for Young Artists, Molkerei-Laiterie, in Biel-Bienne from 2002 to 2006, as well as a board member of Kosmos-Kultur AG from 2020 to 2022.

Office Zurich

The staff conducts the operational work on behalf of the board. It is responsible for fundraising, the effective development of the projects of the foundation and the annual and financial reports for the Swiss Federal Supervisory Board for Foundations.

Office Hours:
Monday 9–12 h and 14–17 h
Wednesday 9–12 h and 14–17 h

Theresa Ackermann

Theresa Ackermann is responsible for fundraising at artasfoundation. She is also Head of Fundraising and Sponsoring at the Luzerner Theater. In addition to her extensive experience in the field, she has a background in language and cultural studies.

Tamar Janashia

As a team member of artasfoundation, Tamar Janashia is responsible for networking and project management with focus on Georgia. She is the founder and director of the Tbilisi based Non-for-Profit organisation Culture and Management Lab and coordinator of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial.

Olivia Jaques

Olivia Jaques is co-director and project manager at artasfoundation. She is an artist, art researcher, and cultural worker focusing on socio-political issues as well as performative, discursive, collective and process-based methods for example within the framework of Performatorium.

Shoghakat Mlke-Galstyan

At artasfoundation Shoghakat Mlke-Galstyan is responsible for networking and project management with focus on Armenia and for social media. She is an actress, dancer, art manager, co-director of MIHR Theatre, and lecturer at the Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography.

Sandra Suter

As head of the office Sandra Suter is responsible for administration and communication at artasfoundation. She is a linguist, musician and theatre expert and works as a vocal and performance coach, dramaturge, and author.

Rana Yazaji

Rana Yazaji is co-director of artasfoundation. She is a researcher at the Zurich University of the Arts, as well as consultant and trainer in socially engaged art practices supporting organisations working with distressed communities, building agile and accountable institutional structures.

Mara Züst

Mara Züst works as a project manager at artasfoundation and serves as a delegate for the Center for Art and Peace Promotion (CAP). She is an artist, art educator, author and researcher and is in charge of the estate of Andreas Züst which runs the Bibliothek Andreas Züst.

Advisory Board

The advisory board is composed of specialists in art and art education fields, humanitarian work, diplomacy and mediation, as well as representatives of civil society.

The advisory board is consulted as needed for the orientation of the foundation in terms of content and planning of projects. It contributes to the networking of the foundation and works on an honorary basis.

Günther Bächler
Former Swiss Ambassador, Bern and Hamburg

Daniel Baumann
Director of the Kunsthalle Zürich

Franziska Burkhardt
Director of the Culture Department of the city of Bern

Catherine David
Art historian, Vice-Director of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Maren Haartje
Former Programme Manager at PeaceWomen Across the Globe, Bern and Hamburg.

Ursula König
Independent Mediator and Consultant for Conflict Transformation

Sandro Lunin
Former Artistic Director of the Kaserne Basel

Thomas D. Meier
Former Dean of the Zurich University of the Arts

Nicole Müller
Writer and federally certified communication expert, Zurich

Danielle Nanchen
Section Head, Federal Department of Culture, Switzerland

Meret Schlegel
Dancer and Choreographer, Swiss Dance Award 2015, Zurich

Alice Thomann
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Beirut


Silvia Bächli

Born in Switzerland, Silvia Bächli lives and works in Basel and Paris and is Professor at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe, Germany. She has shown her drawings, paintings and photographic works internationally at many exhibitions, most recently in a solo-show at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. Silvia Bächli represented Switzerland at the 53rd Biennale di Venezia and received the Prix Meret Oppenheim from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. In November 2014 Silvia Bächli was awarded with the Kulturpreis der Stadt Basel.

Albin Brun

Multi-instrumentalist Albin Brun was born in Lucerne in 1959 and is a key figure in a scene that spans jazz and new folk music. Albin Brun is active in many ways: as a member of bands such as the Albin Brun Alpin Ensemble and duos with artists such as Patricia Draeger; a composer of film and theatre scores for Tim Krohn & Co.; and a guest lecturer at Lucerne University. Albin Brun is the winner of the Swiss Music Prize 2017.

Monika Dillier

Born 1947, lives and works in Basel. Several solo and group exhibitions in Switzerland, Germany or in South Africa. Regular cooperation-projects with other artists, so, for example, in the project Erstes Manifest grosser und angesehener Künstlerinnen or The road to nieu Bethesda.

Patricia Draeger

Patricia Draeger was born and raised in Zug. She completed her musical studies in contemporary music and the flute in Winterthur, Biel, Amsterdam and The Hague. Since 1992 she is accordionist and musical director of several theatre productions. She is a member of a duo with Sergej Simbirev, as well as the ‘Trio Avodah’ (European folkmusic) and the ensemble ‘Paralpin’. Since 2008 she is part of the ‘Albin Brun Alpin Ensemble’.

Iris Ganz

Iris Ganz was born in Uri in 1974 and lives and works in Basel. In her artistic work she realises videos, installations and performances. Since 2011 she teaches art at the FHNW HGK.

Jean-Daniel Girod

born 1977, lives and works in Zurich and deals with voice, percussion and body music. Jean-Daniel Girod focuses his work on the combination of rhythm and voice and leads workshop series on ‘Voice + Body Percussion’ at the Konservatorium Winterthur and in Zurich. Girod participates in musical projects for people with disabilities by the Tobias-Haus in Zurich (‘Tobi’s Welt’), is a member of the music group ‘Mirabilis’ (Markus Maggiori, Sandra Weiss; concerts in authentic medieval style) and does percussion and voice for the world music group by Adrian Egger ‘Zussambalan’. In collaboration with artasfoundation Jean-Daniel Girod leads the workshops of the ‘International Choir’ in Abkhazia (2017–2018) and in the Tavush region of Armenia (2018–2019).

Monika Günther and Ruedi Schill

Monika Günther (born 1944 in Germany) and Ruedi Schill (born 1941 in Switzerland) live and work in Lucerne. They collaborate as performance artists since 1995 on a national and international level. From 1998 until 2013 they also worked as artistic directors of the Festival ‘International Performance Art Giswil / Turbine Giswil’.

Kilian Haselbeck and Meret Schlegel

Kilian Haselbeck (1986) started dancing with HipHop and later Ballet at the Ballet Centre Gerda von Arb (Zurich) followed by a BA in contemporary dance at Codarts Rotterdam Dance Academy, 2008. Since then he has been working as a freelance dancer and choreographer internationally.
Meret Schlegel (1951) is a dancer, dance teacher, dramaturge. She has had a long and distinguished career in dance both on stage and off, performing across Europe and the US, often collaborating with artists from other disciplines. She has worked in many cultural institutions in Zürich including 11 years as director of the Dance House Zurich (Tanzhaus). After leaving Tanzhaus she resumed her career as a dancer and performer. 2012 she started collaborating with Kilian Haselbeck. The joint work ‘Orthopädie or to be’ (2013) they toured nationally and internationally. Cie zeitSprung was founded in 2013.

Silas Heizmann

Silas Heizmann lives and works as a visual artist in Basel, where he graduated from the Art University in 2016. One of the focus points of his work lies in graphic and printing, but he is also active, among other fields, in video-art. Silas received scolarships for residencies in Armenia and was active in several artasfoundation projects in Western Georgia / Abkhazia.

Cécile Hummel

Cécile Hummel was born in Switzerland in 1962 and lives in Basel. She studied art history and archaeology at the University of Zurich and later also in San Francisco, California. Longer working stays and studio scholarships led her to Italy, Canada, France, Germany and Egypt. Her drawings, watercolours and photographic works have been shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions, including at the Kunstmuseum and the Kunsthalle in Basel, the Centre PasquArt in Biel, or the Galerie Bernard Jourdan in Paris. Cécile Hummel is a regular lecturer at the art universities in Bern, Lucerne and Zurich.

Anina Jendreyko

Anina Jendreyko was born in Germany, she works and lives in the Kurdish regions, in Greece, Germany and Switzerland. She studied in Berlin at the UDK and works as an actress, theatre director and lecturer. In her artistic work she addresses questions of identity, society, transculturality and power relations. In addition to theatre productions, she works with the tools of theatre in national and international conflict- and crisis areas, especially in the Middle East. Currently she has developed a play about and with Yezidi women from and in Shengal/ Northern Iraq about their self-empowerment and the liberation process.

Ayaz Jokhio

Ayaz Jokhio was born in Mehrabpur Sindh, Pakistan, and currently lives and works in Lahore and Karachi. He obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2001. He was chosen as the best contemporary poet by the Sindhi Literary Society in 1999. In 2004, Ayaz directed a short film that was later selected for the 4th Kara Film Festival in Karachi. He was also Artist-in-residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, from 2004–2005.

Dani Kouyaté

Dani Kouyaté was born in a griot family in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso in 1961. After a degree in film studies from the University of Ouagadougou, he continued his studies in film at the Sorbonne, Paris. He directed a number of films and theater plays in Europe and Africa, for example the film Keïta!, which received the Best First Film Prize at the Panafrican Film Festival in Ouagadougou and the Junior Prize at the Film Festival in Cannes (1995). After living in Paris for twenty years, he is now living in Uppsala, Sweden where he teaches theater.

Franziska Koch

born in Luzern, works as a visual artist and lecturer. In her artistic work she realises installations, performances and projects. Recent Exhibitions: Temperatures (Artisterium, Center for Contemporary Art, Tbilisi), Postfordismus/Fordismus (with Tim Zulauf, mobile cinema Zürich), Reserven (Kunsthof Zürich), Proiezioni (mit Peter Emch, artria, Locarno), Bühne (Helmhaus Zürich), Office (Fri-Art Fribourg), Shanghai Open End Gallery (Chicago). Since 2003 Franziska Koch works as a lecturer in Visual Arts at the Zürich University of the Arts, where she teaches workshops on sound art, installation art, performance, production aesthetics, or video art and works in collaborative projects with other universities.

Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta

Tellervo Kalleinen (born 1975) is an artist from Helsinki, known for her video films and performance-oriented work. She studied art at the Art Academy of Hamburg and of Braunschweig and received a Master of Fine Arts from the Finish Academy of Fine Arts in 2003. Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen (born 1971) studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and finished his degree at the Art Academy of Hamburg in 2001.Since 2003 both of them collaborate. They realised and showed their videos, performances and events - often inviting people's participation - in many different countries, for example at the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), P.S.1 (New York), The Kitchen (New York), Shedhalle (Zürich), Kunsthalle Fridericianum (Kassel), Hamburg Kunsthalle, KUMU (Tallinn), das KIASMA (Helsinki), S.M.A.K. (Gent), Museo de Arte Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires) und Ars Electronica Center (Linz). In 2012 they won the most significant Media Art Award in Finland, the AVEK Award.
Website Tellervo Kalleinen

Arkhip Labakhua

born in 1973, Arkhip Labakhua (pseudonym: Sipa) is a leading Abkhaz artist, living and working in Sukhum/i. He studied fine arts in Tbilisi and Moscow and works with a variety of techniques in the fields of sculpture, design and stage design, as well as in photography. He travels as a puppeteer and troubadour with his own puppet theatre productions. In 2000 he received the Grand Prix of the Gent Festival of Marionette Theaters for his production ‘Red Actor’.

Les Reines Prochaines

The Swiss Band consists of four women, Michéle Fuchs, Fränzi Madörin, Muda Mathis, Sus Zwick, with a background in Visual Arts, Music and Performance Art. Founded in 1987, they remain true to a continuous engagement for friendship, feminism and collective production. Touring Switzerland and Europe with a new concert program every year, thy meet a core audience. So far, the band has produced more than ten CDs.

Beat Lippert

born 1977 in Lausanne, works and lives in Geneva. After his studies at the Alauns Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft in Bonn (Germany) and a four-months internship in the area of archeology, Beat continued his studies at the Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design in Geneva. Since then, Beat had several international exhibitions.
Beat collaborated with artasfoundation in the framework of the Curator’s initiative. After this project, Beat stayed and worked for three months in China, where he exhibited his works in the museum of contemporary art MOCA. Beat works on questions about borders, about the the translation of cultural codes, and asks himself how the task of artists can be reconciled with reality and multidisciplinarity.

Philip Matesic

Philip Matesic (1983) is an American artist, living and working in Zürich, Switzerland. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2008, where he researched and experimented extensively on social potentials of art. His social art practice includes the weekly organisation and moderation of Theory Tuesdays and Practical Fridays, along with a range of local and international community-based, participatory art projects.

Beatrice Minda

was born in Munich, Germany. She studied art history in Munich and Visual Arts in Münster and Berlin. She has made several individual exhibitions in Europe, and has published several books including ‚Innenwelt: Fotografien aus Rumänien und aus dem Exil (Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2007)’.

Shoghakat Mlké-Galstyan

Shoghakat Mlke-Galstyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia. She is active as actress, dancer and art manager/art organizer. Her passion is the contemporary performing arts. She is the founder and soloist of the MIHR theatre, manager of the Tiezerk Band and lecturer at the Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography. She is the author/director of projects in the USA, Germany, France, Cyprus, Georgia, Turkey, Russia, Armenia and other countries. In 2016 she received the honored Golden Medal from the Ministry of Culture of RA. In 2017 she attended successfully the CAS Arts and International Cooperation at the Zurich University of Arts.

neue Dringlichkeit

NEUE DRINGLICHKEIT (nD) is a Zurich-based art and performance collective. Within their work they perform a shift between the borders of ‘arts’, ‘politics’ and ‘life’. In alternating constellations the collective develops among other things workshops, interventions, festivals and theater projects. NEUE DRINGLICHKEIT evolved during a spontaneous art festival against xenophobia in Switzerland in 2010 at the ‘Department for Performance Art and Film’ at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).
Their works have been shown at Venice Biennale of Architecture 2014; Favoriten Theater Festival, Dortmund 2014; Gessnerallee Zürich et al.

Cat Tuong Nguyen

born in 1969 in Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam, lives and works in Zurich. His photographic works, installations and video-works have been shown in solo- and group exhibitions in Switzerland, Israel, USA, or Germany and received international awards.

Raumlabor Berlin

Raumlabor are a group of architects based in Berlin, Germany. They came together in 1999 in response to the rapid and unrestrained development of the city following the fall of the Berlin wall. Their playful approach critiques this dominant mode of architectural production and tries to influence them. It proposes temporary projects that transform the urban landscape: pneumatic structures, submarines made out of waste materials, and half-serious projects such as building a mountain from the rubble produced through uncovering a buried canal are all part of their repertoire.
Working in between the fields of architecture and public art, Raumlabor, whose name means 'space laboratory', create projects based around events, performance and theatre. Primarily working in public space, they see the task of the architect as highlighting problems rather than solving them. Their projects try to open up a space of communication and negotiation, in which relations can be made and conflicts played out.

Augustin Rebetez

Augustin Rebetez (born 1986, Switzerland) creates poetic worlds out of simple materials. His pictures, drawings, installations or stop-motion movies depict a tragicomical reality. The results plays to the creation of a visually playful, moving universe.
Since 2009, he has participated to numerous exhibitions, mostly in Europe but also in North America, South Korea, Nigeria, Mexico, Lebanon, India and Australia. He was awarded by PhotoFolio Review at the Rencontres d’Arles in France (2010), The Swiss Photo Award (2012), the Kiefer Hablitzel Prize (2012) and the Vevey International Photo Award (2013–2014).

Anne Rochat

Anne Rochat is a Swiss video and performance artist who was born in 1982 in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland. She studies art Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, in 2010 she received the Swiss Art Award, 2012 the Kiefer Hablitzel Award. Since 2013 she teaches at the Art University of Geneva (Head) in the section Art/Action.

Manel Salas

Manel Salas was born in Barcelona in 1980. He has taught and worked as a dancer internationally (China, Russia, Spain, Holland, France and Switzerland).
After his studies in Physical Education, Manel Salas started his artistic career as a dancer, teacher and hip-hop choreographer in Barcelona. Since then he has danced and taught as a freelancer in over 26 productions in different countries. He worked with Metros of Ramon Oller, the flamenco company Color, with Amy Raymond, an ex-Forsythe dancer and with Cobosmika dance company. As a performing artist, he discovered and studied mime, theater, improvisation, butho and acrobatic. In this context, he worked with the Chinese Paper Tiger theater company, Julyen Hamilton, Angels Margarit, David Zambrano, Editta Braun company, Arno Schuitemaker, Vloeistof, Jens Biederman, Jasmine Morand, Oliver Dahler and Corsing Gaudez.
In 2008 Manel Salas graduated from Codarts, the conservatory of the Rotterdam Dance Academy.

Nino Sekhniashvili

born in Tbilisi in 1979, she studies experimental sculpture with Rosemarie Trockel at the Düsseldorf Art Academy (2000–2002) and graphic reproduction at Tbilisi State Academy of Art (2002–2004). In her conceptually oriented work she uses different media. In 2005 she initiated the music project ‘Dario Radio’ together with Kate Siamashvili, since then she showed her works in numerous exhibitions in Georgia, Moscow and German speaking countries. She received fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude and Binz39, Zürich, among others. In 2012 Nino Sekhniashvili initiated the exhibition space Nectar in Tbilisi.


The Tiezerk Band, consisting of the young Armenian musicians Eliza Baghdiyan and Lusine Mlke-Galstyan, was founded in 2015. In addition to traditional Armenian folk songs, which they rearrange, they also play their own compositions and works by the famous Armenian composer Komitas. The breadth of the musicians’ repertoire is also expressed in the band’s name: Tiezerk means “universe”.

Lidwien van de Ven

Born in the Netherlands, Lidwien van de Ven lives and works in Rotterdam and Berlin. Her photographs, installations, and videos have been shown in major international exhibitions, including the Sidney Biennial 2006, Documenta 12, and most recently in Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid. Lately Lidwien van de Ven was nominated for the 2014 Dolf Henkes Award in Rotterdam.

Hajra Waheed

was born in Calgary, Canada and raised within the gated headquarters of Saudi Aramco, the largest transnational oil corporation in the world. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and obtained an MA at McGill University in 2007. She has regularly exhibited her works in shows across North America, in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Her works have been included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, and the British Museum, London. She currently lives and works in Montreal, Canada.

Franziska Welti

the singer and voice-improviser was born in 1965 and lives and works in Winterthur and Berlin. Franziska Welti teaches voice classes at Konservatorium Winterthur and the choirs leads Singfrauen Winterthur and Singfrauen Berlin. She has been part of various world premieres and has collaborated with well-known ensembles in the field of new and early music; she has a brisk concert activity at home and abroad, among other places also in Georgia. Among other awards, Franziska Welti also received the Kulturpreis by the city of Winterthur (2009). In collaboration with artasfoundation Franziska Welti leads the workshops of the International Choir in Abkhazia (2017–2018) and in the Tavush region of Armenia (2018–2019).

Andrea Wolfensberger

was born in 1961 in Zurich, studied from 1980 until 1984 at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art Visuel in Geneva. In her sculptural and installative works she combines scientific abstraction with narrative poetry. Solo and group exhibitions mainly in Switzerland and Germany. Since 2004, Andrea teaches at the Bern University of the Arts.

...and others.

Partner Organisations

Aamta foundation, Suchum/i

Aamta foundations runs SKLAD – a cultural center in Sukhum/i focused on promoting contemporary art and various cultural activities such as filmscreenings, lectures, workshops etc. It strives to build international connections, involve the community and encourage local artists.
Social Media

Adami – Media Prize for Cultural Diversity in Eastern Europe

The Adami Media-Prize seeks to network journalists, filmmakers and media professionals in Eastern European countries and the Caucasus for the purpose of promoting interest in the media and cultural diversity in these regions.

artlink, Switzerland

The office for cultural cooperation, artlink, is the Swiss centre of competence for arts and culture from Afrika, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. It documents, collaborates with and supports professional artists from these regions who are artistically active in Switzerland and promotes intercultural cooperation.

Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, Brandeis Universität, USA

The Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts is affiliated with the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University. Its emphasis is on the contribution of culture and art to conflict transformation. Under the heading of Impact: Imagine together, it has initiated an international platform for art, culture and conflict transformation.

Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), Switzerland

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (the HD Centre) is an independent mediation organisation, based in Geneva. It is dedicated to improving the global response to armed conflict.

Center for Security Studies (CSS), Switzerland

The Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich is engaged in the study of Swiss and international security studies. Its activities are structured into the four pillars of research, teaching, think tank, and the International Relations and Security Network (ISN).

Culture and Management Lab, Georgia

The Culture and Management Lab is a Tbilisi (Georgia) based organization which is active in the field of arts and project management, education and consulting.
Social Media

Ettijahat – Independent Culture, Beirut

Ettijahat – Independent Culture is a Syrian cultural organisation founded at the end of 2011. In the process of cultural and social changes, Ettijahat seeks to activate and render the role of independent culture and arts more positive. It does this by supporting artists and undertakers of cultural initiatives, enabling young researchers, working to build consensus and alliances between individuals and cultural institutions, promoting the arts and artists through regional and international platforms, and helping Syrian communities wherever they are to have access to culture and arts.

Danish Refugee Council (DRC)

The DRC is a humanitarian, non-governmental, non-profit organisation. It is providing direct assistance to conflict-affected populations in 30 different countries.

SDC, Switzerland

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. It is responsible for the overall coordination of development activities and cooperation with Eastern Europe, as well as for the humanitarian aid delivered by the Swiss Confederation.

FDFA, Switzerland

Is the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation.

Academy of Art and Design (FHNW)

The Art Academy of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland is located at the ‘Campus der Künste’ in Basel. It is active in research, and in the education of artists, designers and art educators.

IDP Women's Union of Tskaltubo, Georgia

The IDP Women’s Union of Tskaltubo is a non-governmental, non-profit organization in the Imereti province of Georgia. It was founded by Lali Grigolava, and supports families who have been displaced in the secession war of Abkhazia and live in the town of Tskaltubo now.
Email Lali Grigolava


The Imagining Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation (IMPACT), is a worldwide, values-driven collaboration to design and activate strategies to strengthen the arts, culture and conflict transformation ecosystem. This includes individuals and organisations working on the international stage and in local neighborhoods, creating festivals and crafting policies, documenting practices and developing theories, enlivening communities and building bridges across differences.


The Centre for Peacebuilding (KOFF) is a dialogue, exchange and networking platform for peacebuilding organisations.

Kunsthof Holm, Germany

Kunsthof Holm is a place for artistic exchange between people who are interested in (visual) art and in the connections between art and the challenges of the present: war and peace, the destruction of nature and the environment. Maren Haartje and Günther Baechler (both members of the artasfoundation advisory board) took over the farm in summer 2017.

Landscapes of Hope

Landscapes of Hope is a network initiated by Action for Hope, a Lebanese NGO that, among other things, offers art-education in refugee settlements The network aims to reach beyond the realm of cultural organisations in order to connect civil society organizations across all sectors, and explore more general possibilities for working with art for bringing about effective social change in situations of distress.


The Independent Network for Local and Global Sounds and Media Culture focuses on experimental and urban music and music scenes all over the world. As an international platform it aims to understand and show the many and often contradictory faces of cultural globalization and localization through articles written by musicians, scholars and music journalists from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the US.

Ochamchyra Youth House, Ochamchyra

The Ochamchyra Youth House is a NGO, which organises further education and cultural activities for children and youth in the city of Ochamchyra on the Black Sea cost.
Email Selma Zantarya

Pro Helvetia

This foundation is mandated by the Swiss Confederation to promote artistic creation, foster cultural outreach and facilitate cultural exchange at home and with other countries.

Society Biliki

Society Biliki is a non-governmental, non-profit organization. It was founded in May 1997, in Gori, a town in Shida Kartli province of Georgia and concentrates on working with children and youth from low-income families or with a refugee background.

State Pedagogical University Yerevan (ASPU), Armenia

This state-supported university and institute of higher education located in Yerevan is specialized in pedagogy and the training of teaching personnel.


The Swiss Peace Foundation is a practice-oriented peace research institute located in Bern. It analyzes the causes of violent conflicts in order to develop strategies for their peaceful transformation and supports Swiss and international actors in their peacebuilding activities.

Zurich University of the Arts

The Zurich University of the Arts (Zurich, Switzerland) is one of Europe’s largest universities of the arts. It offers a unique range of programmes from further education opportunities to undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in design, film, art, media, music, dance, theatre and art education.

Center for Art and Peacebuilding (CAP)

The Centre for Art and Peacebuilding (CAP) is a joint initiative of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Swiss artasfoundation. It was founded in 2020 to give a new institutional framework with a long-term orientation to a reliable partnership that began in 2012.

Mission Statement

Artistic initiatives for peaceful conflict resolution, for personal encounters and mediation in situations of violence are all attracting increased attention in International Cooperation as well as in the arts themselves. The same is true for artistic approaches to express social conflict, to come to terms with the past, and rebuild society in post-conflict regions.

The CAP is tasked with researching the potential of artistic contributions to transform violent conflicts, testing it on a practical level in projects and discussing it with experts and the general public. It promotes the involvement of students, lecturers and researchers of ZHdK in its work and interacts closely with the teaching and research at the university. The Centre for Art and Peacebuilding sees itself as an area for international collaboration that fosters respectful cultural exchange on a level playing field.

Working Areas

1. Higher Education
The topic of artistic engagement in conflict-affected regions is also integrated into ZHdK’s BA and MA degree programmes. The CAP also runs the CAS in Arts and International Cooperation as one of ZHdK’s continuing education programmes and places its mentoring network at the disposal of ZHdK students seeking to develop their own projects in the field of Art and Peacebuilding. ZHdK lecturers and members of the mid-tier staff receive support within the framework of the ZHdK’s Intercultural Competence Coaching service.

2. Practical Work in Conflict Regions
Lecturers and students of the ZHdK carry out art projects in regions of conflict together with experienced staff from artasfoundation. Universities or artists of these regions are partners in these projects.

3. Research
Artistic contributions in practical peacebuilding are explored both through monitoring individual projects and through long-term comparative studies to identify international best practice. This also includes the development of research proposals. One example is Professor Jörg Scheller’s project Contemporary Art, Popular Culture and Peacebuilding

4. Cooperation and Network
CAP cooperates with various organisations and initiatives, including the SDC working group Community of Practice: Culture Matters, the Art Lab for Human Rights and Dialogue, UNESCO and the Landscape of Hope network. The CAP is part of a network of practitioners, global associations and organisations working with art in conflict regions and contributes through conferences such as Art at Risk – Creative Work in Challenging Contexts.

Team and contact

Mara Züst (representative of artasfoundation at CAP) 
Bettina Ganz (Project Coordinator International Affairs Office ZHdK)

Finances and Controls

artasfoundation is an operating foundation financed by grants and private contributions, which initiates its own projects. It is not an awarding foundation and does not process unsolicited applications for support from other parties.

artasfoundation discloses its project partners and sponsorship. It ensures that its donors give their support free of political obligations and without imposing conditions on the artistic work.

Financial or operative support
We wish to thank the following persons and institutions who have made valuable contributions to our projects.


Theresa Ackermann, Andreas und Brigitte Albicker, Evelyne Albin, Susanne Alpiger Dumermuth, Renate Amuat, Mattea Cäcilia Anderes, Martin und Silvia Arn-Kramer, Therese und Jürg Augsburger Spörri, Günther Bächler und Maren Haartje, Silvia Bächli und Eric Hattan, Thomas Bauer, Daniel Baumann, Caroline Baumhauer, Marina Belobrovaja, Barbara Berger Schindler, Martina Bernasconi, Charlotte Bhattarai, Regula Bibus-Waser, Eva Bischofberger, Rezio Blass, Marianne Bleuler-Herzog, Peter Bleuler, Astrid Bodisch, Hans Jakob Bollinger, Giovanni Borrelli und Bettina Ganz, Jon und Kylie Brägelmann, Daniela Brunner, Gina-Lisa Bucher, Heidi Burkhardt-Hollinger, Anselm Burr, Sibylle Gabriela Cazajus Reichenbach, Jean-Marie Clarke, Reto und Manuela Crameri, Catherine David, Beat de Roche, Jaques Diday-Baumann, Thomas und Janine Daum-Habegger, Ursina Dorer, Renato Duckeck, Christiane Duttle, Mireille Eberhard, Penelope Eberhart Freeman, Marc und Antje Ebneter, Severina Eggenspiller, Fabio Eiselin Wenger, Peter Willy Emch, Johanna Ensinger, Lilli Erett, Yvonne Fahrni, Mohammed Farahneh, Silvia Flachsmann, Katharina Flieger,Eveline Flückiger, Rita Frey Schuppisser, Sandra Frimmel, Elisabeth Karolina Fuchs, Michele Fuchs, Doris Füllemann, Christian Fürholz, Patrick Gamba, Friedhilde Ganter Piskacek, Bettina Ganz Gorgi, Haimo Ganz, Gianni Garzoli, David Gaus, Simon Gaus, Stefan Gerster, Hans Rudolf Glatz, Ursina B. Gloor Weisskopf, Lena Good, Lukas Dominik Good, Margrit Goop, Peter und Dorothea Goop, Mariann Grawe, Dr. Konrad Grimm-Kistler, Thomas Gutmann, Marion Haag, Maren Haartje Bächler, Margrit Goop, Corinne Haffter Schaffner, Regula Hatt-Suter, Jürg und Mirjam Häubi-Sieber, Martina Hauser, Angela Hausheer, Erika Hebeisen, Trix und Robert Heberlein, Anna Hegi, Thomas Heimann, Claus Hipp, Esther Barbara Honegger, Hermann Huber-Bossert, Judith Huber Stehlin, Helene Esther Huldi, Sven Hürlimann, Ioannis und Dorothea Iglezakis, Michael und Karin Jankowski-Brodbeck, Claudia Christina Jolles,  Ilya und Marina Karlin, Evelin Keller, Clare Kenny, Franziska Koch, Silvia Koenig Koellreutter, Heinrich König, Maia und Stefan Kraft,Andreas Kohli, Heidi Kramer, Susanne Krasmann, Silvia Kraus-Billeter, Simone Kriesemer, Daniel Krucker, Patrick Kull, Corina Lang, Regula Langemann, Maria Larsson, Andreas Lauber, Sigrid Launois-Meyer, Barbara Leu, Sandro Lunin, Stefanie und Peter Lüthy, Beatrice M., Franziska Cornelia Madörin, Valerian Maly, Françoise Marcuard, Sonia Martha Mank-Brändle, Cornelia Markovic-Leu, Philip Matesic, Petra Maria Mathis, Sandra Mazzoni und Peter Corrodi, Ariane Menzi Naville, Oskar Meyer, Evelyne Monney, Cyrus Mosayebi, Elli Mosayebi und Christian Inderbizin, Regula Muchenberger, Natalina Muggli, Alexander und Ruth Müller, Nicole Müller, Barbara Nägelin, Martin Nägelin, Danielle Nanchen, Geneviève Nanchen Lucette, Beatrice Naville, Nadine Naville, Ursula und Edwin Peters-Sutter, Linda Pfenninger, Lea Pfister und Ursina Landolt, Theresia Elisabeth Pfluger, Anna-Brita Polzer, Elodie Pong, Maria Brigitte Rapp, Theo Reber, Boris Rebetez, Dorothea von Rechenberg, Barbara von Reibnitz, Dagmar Reichert, Marianne Elisabeth Reinhart, Nanni Reinhart Schinz, Isabel Roman-Karajan, Yvonne Roth-Naville, Martin Roth, Hans Roth-Rohner, Diandra Russo, Dora Anna Rust, Regula Rüst-Walcher, Eliane Rutishauser, Liliane Ryser, Rudolf Rytz, Andrea Saemann, Karin Saemann, Lilian Saemann, Mira Sack, Andrea Saemann, Lilian Saemann, Martina Schäfer Läser, Bigna Schaffner, Annamarie Scheier, Fabio Schell, Jörg Scheller, Ursula Barbara Scherrer, Marina Schindler, Peter Schindler, Meret Schlegel, Friederike Schmid Doring, Elisabeth Schmid Kläui, Barbara Schneider, Doris Beate Lux Schnitter, Irina Schuppli, Marcel Schwald, Markus Schwander, Ximena Andrea Sedano Ramirez, Beat Siegrist, Margrit Spillmann, Peter Sprenger, Walter und Annemarie Stählin, Monika Stalder, Jürg George Steinmann, Franziska Stern, Rudolf Stocker, Robert Strebel, Angela Stupp, Lilly Suter, Robert Suter, Sandra Suter, Marianne Theis, Alice Thomann, Christine Thomann-Hatt, Tanuja Thurairajah, Françoise Thurnher, Ruth Tippe, Oleg Tkatch, Denise Tonella, Gisela Ullmann-Jungfer, Philip und Verena Urner-Diggelmann, Marianne Vogler, Barbara von Reibnitz, Thomas und Elisabeth von Salis, Dagmar Elisabeth Walser, Elisabeth Weber-Schnellmann, Florian Alois Wedler, Sonja Wehrli-Müller, Brigit Wehrli Schindler, Thomas Gallus Weibel, Franziska Welti, Annelise Wiederkehr, Regula Willi Muchenberger, Annette Witschi, Andrea Wolfensberger, B. Wyss, Gunda Zeeb, Bettina Z’Rotz, Brigitta Züst, Mara Züst, Susanna Züst, Suzanne Zwick.

Update: January 2024


artlink Office for cultural cooperation
Bayer (Switzerland) AG
Caran d’Ache AG
Drosos Foundation
Druckertheke Zürich
Edith Maryon Foundation
Fachstelle Kultur Kanton Zürich
Fair Future Foundation
Foundation Corymbo
Foundation Dr. Jacques Edwin Brandenberger
Fondation Hubert Looser
Foundation Mercator Schweiz
Fondation Olympique pour la culture et le Patrimoine
Fondation Smartpeace
Foundation Temperatio
Frame Contemporary Art Finland
Galerie von Bartha
Georgischer Förderverein
Gerda Techow Gemeinnützige Stiftung
Gruppenpraxis Paradies
Guido Feger Stiftung
H.E.M. Stiftung
Heinrich Böll Stiftung
Human Security Division (HSD) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA – EDA)
Isabell and Dr. Friedrich Vogel Foundation
Kirche und Kultur – Kultur in der Kirche Wolfhalden
Kulturabteilung der Stadt Zürich
Kunstverein Winterthur
Max Kohler Foundation
MP Amministrazioni Immobiliari
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Task Force
Plakatgesellschaft Basel
Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation
Pro Concepta Zug AG
Reformierte Kirchgemeinde Erlenbach
Rotary Club Werdenberg
Schweizerische Interpreten Stiftung (SIS)
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation
Thomas Abegg Stiftung für Geist und Kultur
Valüna Stiftung
Verein Agentur Stadtkultur
Verein Kunsthalle Zürich
Verein Stroh zu Gold
Von Duhn Stiftung
Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

Update: January 2024

You too can support artasfoundation!
Become a friend or sponsor, or take up a project sponsorship.

Support artasfoundation

artasfoundation is governed by the Swiss Federal Supervisory Board of Foundations.

Financial Audit
Würth Treuhand AG, Norastrasse 7, CH-8040 Zürich

Standards for Financial Reporting
The administration of finances meets the criteria of the Swiss GAAP RPC/FER21.

Charitable Status
artasfoundation is recognised by the tax administration of the canton of Zurich as a charitable trust.