Aysu Arican
Aysu Arican

Aysu Arıcan

Meet Aysu, Project Coordinator for Tandem Turkey.

My first vocational calling, if I may call it so, was to become a hairdresser when I was around 6 years old. I clearly remember making friends with my mom’s hairdresser and inviting her home so we could style my dolls’ hair together, which she kindly accepted. Compulsory education was just a formality and I was dreaming of having my own salon as soon as I was done with school. But along the way, I realised I also enjoyed reading books, and my passion for trying to understand people and society grew stronger. By the time I became a teenager, I had already set my mind on Psychology and it was to become my second vocational calling.

Some years later when I was about to graduate from the department, I felt a bit lost and disappointed due to the baggage that comes with having an intense relationship with a ‘discipline’. I needed some air and fresh ideas so I jumped into an interdisciplinary funfair, i.e. Cultural Studies. This time it was not a calling as such but more like a pause, a time-out to reconsider all over. Frankly, I didn’t know or even think about what to do with that diploma, I just craved for the ride. But it turned out to be one of the best moves I made and I found myself the happiest when I was soaked in arts and culture readings and practices.

The chain of my so-called callings and then actually finding it (at least for the moment) made me realise and appreciate the massive role of small encounters and experimenting in life. Maybe we were not supposed to be just one thing in life; humans are way more interesting, passionate and multifaceted than that. We have several callings throughout time and we need to follow them but it is the people we meet on the road and our endless curiosity that lands us somewhere. I didn’t know where I would end up but I had faith that it would feel like home…

On my first official day working in Tandem, I flew to Berlin where I attended a week-long train of three different meetings with different participants. You could argue that I met almost half of the Tandem family (at that time) in that first week. I had my doubts about such a hectic start for a new ‘job’ but as early as the first day I felt it was more like a gathering of friends and family. Tandem is all about the feeling of familiarity, despite the vast geography people come from. Different backgrounds, different languages, different challenges but the same level of interest, openness and passion for a common dream: creative people who are willing to learn from each other and strive together beyond borders. Being a part of this, being surrounded by motivated people and inspiring projects, refreshes my hopes every single day.

From where I see and experience it, the arts and culture open up a dialogue, ask questions and remind us that there are multiple answers, multiple truths, multiple stories and multiple sides to each story. It helps to create a space to be(come) yourself, to heal wounds, to support confrontation with the past and the present, and most importantly, to come together. It may not be enough to change the world but it is a good place to start, and Tandem is a perfect playground for beautiful encounters and experimenting with friends.

Aysu Arican