Doreen Toutikian is a cultural entrepreneur, an interdisciplinary designer, researcher, educator, and a consultant . She is founder and former executive director of Beirut Design Week (beirutdesignweek.org), co-founder & president of the board of MENA Design Research Center (menadrc.org), and co-founder of loop (looporg.eu). She is also an educator on design research methodology and design theory to MA students, as well as a member of the pedagogical committee of the Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (alba.edu.lb). She is a researcher and consultant on human-centered design to non-profit organizations such as UNRWA (unrwa.org) for Palestinian refugee camps development and IOM (iom.int) for economic development in Kurdistan. Often she serves as a mentor and juror for student examinations and start-up competitions, and a regular public speaker at various conferences around the world.
Doreen holds an MA from Koeln International School of Design in European Design Studies (Germany), a Product & Service Design degree from The Glasgow School of Art (Scotland), and a bachelor in Communication Design from Notre Dame University (Lebanon).
Her book, 'Design Education in the Middle East', which was awarded the Cologne Design Prize in 2010, marked the beginning of her career in Beirut where she set out to build a collective design community and enhance the understanding of design and research in the region. She believes that collaboration is the key to good design. This belief has inspired her to initiate various projects in order to encourage multidisciplinary teamwork for social innovation. Such projects include ‘Public Design Intervention: Beirut’ (2010), 'Desmeem: Rethinking Design though Cross-Cultural Collaboration (2012)', 'Disrupt!/Design!' (2015/16) and 'Beirut Design Week' (annual event since 2012). In 2013, Beirut Design Week was awarded the Lebanese Social Economic Award.
Doreen is an advisor to various global networks including the ‘International Gender Design Network’, the 'Board of International Research in Design/BIRD', a fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar, and a member of the Young Cultural Innovators of the British Council. She is also an avid traveller, speaks six languages English, Arabic, French, German, Armenian and Greek, and lives between Beirut and Athens.
Andreas Nassos is a multidisciplinary designer with a Master’s degree in landscape architecture and a Bachelor's degree in agriculture and ecology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. He was the General Secretary of the Panhellenic Association of Landscape Architects (2016-2019), an official member of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, and co-founder of LOOP.
His professional experience over the past decade ranges from small to medium scale landscape design and construction for residences, corporations and hotels as well as landscape preservation and reclamation. Andreas is simultaneously engaged in various initiatives that involve more social interventions such as workshops, conferences and competitions; which were often missing in client-based projects. His main interests include sustainability, ecology, preservation and reclamation of natural habitats, urban green interventions, co-working space enhancements through green common spaces, and innovative green solutions.
He has been a workshop leader twice in the international architectural festival Ecoweek (Ecoweek Thessaloniki 2012 and Ecoweek Belgrade 2012). He was also member of the organizational team behind Behance Portfolio Reviews Thessaloniki for the period of 2014 and 2015. He was invited as guest lecturer for the “Toolkit Designers’ Meeting” in Thessaloniki in 2016 and selected among workshop participants for “Design in the Middle” in Rome in 2017.
Andreas is active in various arts and culture initiatives in Athens focused on reviving spaces and developing local arts collectives. In his free time he plays the bass and guitar with local bands, enjoys drawing and lettering, industrial and furniture design, and customizing classic motorcycles. He is currently based in Athens, Greece.
Maelle Julou is a cultural project manager from France, currently based in Greece. She holds a Master in Development of International Cultural and Artistic Projects (Lyon II, France) and wrote her thesis on the role of audiences in the politicization of art. She also holds a Bachelor degree in Literature, Civilization, and Language specializing in sociolinguistics and intercultural communication.
Maelle has experience of working as a project manager, volunteer coordinator or EU funding proposal writer in different NGOs (ArtBOX Creative Arts Management, United Societies of Balkans, Kipos, Rencart, Action Art), and has been involved in a variety of European programs, whether as a participant or as a project manager in France, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, and Greece.
She has been a volunteer for the European Capital of Culture Kaunas 2022 (Lithuania), for the Ecovillage of Baskemolla (Sweden), and for the organization of the Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival 2019 (Greece).
Her main interests include the promotion of cultural diversity, cultural rights and intercultural dialogue, linguistics and languages, poetry, queer visibility and expression, public artistic interventions, gamification, non-formal education, sustainability.
Maelle is also currently Research Fellow for the Emerging Cultural Leaders program “30 UNDER 30”, identifying innovative ideas and action plans drawn up by cultural institutions to reduce the impact of climate change.
Graduated from Fine Arts in the University of Barcelona and having a postgraduate degree in Documentary Films in the cultural center Francesca Bonnemaison, I continued my master studies in Cultural Management at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, specializing in cultural policies, with a research about the disarticulation of feminism in contemporary audiovisual productions.
I had co-curated the selection of films for the Thessaloniki Queer Art Festival for two consecutive years. At the same time, last year, I developed a film festival called ‘Films from the South’ in Thessaloniki (Greece), which was based on audiovisual projects that break the dominant binary structures to present new intersectional narratives between class, race, gender and religion. Currently I collaborate with the 6th Edition of Thessaloniki Animation Festival in the programming and management department.
In summary, my experience extends from artistic practice connected with its context to research and curatorial projects on topics such as the Global South and contemporary feminisms in culture.