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More Diversity at Schwules Museum*: Introducing a Generation and Perspective Change

6. September 2016

At the members meeting on September 6th 2016, The Schwules Museum* elected a new board of directors. The board was expanded from five to eight people, plus a coopted position, which will serve for two years instead of just one, as was previously the case. Dr. Birgit Bosold (Finance and Exhibitions), Dr. Kevin Clarke (Exhibitions, Events, and Press), and Jan-Claus Müller (Personnel & Volunteer Support) were reelected to the board and will continue serving in their previous positions. In addition to these familiar faces, the Schwules Museum* also would like to welcome a new generation of artists and activists to the board of directors. These new board members will add to the museum’s diversity of perspectives and bring life to the asterisk in the Schwules Museum* name, especially through their competency and experiences with queer and transgender communities, people of color, and feminism.

The integration of different communities through participatory concepts and interventions will be a core focus of the museum’s activities for the next two years. This approach will establish the Schwules Museum* as a unique network and networking space for presenting LGBTIQ* history in a tangible way.

New board members Vera Hofmann, Aykan Safoğlu and Vince Tillotson (coopted) will handle the engagement with international artists and curators. Social scientist, Heiner Schulze will focus on the coordination of workshops and events, as well as the archive. Communications researcher, crowdfunding expert, and head of a photo department, Mischa Gawronski, will handle sponsoring, brand development, and international networking, among other tasks. Social worker Kai Vetter will handle human resources; the heart of the museum, which now consists of about 50 volunteers.


Aykan Safoğlu, born in 1984 in Istanbul, is an artist and curator who currently lives and works in Berlin. He has studied at the Universität der Kunste in Berlin and Bard College in New York. His work has been shown, among other places, at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut (2015), Moderna Museet in Stockholm (2014), bei uqbar in Berlin (2013), the International Biennale for Young Art in Moskau (2012), and the Konsthall C in Stockholm (2011). His artistic praxis engages with histories of marginalized perspectives, alternative readings of artworks, queer politics, contemporary identities in Turkey, nationalism, and exile. Through his work, Aykan has developed a comprehensive visual vocabulary and a voice that shifts between criticism and poetry. His film Kırık Beyaz Laleler (Off-White Tulips), which received the highest award at the 59th International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen (2013) as well as the Best On Screen Award at the Images Festival in Toronto, Canada (2014), showcases his inspiration from popular culture, actual events, and historic materials. Otherwise, Freundschaft, and it’s contemporary forms in today’s societies, is an inspiring landscape for Safoğlu’s art. He is engaged in activism in Istanbul and Berlin, as well as in his role as board member of the Schwules Museum*, where he will represent migrant perspectives and positions.

Dr. Birgit Bosold has been a board member of the Schwules Museum* since 2006. She is responsible for the museum’s finances and was/is heavily involved in the strategic reorientation (new location and project enhancement) of the Schwules Museum*. Birgit has also curated a number of exhibitions including: the first lesbian exhibition at SMU* (2008), the art exhibition Gender-Gap (2010), an exhibition featuring artistic positions of womens soccer (2011) – WM (funded by the EU and the cultural foundation of the DFB), a retrospective of photographer Petra Gall (2012); whose extensive and historically significant archive she secured for the Schwules Museum*, and a retrospective of the internationally renowned photographer Zanele Muholi (2014) in cooperation with Amnesty International, which was acquired by the Frauenmuseum Wiesbaden.

Birgit Bosold is the project leader and co-curator of the “Homosexualität_en” exhibiton which was initiated by the Schwules Museum* in cooperation with the Deutsches Historisches Museum and with support from the Kulturstiftungen des Bundes (German cultural foundation). The exhibition was held in both the Schwules Museum* and the Deutsches Historisches Museum in 2015 and in 2016 it was displayed at the LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Munster. In 2016, Bosold (together with the president of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Alexander Koch) was awarded the Kompasssnadel prize by the Schwulen Netzwerk NRW for her engagement and leadership of the project.

Professionally she works at home in private banking. After completing her doctorate in literature, she worked for many years at different renowned banks and now works as a freelance consultant in portfolio management for corporations, foundations, and private mandates, as well as working as a technical writer and teacher.

Heiner Schulze is a Berlin based social scientist. He studied at Humboldt Universität in Berlin and has done studies and research residencies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, the New School of Social Research in New York City and the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway. The focus of his research is in social inequality, HIV/AIDS crisis, trauma and memory, as well as queer history and interventions. He organizes events in academic and artistic fields. Being active in educational politics for many years, he increasingly began to engage with queer politics. Following the traditions of the gay movement‘s drag queens and fairies, he can found at demonstrations wearing high heels as well as on the stage as a part of Tuntenkombo. Before being elected as a board member of the Schwules Museum*, Schulze was active as a volunteer in the museum library and archive. Based on this experience, he wants to give more attention to the somewhat neglected library and archive and strengthen links to the community and science. Furthermore, he sees the Schwules Museum* as an important social space that is brought to life through events and workshops. As a SMU* board member, Schulze wants to further stimulate the development of this social space and help other people and groups to fill the space.

Jan-Claus Müller, born in 1962, has worked as a volunteer at the Schwules Museum* since November 2010. Since then he has worked in all aspects of the museum’s basic daily functions; working at the register, in the café, at museum events, and looking over exhibitions. Since 2014 he has been a member of the Schwules Museum* board of directors. His focuses are in volunteer services, organizing volunteer workshops, and addressing personnel questions. Professionally, Jan-Claus works as an associate director at a large social institution in the field of addiction and psychotherapy.

Dr. Kevin Clarke was born in Berlin in 1967. As a publicist and musicologist, he has worked for different newspapers and magazines including Tagesspiegel, Opernwelt, as associate chief editor at the youth magazine Twist (Bauer Publishing), and as department manager for Playboy, among others. From 2011 until 2013 he was the chief editor of MÄNNER. In his books and essays he continually challenges LGBT themes (Glitter and be Gay: The Authentic Operette Its Gay Admirers, Porn: From Andy Warhol to X-Tube, The Art of Looking: The Life and Treasures of Collector Charles Leslie). He came to the Schwules Museum* by way of an exhibition about operette director Erik Charell (Im weißen Rössl). Later he curated the exhibitions Porn That Way and SuperqueeroesUnsere LGBTI*-Comic-Held_innen. Clarke has been on the board of directors of the Schwules Museum* since 2014 and has developed intensive contact with the press as well as organizing new events in the Schwules Museum* (including, among others, the Black Literature Salon, lectures about India’s third gender, discussion sessions such as „What does it mean to be young and queer today?,” and book presentations with the Cocky Boys). His goal is to establish the museum as a vibrant place for different communities and to bring new groups of people into the museum (for example, the curators of millionaires can be trans* // you are so brave* or the curators of the Turkey exhibition to be held in 2017.

Professionally, Clarke works as an author and curator, for the Vienna Theatermuseum among others. He teaches at various universities, graduate centers, and colleges, and has lead the Operetta Research Center in Amsterdam since 2006.

Mischa Gawronski works as a creative director for publishers such as Bruno Gmünder and Werkkraft. There he is responsible for publishing over 20 books per year. As one of the first in the German publishing, he identified crowdfunding as one of the mainstays of potential business models, and in a short time supervised projects with a total sum of over 300,000 Euros. He studied social sciences and business communication at the University of the Arts Berlin. As a graduate in communications sciences on the Schwules Museum* board of directors, he is interested in strengthening international relationships with relevant organizations and developing suitable revenue models for a museum of global importance. His focus is on the strategic concepts of branding and business models. In addition to his voluntary work for the Schwules Museum*, he is working with gay artists as a creative director and photographer, to develop projects for the communication and monetization of their work.

Kai Vetter was born in 1990 in Bruchsal in Baden-Württemberg. Living in Berlin since 2011, he has been active in the leftist and queer-feminist scenes and preforms as a (political) queen on various stages. Through various voluntary services, a study of philosophy, educational science and gender studies at the University of Potsdam, he has lead a dual course of social work at the University of Applied Pedagogy, where he is also active in politics. In his professional everyday life, he works as a social worker at a Charlottenburg primary school.
Before his election to the SMU* board, Kai worked for two years as a volunteer at the Schwules Museum* and also worked in museum services, where he devoted himself to networking and his current honorary office in the Schwules Museum*.

Vera Hofmann was born in Gießen in 1979, and currently lives in Berlin as an international artist. Before that, she worked for several years as a consultant in advertising agencies such as Scholz & Friends, for diverse DAX corporations, and cultural institutions. Her multidisciplinary, often time-and-site-specific projects, deal with diverse topics such as the financial crisis, nuclear waste disposal, resource depletion, cancer, loss, healing, and empowerment and have received awards and been shown in various exhibition contexts, such as the De Appel Arts Center Amsterdam (2016), Benaki Museum Athens (2015), House of World Cultures Berlin (2013), Palais de Tokyo Paris (2012). She studied photography at the Lette Association Berlin and fine arts at the Sandberg Institute/Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. When the Schwules Museum* moved to a new location in 2013, she, along with artist organization Benten Clay, which she co-founded in 2011, created a photographic tableau of all of the Schwules Museum* employees. With her involvement in the board of directors, she would like to focus on the expansion of the contemporary art department of the museum, help develop a strategic direction for the coming years, and to develop the institution into a lively, inclusive, and magnetic place with a relevant reach to various communities.