CCA Temporary Gallery is not only an institution, but a network. In this series we want to introduce you to the people who are involved in our work and make the realization of our projects possible.

After you met Paulina Seyfried in the previous and first issue, today we introduce Paloma Nana, coordinator for areas of social responsibility. What this means and what Paloma's career aspirations were as a child, you can find out in the interview. Please meet: Paloma Nana!

Interview and editing: Nelly Gawellek

How are you today? How did your day start, what did you have for breakfast?

Paloma Nana: I'm fine so far, thank you! I'm a little relieved that it's still relatively mild outside. I had cereal for breakfast, with a little too much cinnamon. But I actually like it a little heartier in the morning.

What is your profession?

PN: It's not so easy for me to describe, because I'm in the process of figuring it out for myself. It works very well by just getting into action, improvising and trying things out. I think I'm a "cultural space designer" in a way. I try to bring together different people, topics, questions and objects and to create spaces for encounter, conversation and action that might not otherwise arise in this form. In doing so, I ask myself how we can create warm, vibrant spaces within cultural institutions that are not, as is so often the case, suffused with an academic severity and exclusivity.

How did you get to know the Temporary Gallery?

PN: I got to know Temporary Gallery in 2018/19 through the Academy of the Arts of the World. At the time, I was a working student in production there and became aware of it through the change in management. I regularly visited the exhibitions, then co-organized a reading circle on Afrofuturist quantum physics almost three years ago, and so one thing eventually led to another.

What is your role at the Temporary Gallery? What are your tasks, what is your personal goal?

PN: As "Social Responsibility Coordinator"—the title is a bit overloaded—I work together with my colleague Paulina Seyfried to develop methods and practical proposals for action on how we can sustainably open up the Temporary Gallery as a cultural institution. We are primarily concerned with accessibility—in the spatial and linguistic (keyword: accessibility), as well as structural sense—and with a concomitant sensitivity to various socio-political realities. My focus is, among other things, on creating new networks for youth and young adults inside and outside Temporary Gallery, in close collaboration with Cologne's youth and educational institutions, but also in cooperation with local schools. I think it's important that young people, regardless of their socioeconomic positioning, have the opportunity to get to know cultural work with all the different activities it produces as a potential career prospect. In addition to the youth education program that my colleague Ana Manhey and I are developing together, I am also currently coordinating the Temporary Gallery's residency program for curators and artists and am very excited to have interdisciplinary curator and writer Luiza Proença as a guest here this fall.

What is it like for you to work for Temporary Gallery? What do you like about the job?

PN: I like the variety, the flexibility and the unconventional-experimental aspect of the curatorial orientation of the Temporary Gallery. The interaction is familiar, appreciative and at eye level. Aneta is open to new impulses, perspectives and projects. That leaves a lot of room for maneuver and so the collaborative project work really makes sense.

The initial question about breakfast of course hinted at your participation in the last exhibition at Temporary Gallery (Cooking as Performance, 2023). Why don't you tell us a bit about your project "Kalk schmeckt!" How did the idea come about? How did it go?

PN: "Kalk schmeckt!" was a collaborative project from the beginning and was developed in close cooperation with Elizaveta Khan, director of In-Haus e.V. in Cologne Kalk, and her wonderful team—a big thank you to Sharon, Amir, Fadi and Salman! Our goal was to activate the water tower behind the Köln Arkaden for the first time as an informal meeting place for young people, artists and cultural workers to establish initial points of contact and identify interests and needs. The topic of food evokes strong feelings or memories for most people. So we invited the youth to map the neighbourhood of Kalk according to their favorite culinary places and exchanged ideas about the meaning of food, while sharing snacks or learning to prepare sushi ourselves under the guidance of artist and chef Gaku Yamane and his wife Azusa. In fact, during our meetings, it turned out that sushi from REWE supermarket is one of the most popular dishes among young people.

In the course of the project, we also created profiles of various Kalk-based restaurateurs, which can be accessed via QR codes on postcards. 
"Kalk schmeckt!" was part of the Temporary Gallery's overarching youth education program, which we are continuing this month in the form of a longer-term collaboration with the Katharina-Henoth-Gesamtschule in Cologne Vingst. The idea is, as a non-profit art association, to help shape art education in schools and to use this participation, or possibility of intervention, as an opportunity to introduce artists' positions and social discourses that are usually not included in the classical textbook. We believe that through direct contact with artists and other actors in the arts and culture sector, students will experience art differently, feel that their own artistic practice is taken seriously, and become aware of their self-efficacy.

What career aspiration did you have yourself as a child?

PN: When I was a child, I always wanted to be a forensic scientist and a singer, a somewhat strange combination, I know. Music is still a nice balance to my job. In my next life, maybe I would give forensics another chance.

What do you wish for the rest of the year?

PN: I know that wishes can be very important and groundbreaking, but right now I'm trying to have less concrete expectations for the future. Especially in collaborative processes, I think it also takes a strong willingness to move away from dogmatic linearity or to negotiate compromises that feel coherent for everyone involved.

Is there anything else you'd like readers of this interview to know about you or anything you'd like to share?

PN: No, that's what the analog world is for ☺.