Creative Hubs Exchange Programme

Creative Hubs Exchange programme brought together the British Council’s extensive international networks with the personalised and localised reach of hubs to create new connections and opportunities. Creative Hub founders or innovators have learnt from other creative hubs and share information on their different business models, community ethos, values, stories and projects.

Three Turkey based hubs had the opportunity to exchange new ideas for programming, community building and knowledge sharing for one week at one of the following UK creative hubs.

  • Istasyon, TED University Centre for Social Innovation – The FuseBox

Biographies of the participants

Bahar Aksel ENŞİCİ

Bahar Aksel graduated as a city planner from Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in 1997. After working in the NGO sector for two years, she continued her academic career in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (MSFAU), Department of City and Regional Planning. She specialised in urban design and in 2008 she completed her PhD on the on the Relation between City Branding and Urban Design. In 2002 she started to work at MSFAU and since 2010 she has been giving lectures and leading workshops on urban design and city planning at MSFAU, Department of City and Regional Planning as Assistant Professor. Her works are focused on city and art, urban identity/image, city branding, creativity and culture / creative led urban development. In 2012 she became the Vice Director of Creative Industries Research and Implementation Centre at MSFAU, and took part as an organiser and academic in meetings, research and international projects.

Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Creative Industries Research and Implication Centre

Creative Industries Research and Implication Centre was founded in 2012 as a part of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. The Centre was created to foster fresh collaboration between industry and academia, carrying out research into the potential for the expansion of creative industries in Istanbul, across  different sectors and urban space, developing know-how and methodologies for consulting cities of various sizes in Turkey. The Main aim and focus is working to improve creative capacity of cities; capacity building for human resources (professionals, entrepreneurs, local administrators and students etc.) and experience sharing for sustainable development.


Having graduated from Ankara Science Lycee, Direnç Erşahin received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Middle East Technical University. He holds master’s degrees both in Philosophy and Sociology, both received from the same university. He then moved to the UK to study a PhD in philosophy. He worked as a research assistant and lectured at Bilkent University, Middle East Technical University, and the University of East Anglia. He worked indifferent positions at the European Cultural Association and Sinopale Biennial. He currently spends his time at TED University Centre for Social Innovation. 

About İstasyon

İstasyon (TED University Centre for Social Innovation) is a multifunctional intermediary, working for the facilitation of a social innovation ecosystem in Ankara. It is a hub people, organisations and activities working to achieve social change. İstasyon runs a beta-phase social incubation program for social entrepreneurs, NGOs and individuals/groups/projects operating in this field.


Arts have become a part of my life at a very young age with lego and play dough. This adventure continued at Department of Sculpture at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. After my Post-Baccalaureate work, in 2000, I continued my studies as a Fullbright Scholar at SUNY (State University of New York), Albany. The extensive arts activities that I organised for kids during my university years have taken on a new dimension  as I started running these at various schools, art centres and museums in the US. As I returned to Istanbul, I have kept working with children at primary schools and in 2005, I founded PACE Children’s Art Centre. I am continuing my work at PACE Children’s Art Centre with children, families, school and art teachers in both Turkey and abroad; I truly enjoy creative and fun work and learning with children in various projects.

PACE Children’s Art Centre

In 2005, with the support of my loved ones, I founded PACE Children’s Art Centre. PACE is an arts centre that allows children to discover different techniques and materials, be creative and independent and to develop themselves in many different ways. PACE also produces creative projects outside its premises. Our ongoing collaboration with IKSV (Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts) started in 2007 with Istanbul Minifest for Children and Education Programme for Kids and Youth as part of 10th International Istanbul Biennale. Besides, we continue co-producing creative work for children, youth, teachers and families with Sabancı Museum, Pera Museum, Kars Museum, Anadolu Kültür, British Council, TOG (Community Volunteers Foundation), Akbank Art and with collaboration, we enrich our knowledge and extend our horizons.