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Anastasia Dourida

13 years ago, I was about to graduate as a structural engineer but I didn’t feel that I had an option of putting my profession into positive use for the society. I always thought of Athens as THE place to live, but back then this was considered a joke, so I started wondering why people don’t agree. I postponed graduating, while studying psychology, reading philosophy and travelling when it dawned on me: the city was not preserved at all. This is why the locals did not appreciate it.

I thought of our built environment as a source of massive psychology, which can form our character and our level of self worth. I visualised that if the city changed into its best self, us, the citizens would change too. I decided to affiliate for a restoration master, in Athens Architecture school. I was interested in recent history, the one that forms our contemporary identity and is not valued yet so it gets destroyed before we are able to realize its importance. After finishing, and while working as a restorations expert, an opportunity for a cultural management fellowship in Germany came, through Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Greek Goethe Institut of Thessaloniki. Along with my inner circle of friends, we brainstormed on the idea of a cultural center located in an abandoned cultural heritage building, where local society could interact with international artists. 4 years after, I am the proud president of Communitism Assotiation, running with my team the first community run sociocultural center of Athens.

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