KultúrAktív is a public benefit non-governmental organization dedicated to sensitizing children and young people to the built environment. We organize activities that inspire youth to discover, observe, and understand their immediate and extended environment, and to participate in shaping it. Our activities also strengthen local identity and encourage the participants to take responsibility for the built environment. Our Association is dedicated to advancing and popularizing built environment education by organizing events, publishing professional books, carrying out research, and maintaining a close collaboration with professional and educational organizations.
In our activities, the urban space provides a framework for learning and active participation, and the learning process becomes a catalyst for the transformation of both the built environment and society. Theory and practice are equally important in our work; research, reflection, and working on location with children are parallel activities. We collaborate with other Hungarian organizations and individuals in the field, including architects, educators, schools and universities, professional chambers, and local governments. We intend to raise awareness and disseminate knowledge of built environment education, and to create a dynamically developing and growing professional network.
Among our members there are architects, landscape architects, teachers and pre-school educators, cultural managers, and art historians, who all enrich our Association with their various skills, research topics and methods.
Eszter Tóth, President
I graduated from ELTE with a degree in Art History, Spanish Language and Literature, and Education, and studied International Cultural Management in Germany as a Robert Bosch Foundation grant recipient. From 2006 to 2009 I worked at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest as a museum tour guide, museum educator and lecturer. Currently I am a PhD student at the HafenCity Universität in Hamburg; my field of research is children’s participation in urban planning. As founding President of the kultúrAktív Association, my main goal is to popularize the methods of built environment education. I work with the other members of the Association on various projects for children and educators and on strengthening our international professional relationships.
Ágnes Sebestyén, Vice-president
I graduated from ELTE as an art historian and art history teacher and completed the cultural management course organized by the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany. Since 2002, I have worked as a curator and cultural manager in the field of 20th century and contemporary art. I also worked as a teacher of art history at the Secondary School of Visual Arts in Budapest and the Partium University in Nagyvárad (Oradea), and as a museum educator at the Hungarian National Gallery. I am currently a research assistant at the University of Bern, where I am also completing my PhD in Art History. I am a founding member and Vice President of the KultúrAktív Association, and I have been involved in writing children’s books, organizing thematic camps, writing grant applications, organizing courses in methodology, and translating professional texts.
Anna Szilágyi-Nagy, Vice-president
I am Anna Szilágyi-Nagy, BSc landscape architect. I am currently completing my master’s degree at the HfWU Nürtingen-Geislingen in Germany, dedicated to the revitalization of the Hosszúréti creek watershed. My research focuses primarily on the interests of the non-governmental participants and local citizens and on the topic of participatory planning. I am glad to enrich the Association’s profile with my experience, and am looking forward to doing more work together.
Judit Zajacz, Secretary
As an architect, I have a strong interest in the built environment and how it relates to people’s lives and needs. It was while volunteering for the Association that I first experienced the power of children’s attention. I chose visual education as the topic of my master’s thesis – sensitization . attention . awareness. proactivity –, and in the course of my research I became more and more interested in the relevant methodology. The combination of my theoretical background and the practice of the Association serves as my compass in both everyday life and architectural design; I aim to use it as my guide and seek new opportunities.
Éva Tóthné Pfaff, Financial Manager
I graduated in Business Economics from the University of Pécs, and in Financial Economics from the Budapest University of Economics (now Corvinus University). I also obtained special qualifications in Controlling and worked as a teacher at the Perfect Education Center in Pécs. 25 years of my career were spent working in various areas of financial controlling for the Hungarian Telecommunications Company. I currently work as a project controller for the Hungarian Post. I live in Pécs, and I have an active role in several local NGOs: I volunteer for the service organization Pécs-Normandia Lions Club, for the Rigóder-Domb Association, and for the DTSE. I am responsible for the financial management of kultúrAktív, of which I am also a founding member.
I graduated from the University of Szeged specialising in Regional and Urban Development, Tourism Geography and later on as geography-history teacher. I was working as associate lecturer, urban development rapporteur and primary school teacher. I am currently working for the National Széchényi Library, where I am among others a guide for school groups. I joined the enthusiastic team of KultúrAktív in 2017, because I would like to ensure that children not only get acquainted with their own cities and towns, their own areas and neighbourhoods where they are living, but that by expressing their opinion and recommendations they also actively participate in forming and shaping their own environment.
I hold an MA in Art History and a BA in Classical Philology from ELTE. I organize activities and summer camps for children as the museum educator of the Collection of Classical Antiquities of the Museum of Fine Arts. I am also part of the team organizing the antiquity-themed correspondence competition in the Eos Program. Since 2008, I have been experimenting with adapting the methods of theater pedagogy to interpret contemporary art exhibitions at a downtown art gallery, and in art studios transformed into ad-hoc playgrounds in the framework of the Open Art Studios’ Afternoon initiative. My membership in kultúrAktív is a direct consequence of our previous and current collaborations.
I was born in Budapest and have been living here since then with my family. Through my husband I have connected myself to the city of Sopron. I got my Art History diplom on the Eötvös Lóránd University in Budapest. Since 2002 I have been working with in non-profit and for-profit contemporary art galleries. Together with the coworkers of the Várfok Gallery we led a radio program about contemporary artist in the Civil Radio between 2003 and 2005. Since 2006 I am a home stay mother and write mainly articles and catalogue texts. I am the co-author of the ‘Két egér kalandjai’ (Adventures of two mauses) book series for children about art history. Since 2012 I follow the activities of the kultúrAktív, and since the fall of 2013 I am proud member of the Association. Currently I work together with Szegedy-Maszák Zsuzsanna on the Óbuda for children piece of City is yours book serial.
I graduated from ELTE in Art History, Hungarian Language and Literature, and Preschool Education. I am interested in how cities can be made more livable and how individuals can make a difference. I believe that children should, from a very young age, pay conscious attention to and feel responsible for their environment. I decided to join forces with other like-minded people and participate in the work of the kultúrAktív Association. In my thesis on pre-school pedagogy, I developed materials on the methodology of built environment education for kindergarteners. I am currently working on the book Gödöllő for Children in our series The City Is Yours.
I am a student of art history and preschool education at ELTE. I have been participating in the projects of kultúrAktív as a volunteer because I appreciate the Association’s approach to education. In the past I also volunteered at various museums, including the Hungarian National Gallery. I became a member of the kultúrAktív Association in 2013.
I graduated in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Pécs Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology. Working as an educator, studying urban spaces, and practicing my profession all inspire me to focus on improving the quality of our ever-changing urban environment. I am deeply invested in the future of the environment and endeavor to popularize environmental culture among people of all ages. This prompted me to take part in creating the urban design game ParticiPécs, and to become a member of the kultúrAktív Association in 2014. My main focus as a member of the Association is on urban development, improving the conditions of urban life through active community participation.
I am an art history teacher at the Jelky András Secondary School of Applied Art. During recent years, I also received a grant to work as a curator at the MuseumsQuartier of Vienna, and organized various community art projects in Budapest. My research and creative work are both based on collective methods in the theater and on theater pedagogy. I graduated in Art History and Hungarian Language and Literature at the ELTE Faculty of Humanities, and went on to the ELTE Doctoral School of Education. I joined the kultúrAktív team in 2011, and participated in creating the book The Jewish Quarter of Budapest for Children as the pedagogical editor. From 2013 to 2014 I was a coach in the ParticiPécs urban design project. I am interested in the intersection of art and education, so the interdisciplinary methods used by kultúrAktív are a perfect match for me.
I graduated from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and later on also graduated from the Doctorial School of Architecture at the same university. I started working for the Industrial Building Design Company ( Ipari Épülettervező Vállalat) and in the meanwhile I also participated at the establishment and work of the former Budapest 6th district Property Management Company Block Rehabilitation Designer Group. Since the change of the system I have been working as an architect in my own company. I lecture at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Architecture and occasionally at the Szent István University Ybl Miklós Faculty of Architecture. Typically I am focusing on the rehabilitation and revitalisation of historic buildings. I was granted for this work the Ybl Award, Europa Nostra medal and this was also the my habilitation topic at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. I love Budapest, I have been lecturing in the field of the built environment for several years under various organisations and I also organise city walks for example also in the frame of BP100. I believe that the “maintenance”, management and conscious development of our built environmental is extremely important. It is our fundamental task to raise the interest of the “laymen”, children and all adults, who are not dealing with such matters or who maybe fail to see or who deliberately don’t want to see these matters. Therefore I believe that the work performed by organisations like kultúrAktív is substantial, which is aimed exactly at this matter. This is the reason why I have become member of this organisation.
I am a political scientist currently completing my PhD at the University of Bern in Switzerland. I previously studied at the ELTE Faculty of Law and at CEU. I have worked as a journalist, political copy and speech writer, political analyst and advisor, and PR assistant.
Neither my scientific research nor my jobs have any connection to built environment education; my interest in it stems from being a committed urban preservationist. I am a founding member of the kultúrAktív Association, and serve as a communications specialist and an editor of the city guide books published by the Association.
I graduated from the ELTE Faculty of Humanities in Film Studies, Spanish Language and Literature, and as a teacher of motion picture and media. In the last 5 years I have worked as a freelance journalist and teacher, and I have regularly published articles on movies and culture. I work with small groups and high school classes, and consider teaching to be much more than simply a transfer of knowledge.
I graduated as an architect from the Pollack Mihály Faculty of Engineering of the University of Pécs, and also completed a training in Building Energetics. I have been working for an architecture firm in Pécs for over four years. The topic of my graduate thesis was designing buildings for children, and I hope that my work can draw the children’s attention to aesthetics and the built environment around them. I first worked with the Association on the creation of the ParticiPécs live-action board game in Pécs.
I am a student of the Berzsenyi Dániel High School in the 13th district of Budapest. I have worked with kultúrAktív since the spring of 2015, and became the youngest member of the Association in 2016. I have primarily taken part in the Urbanity project, but attend and help with other events as needed.
From 2007 to 2009 I worked as a museum educator at Tate Modern, holding guided tours for various age groups. I also created and facilitated activities for visitors with disabilities, including people with mental disabilities, blind or partially sighted visitors, and people with hearing loss. In 2010, I was awarded a one-year grant to work as the assistant of the interpretation curator in the museum’s learning center. I next worked as a museum educator in the Budapest Art Hall, where my responsibilities included coordinating international projects, organizing educational programs and tenders, and developing offers for mediating contemporary art. Since 2013, I have been a cultural coordinator of the Blockfrei Association in Vienna. I joined kultúrAktív in 2011.
I studied art history at ELTE and at different universities in the United States (Indiana University, University of North Carolina, Columbia University). Currently I am a doctoral candidate of the ELTE Institute of Art History and an associate of the Budapest Gallery at the Budapest History Museum. With Erika Fekete-Horváth, we are currently working on the book Óbuda for Children to be published in the City Is Yours book series. I have been an active member of kultúrAktív since 2013.
I completed higher education degrees in Visual Education, Lutheran Theology, and Cultural Management. I have several years of professional experience in teaching, organizing camp activities, visual education, and cultural project management. In recent years, I have worked as a senior cultural and environmental project coordinator at the Part Association for Culture, Youth and the Environment in the town of Eger. I also work as a cultural manager organizing exhibitions and events at the Small Synagogue Contemporary Art Gallery and Community Space in Eger. I am the author of the book Eger for Children in the City Is Yours series.
I graduated from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design majoring in Design and Cultural Management, and I also studied intercultural psychology and diagnostic drawing at ELTE. In the past I worked for several Hungarian foundations and various museums in Budapest, conducting guided museum tours, museum education activities and city exploration walks for school groups; currently I am working at the Hungarian Jewish Museum. I have been a member of kultúrAktív since 2011, contributing as a children’s activity organizer, grant writer, children’s book author, graphics editor, and communications expert. I am the author and illustrator of the book The Jewish Quarter of Budapest for Children in the City Is Yours series.
Dr. Gergely László Szőke
I graduated as a lawyer from the University of Pécs Faculty of Law in 2004, and currently work as a researcher at the University’s Department of IT and Communications Law. My main fields of interest are e-commerce, copyright law, media law, privacy, and freedom of information. I have been volunteering for the service organization Pécs-Normandia Lions Club, and assumed the rotating Presidency in 2011/2012. As a founding member of the kultúrAktív Association and member of its Board of Supervisors, I primarily advise the Association on copyright matters.
I graduated from the Budapest University of Technology (BME) Faculty of Architecture in 1987, and completed a post-graduate course in Color Dynamics Engineering in 1992. Between 1992 and 1995, I worked as a PhD student at the BME Department of Graphics, Form and Design, conducting research in the field of color dynamics. Following a few years of internship at a design institute, I became a freelance architect. Over the years, designing livable residential spaces became more and more central in my work as I completed projects of interior design, furniture design, color design, and residential building design. For many of these years, I also worked as a teacher of art history, architecture, and color theory at various interior design schools. Since 2004, I have regularly published articles in various journals of architecture, and this is how built environment education was brought to my attention. I have been actively involved in the field since 2010, participating in organizing children’s camps and activities.
Dr. Szőkéné Rausch, Nóra