Meet the AFEW Culture Initiative Team


Susan van Esch

General & Strategic Lead

Cultural anthropologist by background with over fifteen years of work experience in both the social and cultural fields. She is a strong believer in the cross fertilisation of these spheres and is always on the look out for connecting worlds, ideas and people.

Susan has extensive experience in Public Health and Social Development, addressing HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health rights through diverse means of popular youth culture.

Next to her work for the AFEW Culture Initiative and for Dance4Life, she is a guide at a documentary photography museum in Utrecht, where she currently lives, and loves to ride her bike when the sun is out.


Jan van Esch

Artistic & Curatorial Lead

Dutch visual artist and cultural entrepreneur, devoted to intercultural and community art-based interventions. 

Jan holds an MA in Anthropology and an MSc in Public Health, with an expansive track record in social development work from his years in Russia, USA, Nigeria and Tanzania.

He takes a particular interest in HIV/AIDS and the Eastern Europe and Central Asian (EECA) region from the time he was posted to work for the Moscow regional office of the AIDS Foundation East-West (2000-2004).

Since 2010, his dedication has shifted prominently to the artistic and cultural fields. He has worked as director of the Nafasi Art Space, Dar Es Salaam's largest contemporary art space, and participated in the artist displacement programme of Berlin's ZK/U, in collaboration with the German Red Cross. He is currently based in Amsterdam.


Juan Aguirre

Curatorial/Comms. Officer and Content Editor

Social anthropologist, queer social justice activist and film photographer from Madrid and Buenos Aires.

Juan's personal academic and social projects focus primarily on the intersections of sexuality, reproductive/sexual health rights and the invisibilisation of social minorities in media and public institutions. Previous research-based projects have included the articulation of identities around 'illness' and 'disease' among MSM in post-Soviet societies.

He has previously contributed to the curation and programming of the 2014 and 2016 editions of Saint Petersburg's International Queer Culture Festival 'QueerFest', in collaboration with MANIFESTA. While in the Netherlands, Juan is likewise involved in PrEPnu's advocacy campaigns in favour of more affordable medicines, and never misses the opportunity to volunteer for Amsterdam's Homomonument.


Judith Kreukels

Project Officer

International development professional and human rights advocate.

Judith's work interests revolve around developing a mutual understanding between communities from different cultural backgrounds, to sustain engagement through participatory approaches.

Her previous research was conducted in Argentina and East Timor towards social inclusion of marginalised communities in underprivileged areas of Buenos Aires and Dili. She has likewise taken part in Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs' 'Dialogue and Dissent' programme, aimed at strengthening civil society in low and middle-income regions. 

In 2016, she joined AFEW International, where she currently works as Project Officer. Next to the AFEW Culture Initiative, she coordinates a scheme to fast-track HIV/tuberculosis (TB) responses for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.