Villa Aurora – Team Los Angeles

Margit Kleinman | Director

Margit Kleinman
Margit Kleinman

Margit Kleinman studied French and German linguistics and literature in Würzburg and Paris and holds an MA from the University of Tübingen/Germany. From 1987 to 2012, she was the program director at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles.
In May of 2012, she assumed the directorship at Villa Aurora.

Dr. Claudia Gordon | Administration Officer

Claudia Suhr Gordon
Claudia Suhr Gordon

Claudia Suhr Gordon studied Egyptology, Sociology and Coptic Studies at the University of Göttingen, Germany where she earned her M.A. and filed her dissertation on Ancient Egyptian first-person narratives. From 2002 – 2007, she was the Director of Villa Aurora, where she has served as Administration Officer since 2010.

Friedel Schmoranzer | Project Coordinator

Friedel Schmoranzer
Friedel Schmoranzer

Friedel Schmoranzer studied German Philology and Sociology at the University of Konstance (BA) and holds an MA in studies in editing from the FU Berlin. From March 2010 to November 2010 she was Chief Editor for the catalogue Transatlantic Impulses - 15 years of Villa Aurora at Villa Aurora Forum Berlin. In 2011 she was assistant to the director at Villa Aurora Los Angeles, there she serves as project coordinator since 2012.


Thomas Mann House – Team Los Angeles

Dr. Steven D. Lavine | Founding Director

Dr. Steven D. Lavine
Dr. Steven D. Lavine

Steven D. Lavine has been president of the California Institute of the Arts from 1988 until June 2017. Previously, he had served for eight years as a program officer for arts and humanities at the Rockefeller Foundation, with special concentration on media and museums, and from 1974 to 1981 he was an assistant professor of English literature at the University of Michigan. Dr. Lavine currently serves on the board of directors of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Endowments Inc., KCRW-FM National Public Radio, and KCET-Public Broadcasting, and the Cotsen Family Foundation, as Co-Chair of the Arts Coalition for Academic Progress for the Los Angeles Unified School District and on the Advisory Committee for the Asia Society California Center and the Cultural Policy Network Project of the Center for Arts and Culture, and as a member of the Public Programs Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Operating Company of the Music Center of Los Angeles, the Board of Directors of the American Council for the Arts, and the Visiting Committee of The J. Paul Getty Museum and has been co-director of The Arts and Government Program for the American Assembly at Columbia University and co-chair of the Mayor's Working Group of the Los Angeles Theatre Center. He participated on the Architectural Selection Juries for the new Los Angeles Cathedral and the Los Angeles Children's Museum. In 1991, he co-edited with Ivan Karp, Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display; in 1992, the Smithsonian Institution Press released their second co-edited volume, Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture.

Dr. Nikolai Blaumer | Program Director

Nikolai Blaumer, born in Düsseldorf in 1983, studied at Ludwigs Maximilian Universität Munich and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He earned a doctorate in philosophy from LMU with a dissertation entitled »Korrektive Gerechtigkeit. Über die Entschädigung historischen Unrechts« (Campus Verlag, 2015) and taught at Ludwigs Maximilian Universität as well as Bauhaus University in Weimar. Since 2014, Nikolai Blaumer has been working for the Goethe-Institut’s Department of Culture. He is co-editor of the book "Teilen und Tauschen" (S. Fischer Verlag, 2017). In February of 2018, he was posted to Los Angeles, where he assumed the position of program director at the Thomas Mann House.

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House – Team Berlin

Annette Rupp | Executive Director

Annette Rupp
Annette Rupp
Annette Rupp was born in Hessen – Germany. She studied German Literature, Philosophy and Science of Education in Muenster and Berlin, followed by additional studies of cultural management. At the same time, she became an accomplished musician on the organ and trumpet.
Her professional career took her to the University of the Arts in Berlin, where she taught project management. From 1998 to 2005, she produced 30 documentaries and directed audio books for Ventana Film- und Fernsehproduktionsgesellschaft mbH.
From 2005 to 2009 she worked at the headquarters of the Goethe-Institut in Munich, producing audiovisual media. She was director of the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles from 2009 to 2011.

Dr. Pipa Neumann | Administration Officer

Dr. Pipa Neumann

Pipa Neumann studied economics at the TU Dresden, where she also received her Ph.D. After several years of work in controlling, among others in a leading position at the De Gruyter publishing house in Berlin, Pipa studied art history at the Freie Universität Berlin. In April 2017, she she joined the Berlin office of Villa Aurora as the new officer for administration and finance.

Mirko Lux | Communications and Project Management

Mirko Lux

Mirko Lux studied modern German literature studies and art history in Berlin and Siena. During and after university Mirko worked as a freelance journalist and photographer. Since May 2013 Mirko is responsible for communication and project management in the Berlin office of Villa Aurora.