Cultural upgrade ©

British Council Russia

2013 saw The British Council and Severstal launch the first professional development programme for cultural managers in the Vologda, Murmansk, Karelia and Komi regions of North Russia.

Russia's adoption of a free market economy has meant its cultural sector has had to adapt to a hitherto unknown set of business demands, including audience development, fundraising, enterprise and digital innovation. Cultural provision has become a competing, market-led affair, so this new set of skills has become essential for cultural organisations, companies and operators across the country.

The aim of the Cultural Upgrade programme is to promote these new skills in the professional cultural sector of these four northern Russian regions, creating an environment of cooperation and professional networking, and developing professional resources.

The skills workshops took place in autumn 2013 and, following a project proposal competition among the participants, winners were invited on a professional development trip to the UK in March 2014. They will also receive grants to complete the projects in their regions.

The programme has been delivered in four stages:

Cultural mapping of the regions (March – May 2013)

Cultural mapping indicated the key cultural organisations in each of the regions, as well as the requirements for professional development in areas of cultural management. Based on the results, British experts developed a programme of cultural management workshops, of which the main themes were:

  • audience development and marketing
  • successful project planning and production
  • entrepreneurship and development of new products and services
  • financial planning and fundraising
  • effective tools for audience development through social media.

Cultural management workshops (September – November 2013)

Two workshops were held in each of the regions for approximately 50 representatives of the cultural and creative industries. The trainers were leading UK experts in the cultural and creative industries:

  • Clarie Middleton, Director of the Hackney Empire theatre in London – cultural management consultant with over 25 years of experience
  • Roger McCann, Director of the international organisation NFA International Arts and Culture – trainer and expert in the international cultural cooperation who has previously conducted workshops in the CIS and Asian countries
  • James Waters, Director of Festivals and Events International – provides services and training in event management, festival management, cultural projects management; director of several large international festivals; over 25 years of experience in strategic planning and production.

Russian cultural management experts were also invited to give presentations at the workshops, covering the local Russian specifics of marketing, financial management, fundraising and project development.

The curator and consultant for the programme from the UK side is Pablo Rossello, Creative Economy Programme Manager for the British Council.

Cascade presentations and projects submission (December 2013 – January 2014)

As part of the programme, participants presented the skills they learnt at the workshops to colleagues and peers in their cultural organisations and shared the professional contacts and knowledge about new technologies in cultural management.

Participants were also invited to submit project proposals, outlining how they will apply their new skills and experience acquired during the workshops. Based on these proposals, the committee invited eight participants (two from each region) to take part in a study tour to the UK. The chosen projects will also receive grants for their realisation.

Professional development trip to the UK (March 2014)

During the UK tour, successful participants will attend professional events and meetings with representatives of UK cultural organisations relating to their professional interests and requirements.

The study tour programme has been developed by Nelson Fernandez, founder of the NFA International Arts and Culture – cultural producer and trainer.

External links