Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the 7th annual Experiencing the Museum conference and invites participants to join a collective discussion of the past decade’s achievements and possible scenarios for the future development of inclusive projects.
Block 2. Museums and communities
HOW TO TAKE PART
Advance registration is required.
Events will be interpreted into Russian Sign Language and accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We care about the health of our visitors and follow the decree of the Moscow government, by which a visit to the Museum is only possible with a QR code and an original passport.
Visitors under 18 do not need a QR code but must be accompanied by an adult with a QR code. Personal protective equipment must be used at the event.
Museums and Communities
The second weekend of the conference Experiencing the Museum is a reflection on the role of communities in the inclusive practices of cultural institutions. The word “community” can be heard more and more frequently in relation to the museum context, with museums striving to create or accumulate around them various communities, such as deaf visitors or people with migration experience. Engaging such audiences seems to be a perfect opportunity to make the museum space more open and polyphonic as well as instigate profound shifts in established practices and relationships through the development of new narratives around museum objects, exhibitions, or subjective relationships.
On February 18, Garage will run a workshop on the principles of launching new interpretations of museum objects, a discussion based around the work of Russian and British cultural institutions with various communities, and a workshop on the methods for evaluating the effectiveness of inclusive practices.
The events within the Museums and Communities block are organized with the support of the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow as part of the UK – Russia Creative Bridge 2021–2022 international program.
Workshop: Rethinking the Museum: New Interpretations of Objects and Relationships Around Them
Museum collections (especially ethnographic) bring together objects related to a particular stage in the life of a community to create an illusion of its representation. Such objects are moved and analyzed depending on the personalities who placed them in the museum environment. Such politics is called into question today.
Workshop visitors are invited to rework texts and stories accompanying selected items from museum displays. Together with experts, the Museum staff, and activists, participants will suggest new labels for select items of Kubachi* ceramics from the collections of Russian and British museums. One possible strategy, for example, is to shift the focus to the origin of a particular object and its connection with the community. This collective action is set to become a reflection on a new interpretation of museum exhibits and forms of inter-museum interaction, whereby all participants would be heard and have equal rights.
*Kubachi is a mountain village in Dagestan, whose dwellers have preserved in their home collections multiple examples of fifteenth–eighteenth-century Iranian dishes.
Nastya Indrikova is an independent researcher of museum collections. She is the ethnographic and photo editor at EastEast, author of the Telegram channel Murmolka about museum anthropology, former photo director and producer of the project Big Museum and photo editor of the educational project Arzamas.
Shaheen Kasmani is an artist, educator, producer, and curator. She co-curated The Past is Now exhibition at Birmingham Museum in 2017–2018. Shaheen specializes in Islamic Art using paper and textiles and aims for her work to be part of telling a story and reclaiming forgotten narratives.
Attending the conference is available with advance registration.
Participants will have access to simultaneous interpretation to Russian and Russian Sign Language.
The event will take place at Garage Education Center in a hybrid format. Participation is possible online or offline. Please indicate the format convenient for you in the registration form.
Discussion: Communities in and around Museums: Interaction Practices and Principles
Operating in the direction of inclusion and, in a broader sense, of social justice, museums are increasingly focusing on people, seeking to establish communication and build a dialogue with various audiences. Within this vein, inclusive programs are positioned as work with communities. However, it is not always obvious what these communities are and by what criteria they unite or are being united in the practices of cultural institutions.
The discussion brings together Russian and British culture professionals who implement projects, in one way or another, designed for different communities, such as elderly people, people with migration experience, or deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors. The conversation is set to help return to the origins—by defining the very term “community” (using versions proposed by participants) and subsequently discussing collectively the principles of interaction, who and how constructs them, whether the relationships between institutions and communities are mutually beneficial, and how they influence and change each other.
Siobhán Forshaw is a curator and researcher, currently working as Curator: Community Programs at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, UK. She will present on Voices That Matter, a two-year project at the Whitechapel Gallery that collaborated with women and people of marginalized genders living in London's East End, from mostly Bangladeshi and Somali origins. The project opened up questions about the dominance of spoken English in the art world and the politics of translation when delivering learning and participation programming.
Marianna Kruchinski is public programs curator at the Typography Center for Contemporary Art, Krasnodar. She is responsible for the Center’s film program and for the design of inclusive projects in cooperation with the Generation, Open Environment, and Good South foundations.
Marianna will talk about her experience of launching a dance laboratory as part of the Garage Screen Film Festival and other practices of interacting with the city’s various communities.
Dr. Tehmina Goskar is Curator and Director of the Curatorial Research Centre, Art Fund Headley Fellow at the Museum of Cornish Life, and a Fellow of the Museums Association.
Tehmina will present the project Citizen Curators (2017–2021), a work-based curatorial training scheme aimed at the communities of seven museums in Cornwall, a rural and coastal region with huge wealth disparities, remote from large urban centers, and with very limited access to high-quality informal educational opportunities. From the start, the program was pitched as an experiment in cultural democracy. Unlike larger, more wealthy museums and universities, Citizen Curators was formed from the grassroots for the grassroots, with a very modest budget provided by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund. It resulted in 80 people being successfully trained in curatorial skills, modern ethical practice, and critical museum awareness. Tehmina’s presentation will reveal some of the key findings of the active four-year research project to show how successful such participatory and democratic learning programs are, their limitations, and the realization of a more diverse and inclusive museum community and workforce.
Vlad Kolesnikov is a speech pathologist, Russian Sign Language interpreter, teacher of supplementary education at School #52 for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children, curator of Accessibility and Inclusion at GES-2 House of Culture, and co-curator of the Deaf Teens program at the project school Kaskad. Project as A Method. From 2015 to 2018, he developed programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and from 2018 to 2021, he was head of accessibility and the implementation of inclusive programs at the State Historical Museum. His professional interests embrace education of deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences and their involvement in the overall cultural context.
Vlad will talk about the studio Kruzhok Kvadrat, an adapted extra-curricular education program for deaf and hard-of-hearing children that has been operating at Special School No. 52 since 2019. Kruzhok Kvadrat introduces students to jobs in arts and culture to help them with future career choices. The program uses special methods and techniques, including various forms of work that respond to each student’s individual needs in terms of development and education.
Rana Ibrahim is an Iraqi archeologist, a freelance collage artist, and the founder and director of the project Iraqi Women Art and War (IWAW). Rana will present IWAW, a women’s community group based in Oxford and established in 2018. The project gives women who have been affected by conflict an opportunity to process their experiences and tell their stories through art.
Asel Rashidova is a manager in the Inclusive Programs Department at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
Tom Green is a Senior Producer at Counterpoints Arts, an organization that works in the UK and internationally on the arts, migration, and social change.
Attending the conference is available with advance registration.
The event will take place at Garage Education Center with broadcast on the Museum's YouTube channel.
Workshop: Outcomes and Results: How to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Inclusive Practices?
What do we hope to achieve with inclusive programs? As workers of cultural institutions, we aim to create the feeling of belonging, empowerment, confidence, and comfort. However, these notions are difficult to measure objectively. Since inclusion work is never visibly finished, how can success be measured?
This two-part workshop will explore measuring impact and change achieved through inclusive programs by exploring motivations, imagined futures, and risk assessments. We will begin exploring the theory and then analyze a case study to work together and see, during the practical session, how to apply some of these ideas to measure impact and change achieved, as well as how to report on them to achieve transparency and advocate for the further development and promotion of inclusive practices.
Rachael Minott is a Jamaican-born artist, curator, and researcher. She is currently Inclusion and Change Manager at the National Archives and trustee of the Museum of Homelessness. Researcher and co-curator of the exhibitions The Past is Now: Birmingham and the British Empire (2017), Within and Without: Body Image and the Self (2018) with Birmingham Museums Trust. As an artist, she has exhibited in the 4th Ghetto Biennale in Port au Prince, Haiti (2015) and the Jamaica Biennial (2017) and held her solo show Thinking about Jamaica at Willesden Gallery, London (2019).
Attending the conference is available with advance registration.
Participants will have access to simultaneous interpretation into Russian and Russian Sign Language.
The event will take place at Garage Education Center in a hybrid format, with the possibility of online and offline participation. Please indicate the format convenient for you in the registration form.
Experiencing the Museum at MEGA Teply Stan
This year, the conference Experiencing the Museum invites participants to explore new formats (to add variety to the usual lectures) and new locations (to spark up dialogue and interactions in non-obvious places that exist parallel to culture and education). Going outside the museum can help find the next required steps “after inclusion,” which will require a flexible approach to dealing with various degrees of exclusion that exists on all levels of access to knowledge and cultural values. This is why the conference will take place at the shopping mall MEGA Teply Stan. Artists Katrin Nenasheva, Aziza Kadyri, and the creative collective Pobegi will show their projects targeted at interaction with chance—or at least unprepared—participants.
As the space of the shopping mall can bring together people with different experiences and belonging to different communities, artistic interactions there offer a a logical continuation to the conference’s ambition to work with communities and the questions of difference in general.
The "shoots collective invites MEGA visitors to forest—an installation featuring video documentation of the winter landscape nearest to the shopping center.
The forest space brings us back to contemplations on the origins of our life as an equal part of nature. The forest is free from social and urban structures, from the concept of "power" per se. A forest in the shopping mall space allows one to take a break in the abstract game of capitalism, the embodiment of which a shopping center can be. The installation forest frees you from the traps of discounts and cashback, inviting you to stay alone with yourself. Few manage to get out of the city into nature today, and some even find such a pastime uncomfortable, especially in the winter.
At the same time, even a winter forest maintains the temperature of the shopping center, so, despite the visual likeness with something natural, it is merely a simulacrum perhaps. And in the shopping center's environment, it turns into yet another product.
Rather than providing answers to questions, forest encourages the audience to reflect and later express their ideas at a general discussion/tea party.
"shoots" is a self-organized artistic collective. The purpose of the self-organization is to build horizontal, sustainable, and sensitive relationships in the world of contemporary art through local events and major festivals.
Project contributors: Daniil Dvinskikh (idea), Alexey Orlov (technical assistance), Tonya Komarova (filming), Vlad Bondin (sound), Nastya Sekunda (coordination)
Workshop: Co-creation on the Shopping Center's Digital Layer
The shopping center often becomes the only free accessible venue for young people to socialize and spend time together. Artist Aziza Kadiri wonders whether standardized mall spaces can operate as a real safe place and invites visitors to a joint reflection and workshop.
As part of the workshop, Aziza will introduce participants to augmented reality tools and invite them to complete exercises on associations, share personal attitudes to the venue, and pose requests toward it. These ideas will be translated into drawings, collages, or images and then into augmented reality. Divided into groups, participants will take photos or videos of them, creating a piece that could become an alternative to street art or a way to transform or enhance the space. The resulting works and their documentation will be used to compose a kind of archive of the augmented and virtually appropriated MEGA store.
Aziza Kadiri is an interdisciplinary artist working with augmented and virtual reality, theater, and experimental costume. Her projects explore the themes of identity, migration, decolonial optics, and liminality.
Action: Quarrel with Me
Artist Katrin Nenasheva invites visitors to a shopping center to talk about diversity—of experiences, cultures, perceptions—in a dialogue-based game format. At the tables of MEGA's restaurant patio, Tasty Boulevard, you can discuss a story proposed by the artist or tell your own. The stories declared during the action will be documented on a typewriter and appear on the food court tables in real-time.
Launched in 2020, the action Quarrel with Me is a reflection on the increase in domestic violence cases during the pandemic. The action took place on the streets and in yards in Petersburg, Yaroslavl, and Krasnodar, and in 2022 continued in the entrance halls of residential buildings in Moscow.
Katrin Nenasheva (b. 1994, Krasnodar) is an actionist artist, psychoactivist, and director. Representing the third wave of actionism, her works implement an interdisciplinary approach to explore the life of closed communities, one of Nenasheva's key methods being the engagement of a wide variety of people not related to art, regardless of their age and education, in actions and art projects. She is the founder of Urban Self-Expression Headquarters—the first creative platform aimed at generating art activist practices.
Discussion-performance: after a winter forest walk
We invite MEGA visitors to sit down at our table and discuss the projects on view today. Let's look together for answers to the following questions: what negative or positive emotions do certain artworks invoke in you? What is contemporary art, and why can it seem incomprehensible? What is the figure of an artist?
We will also talk about the practice of "shoots" sprouting from various art communities in order to discuss what useful or harmful consequences the activity within the framework of such self-organizations can bring.
Along with Mega visitors, speakers who will contribute to the discussion and share their opinions include the members of the "shoots" collective Katerina Bychkova, Daniil Dvinskikh, Tonya Komarova, Alexey Orlov, Nastya Sekunda, and Vlad Bondin, artists Katrin Nenasheva and Aziza Kadiri, and moderator Valentin Diaconov.
The conversation will be documented and, in the future, can be published as a zine—a small-edition samizdat magazine.
The idea of the discussion: Katerina Bychkova, event coordination: Nastya Sekunda
Free transfer from Teply Stan Metro to MEGA Teply Stan and back will be provided for registered participants of the event.
Film Screening: Code of the Freaks
Taking Tod Browning's classic film Freaks as a starting point, Salome Chasnoff looks back at the history of the representation of disability in Hollywood, discussing particular cases with activists, researchers and filmmakers.