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SESL and Anna Akhmatova Museum Continue Working on "Parallel St.Petersburg" Project

Goethe Institute in St.Petersburg has supported the 2nd part of the project "Parallel St.Petersburg" in the framework of the Year of Germany in Russia.

Goethe Institute in St.Petersburg has supported the 2nd part of the project "Parallel St.Petersburg" in the framework of the Year of Germany in Russia. A new stage called "Multischool" will be implemented together with partners from the Bremen International Graduate School for Social Sciences (BIGSSS). The traveling exhibition will begin in autumn 2012, but preparation work has already started.

SESL and Anna Akhmatova Museum organized the project "Parallel St.Petersburg"during traditional museum festival "Children's days in St. Petersburg" in 2010. Social scientists and artists were shooting video-interviews with migrant children in schools of St. Petersburg and conducting master classes with 1st and 2nd graders in the framework of this project. Received materials were included in the interactive exhibition "Parallel Petersburg." During three weeks (Autumn holidays) exhibition was visited by more than 2500 students from St. Petersburg and Leningrad region. Due to the success of the exhibition and its obvious relevance it was decided to continue and develop this project.

SESL and Anna Akhmatova Museum continue this work in 2012. The second phase of the project is called "Multischool", and is supported by a grant from the Goethe Institute in St.Petersburg in the framework of the Year of Germany in Russia. Charity foundation CEC Artslink provides assistance in organizing visits of foreign guests. Exhibition materials are used to organize new portable and mobile exhibition and a special program for its demonstration right in schools. The project is scheduled for three schools. For this exhibition mobile modules that will include video interviews with young migrants and local kids will be designed. Furthermore, art objects will be created by their hands. This will form the exhibition space where artists will conduct master classes with children and sociologists plan to organize "lessons of tolerance", which will be conducted by HSE students.

Experts from the Bremen International Graduate School for Social Sciences (BIGSSS) will be involved in new stage of the development of the concept of the exhibition. BIGSSS sociologists work practically in the same areas as the SESL. They are engaged in studies of migration, education, and extracurricular activities, they also develop network analysis as one of their major methods. This is the reason why cooperation with BIGSSS is particularly interesting and useful for the Laboratory.

Joint work with German colleagues is an important part of a new phase of the project. The first visit will take place within the framework of cooperation in the nearest future. On May, 21-26 Alexa Meyer-Hamme, a young scholar from BIGSSS, will visit Saint-Petersburg. She is studying migrant children and extracurricular activities in Germany. Alexa will give a lecture at the Fountain House. She will tell teachers and other visitors about German experience in integration of migrants, including extra-curricular activities. After this, the concept of the exhibition will be discussed. Also, two seminars on migration and integration via the system of full-day schools will be held in the SESL. Visit of professors Wingens and Windzio and two graduate students from BIGSSS is scheduled for October and November 2012 in order to continue working together.

by Veronica Kostenko