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Campus inSaint Petersburg

Conference «RETHINK Participatory Cultural Citizenship», Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark, situated in the East of the peninsula of Jutland.  It was chosen as s cultural capital of Europe in 2017 together with Paphos (Cyprus).  When these cities become “the masters of European culture”, they will hold a number of touristic and cultural events.

The conference «RETHINK Participatory Cultural Citizenship» was the first one of the annual international events within the project Aarhus-2017. It was devoted to the issues of cultural and civic engagement. The majority of the lectures were Danes, although the conference attracted attention of the researchers and scholars from all over the world: Canada, Australia, Portugal, Mexico, France etc.

3-day programme consisted of 27 panel sessions: starting from  “City images and branding» to «Ecology and materiality after the participatory turn» and «Citizen production, democracy and critical deliberation». For the Laboratory of the economics of culture the following sections were particularly interesting: “Participatory museums”, “Urban spaces”, “Art and participatory citizenship/strategies”.

Our report was devoted to the study of innovative behavior of museums and other cultural institutions during the 'Night of Museums'. The goal of the research was how consumers are involved in the formation of the product, in our case - of the museum product.

The conference was opened by Leah Lievrouw, a specialist in media studies from the United States . The influence of media on society in the modern world it is difficult to overestimate, and therefore the study of the interaction with the media is key to the formation of cultural and civic responsibility,she said. Her thought was continued by Karen Hvidtfeldt Madsen, who presented her report on the impact of the gadgets on the transfer and processing of information «Smartphone applications, city museums and cultural heritage communication». The theme of her project was close to ours: in our study, we analyze the comments on the forum of the official website of "Night of Museums » artnight.ru. Our research methods were content analysis and sentiment analysis. 

The research started last year, so we were able to compare the pros and cons of the organization of the event (by visitors of the official site) in 2012 and 2013 and present the results at the conference. We are definitely pleased with positive dynamics: the activity of the museum administrators the in preparation of the event increases and product quality is improved (more and more visitors of the «Night of Museums «are satisfied with its organization). After the presentation, some of the colleagues told me about the pecularities of the "Night of Museums" in their countries. Such a comparison has helpful  for taking another look at the problem of attracting visitors to the event .

In conclusion I would like to say that the conference became a source of the new ideas that will be included in the research, and the high interest to the study by colleagues will be the beginning of further cooperation!