Master’s Programme 'Arts and Culture Management' Enters a Strategic Partnership with the State Hermitage
Under the agreement between HSE University and the State Hermitage, a separate agreement on a strategic partnership between the Master’s Programme in Arts and Culture Management and the museum has been established. As part of the partnership, Hermitage staff led two courses in the first semester of 2020: 'Art History and Contemporary Cultural Practices' and 'Art Management'.
The courses were taught by renowned art historians, managers, and experts. The head of the programme is Sofia Kudryavtseva, Head of the State Hermitage Youth Education Center. The programmes were approved by the Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky.
The course 'History of Art and Contemporary Cultural Practices' was devoted to the history and modern role of the Hermitage as one of the largest museums in the world. It covered the world-famous museum’s history, the formation of its collection, and the masterpieces of world art that are exhibited within its halls. Students considered different topics ranging from the construction and architecture of the palace ensemble, which was the main residence of Russian emperors from the middle of the 18th century, to the acquisition and formation of unique collections, which became the basis of the museum collection. The Hermitage is an encyclopedic museum, and the course represents the beginning of students’ deep immersion in the museum's complex and multifaceted structure.
Julia Trabskaya, Academic Supervisor of the 'Arts and Culture Management' Master's Programme
'For the graduate programme in Arts and Culture Management, which is aimed at training art managers, the strategic partnership with the State Hermitage is a crucial step. Collaboration with such a great museum is a unique opportunity and an immense contribution to the educational process. The courses were great! I am very glad that we have implemented this complex project, even though there were many difficulties related to restrictive measures. Students had an excellent opportunity to interact closely with the Hermitage and its masterpieces, as well as understand how the most complex mechanism of the museum works. I would like to express my gratitude to the staff of the Hermitage. They are wonderful and unique experts. The courses would not have taken place without Sofia Kudryavtseva, the Head of the State Hermitage Youth Education Center. Thanks to her efforts, we got the opportunity to conduct courses at the Hermitage's expositions and interact with major Hermitage specialists. The courses are essential for gaining expertise, developing a career, and building a student portfolio. Moreover, it is a vivid experience and immersion in the atmosphere, which is vital for an art manager. The students of the programme have repeatedly expressed their admiration for the courses by the Hermitage staff. I am sure they will never forget this unique experience.'
An especially valuable feature of the course 'History of Art and Contemporary Cultural Practices' was that it was conducted at the expositions of the Hermitage. Of course, the restrictive measures related to the pandemic required some adjustments to be made, but the project team managed to cope with this situation.
The students visited the Winter Palace and other buildings of the Hermitage complex, including the General Staff building, the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre, and the Diamond Storeroom. They got acquainted with the collections of masterpieces of the Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, the golden age of Flemish and Dutch painting, collections of Shchukin and Morozov, and many other art objects. Natalya Demina, a research associate of the Department of History of Western European Art, Anna Tyrenko, Ekaterina Bychkova, Alexandra Sheveleva, employees of the Youth Center, led the classes.
Daria Tikhomirova, Master's student, 'Cultural and Event Tourism Management'.
'Attending a lecture in the Hermitage is like a breath of fresh air after a long hibernation. What is better than to walk again through your favourite halls of the Winter Palace, learning new interesting facts about the artists and creators of those times? I would like to thank the organizers and the Hermitage for such a great opportunity.'
Maria Rykova, Master's student, 'Cultural and Event Tourism Management'
'I liked the excursion very much. I finally got a full sense of the layout of the halls, pavilions, and galleries. We also got acquainted with the architectural styles of the palace interiors. Thank you!'
Irina Tserush, Master's student, 'Cultural and Event Tourism Management'
'We would like to thank the Hermitage team for providing us with the opportunity to visit the cradle of our culture, our Russian ark! Special thanks to the guide Maria Kiseleva.'
Abdrakhman Nurkadyr, Master's student, 'Cultural and Event Tourism Management'
'I had never been to the Hermitage before. I only knew how it looked like inside from stories on Instagram. I am very glad that in spite of everything, we were able to go on these educational tours. It was exciting and interesting. I hope that in the near future I will be able to see live everything that I have seen on Zoom.'
The course 'Art Management' introduced students to the theory and practice of museum art management and the current trends in the Hermitage's activities: marketing, advertising, fundraising, endowment, and the introduction of new technologies. It included lectures on the role of museums in the global infrastructure of contemporary art, Western museums and their PR strategies, the importance of curatorship for contemporary art, and the organization of world art events. Anna Tyrenko, Natalia Shapkina, and Anastasia Skortsova — the employees of the State Hermitage Youth Center — taught the course.
As part of the course, students had the opportunity to interact with the heads of museum departments and museum staff, including Yekaterina Sirakanyan, Director General of the State Hermitage Development Fund; Ivan Korneev, Head of the Cross-Museum Communications Department; Aleksei Bogdanov, Deputy Director General of the State Hermitage Museum, and others.
The theoretical knowledge obtained during the course was applied in final projects that the students developed in groups. Students presented their projects of exhibitions, educational applications with AR technology, suggested innovative approaches to reading Ancient Greek mythology using holograms and video mapping, and even presented an interactive mobile game.
All this would have been impossible without the support of the Hermitage staff, especially without the help of Sofia Kudryavtseva, the Director of the State Hermitage's Youth Education Centre, and the HSE staff members Natalia Chicherina, Anna Kotova, Julia Trabskaya, and Aleksei Gorgadze.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the Hermitage leading team members: Aleksei Bogdanov, Deputy Director for Operations; Yekaterina Sirakanyan, Head of the Development Department; Igor Malkiel, Head of the Metal Restoration Sector; Yekaterina Sharova, Head of the News Sector; and Dmitry Ozerkov, Head of the Department of Contemporary Art, all of whom managed to find some time in their tight schedules to meeting with our students and tell them about the various activities of a modern museum.
Sofia Kudryavtseva, Head of the State Hermitage Youth Education Centre
'This project was one of the most difficult but also most exciting projects we have ever undertaken. It was unforgettable for me as the author of the programme's general concept and the staff of the Youth Centre. The circumstances related to the pandemic and severe restrictions preventing us from working with visitors in-person in the halls forced us to change the details of the classes regularly. At the same time, I can proudly say that with the support of the museum leaders, the team of the Youth Center coped with the stressful situation well, and all of the ideas from the programme plan were implemented. We managed to show our great museum in all its glory to the students, to introduce them to wonderful employees, who continue to invest all their strength and knowledge in our beloved Hermitage — one of the most famous museums in the world. As our experienced mentors of the previous generations who survived the ordeals the museum had experienced in the past, once said: 'One does not work at the Hermitage, one serves the Hermitage…' I can emphasize that we were incredibly lucky to host the students of HSE University — each of us who has met them at lectures, classes, on excursions or in workshops believes they are the best! Congratulations to the University on such clever, bright, educated, talented, and hardworking students. It was our pleasure to work with them.'
The Hermitage Stories project is an online detective game with historical storylines and decision-making elements. The goal of the project is to develop a creative product for the State Hermitage and commercialize the museum's presence on the Internet.