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Campus inSaint Petersburg

HSE − St. Petersburg Students Generate Ideas for Museums

At the annual event for start-up entrepreneurs VentureLab Weekend on March 19-21, participants of the international project 'Youth as a Driver of Museum Development', implemented by the Laboratory of Cultural Economics with the support of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in St. Petersburg, presented three projects that expand the opportunities for museums to interact with visitors.

HSE − St. Petersburg Students Generate Ideas for Museums

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At the annual event for start-up entrepreneurs VentureLab Weekend on March 19-21, participants of the international project ‘Youth as a Driver of Museum Development’, implemented by the Laboratory of Cultural Economics with the support of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in St. Petersburg, presented three projects that expand the opportunities for museums to interact with visitors.

At VentureLab Weekend, aspiring entrepreneurs test their startup ideas for viability, develop business thinking, and practice business English, boosting public speaking and pitching skills. The organizer is the University of Groningen, a partner of the HSE − St. Petersburg project.

Project teams led by Deputy Head of the Management Department Alexander Kaisarov developed and presented projects that suggest museums interactive options for working with visitors: Accelerator for Young Artists, Virtual Reality Tours in Museum, Immersive Museum Audio-Tour App. At the same time, the participants took express courses in financial literacy, public speaking, planning, psychology, filled out the business canvas, and communicated with experts.

The event was attended by 12 teams (more than 50 students) from universities of different countries: the Netherlands, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, etc. After the first qualifying round, the teams were reformatted into new multicultural teams, allowing them to test different value approaches and communication strategies in practice.

The Accelerator for Young Artists team proposed a project to unite young creators of contemporary art artists, photographers, authors of immersive and performance art with each other, as well as to build a relationship between them, museums and museum visitors.

Natalia Boluchenkova, 2nd-year student of the Master's programme 'Business and Politics in Modern Asia', the Accelerator for Young Artists team:

VentureLab Weekend at the University of Groningen is a great opportunity to try yourself in business, management, coaching, and quickly develop necessary skills for your future career. It is important to note that the project is conducted in English, so it may be difficult for students with a level of language proficiency below B2 (Upper Intermediate) to participate in it.

Quickly-built teams imply that the participants have a certain level of communication skills, which will allow them to find a common language with new colleagues quickly, but some interesting technical finds (for example, the virtual environment Gather Town, made in the style of 12-bit games, which makes it possible to communicate online in a virtual room via video chat with tutors and participants or the SCOOCS system) make this process much easier and more fun.

The project broadens the horizons, teaches tolerance, politeness, promotes mutual understanding and interethnic friendship, makes the participants more professional. It is an amazing experience, so I would recommend VentureLab Weekend to every student considering a business career.

The Virtual Reality Tours in Museum team agrees — if you have a really cool idea, but do not have enough experience to promote, sell and apply it, then this event provides the necessary tools to implement your plans in the future, and the organizers and coaches sincerely support you and help professionally.

Anna Yurchik, 1st-year student of the 'Economics' educational programme, team of Virtual Reality tours in Museum:

Before the 'weekend' itself, we were asked to team up with another team, and we had to combine ideas quickly: a museum quest and VR. We decided to present the audience with an experience, during which they would 'travel' through the museum, answering questions about the exposition along the way.

The weekend turned out to be very intense, and overall it felt like there had been a whole week. We had the opportunity to attend workshops, where the teachers helped elaborate our business idea, identify opportunities for scaling and create a high-quality pitch. After receiving valuable advice from Dutch experts, we changed some aspects of our business idea, and the result is definitely worth the effort — we developed a high-quality business model, and we are ready to present the project to investors. We realized how important it is to have a team of like-minded people with similar standards for performing tasks to achieve the best results.

The idea of the Immersive Museum Audio-Tour App team was an application that can diversify a trip to museums by giving an opportunity to choose a not boring thematic audio guide and to unite into one community with young people who are equally interested in culture and art. Team members noted the complexity and, at the same time, the fun of the intensive, which took place on the BlueJeans, iChair and Gather platforms.

Alexander Uttu, 1st-year student of Master's programme 'Media Production and Media Analysis', Immersive Museum Audio-Tour App team:

Despite the fact that VentureLab Weekend has educational goals, the curators of the programme — respected entrepreneurs, coaches, and experts from all over the world — listened to our presentations and asked questions as if we were on equal footing with them. Together with the enthusiasm of students from other countries, this gave confidence and excitement to our team, as if we were already accomplished professionals. It is no wonder that some of the past VentureLab Weekend participants subsequently succeeded in building their businesses!