Getting Ready for Research

06.02.2012, 15:49
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A lot has been said last week about the work of the Citizens as Customers studio. Here’s how the other studios described their daily routines.



«Before the midterm review we are working in a mode of reconstructing different processes and events that were going on in Moscow during the last 20 years. In a way, we are looking into different aspects of Moscow, creating a kind of atlas.

Each member of the group has their own topic to cover, like urban planning, media and censorship, creative industries, religion, economics and fairness, governance, family portrait, housing. Right now we are in the process of finding general information on Moscow. There is no joint methodology yet; everyone in our team has a different approach. Some, for example, interviewed a couple of taxi drivers to find information. Then we try to transform these raw materials into diagrams, timelines, graphs etc.»



«For now we are divided into four pairs; each pair is working on a specific zone in Russia. Four zones were defined – Chernozem, Non-chernozem, Siberia and Far East. At the last week’s meeting with our tutors we agreed upon 17 research topics, with overall relevance to all of the regions. Currently each group works on all of these, and by the end of the month we will have created a kind of general atlas or compendium of Russia. Besides, each group continues to work on topics that are considered to be specific for their zone, or refer to our personal interests.

Our main guideline is to not only prepare a collection of facts, but to use them to speculate on possibilities for the future of the Russian hinterland. We have a lot of work to do and are very excited about it. This will be the background from which we will figure out  specific research tasks.

Our studio-day is Friday, that’s when we all meet, but somebody is always working on the first floor of  StudioTri. Otherwise, we have skype sessions with our tutors, where we present and discuss work in progress.»


Urban Culture

«Inside the group there are different subtopics that relate to the main investigation of the urban culture of Moscow. Four students are researching creative industries, with a particular focus on contemporary art and its relationship with the city. Another student is working on Moscow’s brand identity. Three students are working on the architecture of the Stalin period (Seven Sisters and Moscow Metro). One student is working on migration, with a particular focus on the Ukrainian diaspora.

We are quite independent, though we meet our tutors once a week to compile the information we gathered and to find  a common background for discussion.

We are looking at Berlin and Beijing as benchmarking cities for our research since they are two post/communist cities that react in very different ways to the issues of identity, memory and cultural development.»


SENSEable City Moscow

«We try to meet up every day. During the first half of the day everyone works individually, then we discuss and share our ideas. We have an active Facebook page and a list of links on At our last meeting we discussed technical questions, like using particular programmes to share our knowledge more productively.

During our last meeting with Carlo Ratti we had a brain storm session, after which each of us chose two topics that interest us most. We also decided with whom we will work. Basically we are working in two teams at the same time. We started our research not with a hypothesis, but with an attempt to understand what data we can collect and how we can process it. Ideas, suggestions, decisions, problems are born simultaneously.

As of right now, we have a task that we need to finish by February 10. Since we are going to work with students from MIT, we’re preparing a kind of digital guide for Moscow. But it’s not just a guidebook, but more of a mini-research of the digital layers of Moscow. So each Friday we have Skype calls with MIT and send them our updates for the week».