“Nothing is beyond us. There are no limits to what we can do”. Anna Krasinskaya on the new educational year at Strelka

05.10.2012, 07:34
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Anna Krasinskaya, Director of Education and Publishing at the Strelka Institute, talks about the evolution of the educational program, the new agenda for Moscow citizens, and Strelka as a social network.

 

For me, this year’s students have a far better grasp of what to expect during the academic year at Strelka and why they need this type of education.

We changed the application process and added an introductory course to the second round. Students fromRussiaand the CIS came for a two-week introductory period to find out about the institute. They attended a series of training sessions, workshops and interviews. This crucial step helped us to select the most self-motivated students, who are capable of active and independent learning. On the other hand, things are somewhat easier for this year’s students. They can count on the experience of their predecessors. Strelka gets its former students to play an active part in the learning process. They moderate training sessions and come back as guests and experts. This is our own social network.

Every year, Strelka strives to fine-tune its educational approach and the selection of the knowledge and skills that our students will gain during 9 months study at the institute.

The core focus is still on students’ research projects but, this year, we are working heavily with the “instruments” of research. This means the basic practical skills that make research possible, as well as the discussion of different types of research.

In the broadest possible sense, we are teaching people who are capable of qualitative analytical work and possess the capacity for conceptual thought and self-instruction.

We would like our students to develop the skills to take on board “new knowledge” and digest it. Strelka cannot teach them everything that they will need to work successfully in projects on the urban environment. However, we can give them a variety of important skills that will also help with their personal development. Strelka graduates are already in high demand in State and private-led urban initiatives. There is no doubt that this demand will rise with time.

The most noticeable thing is that the theme of a sustainable urban environment is becoming incredibly popular amongst the public.

Muscovites are used to seeing the capital as an anonymous, almost timeless, city. This feeling has changed overnight and thenew cityauthorities are trying to listen to the needs ofMoscowresidents. The theme of public space became topical last year, largely thanks to the work of Strelka. In my view, questions about the city’s future are no longer just for experts, but for the public at large. This has been very pleasing to witness. We can see this in the development of local social initiatives in the city, the interest in Strelka’s open educational programmes, in the media and many other things going on inMoscow.

This year we decided to produce a series of documentary films entitled Strelka Talks.

These involve leading international experts in architecture and urban planning talking to our students about what they see as the key problems in modern cities. These films will be uploaded to the Strelka website for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

Strelka offers incredible opportunities.

We can apply the most interesting international experience to the field of education. On this basis, we can develop what is already topical in Russiatoday and what will be topical in the future. Nothing is beyond us. There are no limits to what we can do.