Urban Culture

25.01.2012, 15:39
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The research themes have quite a different approach towards their work. Stanislav Lvovsky, supervisor of the Urban Culture theme tells us about the peculiarities of the working process in their group, the topics they address and the goals they set for themselves.

• In what way is the workflow in your group organised?

Since Strelka is not an academic educational institution, the research implies a greater degree of student autonomy. The function of supervisors, especially at the first stage and until the mid-term review, consists in assisting students with a choice of a relevant and pragmatic thesis, which will contribute to some increment of values in a particular area.  So, the research is built as a series of seminars: once a month they are led by Michael Schindhelm, the supervisors handle the rest of them.  We seek to work with the students closely, and at the same time, we try not to contain them.

As almost all research themes have a comparative constituent (we are interested in comparing post-communist cities), in mid-March the group will have a field research in Berlin.

• This year more people from the environment, which did not relate to the architecture entered Strelka.  Your group has 4 people with a degree in sociology, psychology, design, and curating.  What effect will it have on the research outcome? What will this bring to the Urban Culture theme?

The Urban Culture theme is interdisciplinary in its substance. Some aspects or other of the urban culture are a manifestation of deeper cultural, social and economic processes in the life of the city and society as a whole. We address various problem areas, such as politics and culture of memory; sociocultural and economic role of the modern art; life of expatriate communities; different points of view on the identity of the city, etc. In other words, a considerable thematic variation prompts us to put the research in a broad interdisciplinary perspective. In this regard, we are very lucky that 4 students (out of 9) in the group have no architectural background: this isn’t a guarantee that the research will be integral, but significantly increases the odds.

• What is the overall level of students in your group, have they conducted studies before?  

The level of students in the group is high, surprisingly so, since their previous experience is so different.  The fact that Strelka is not yet a fully formed structure, a work in progress, turns even the lack of relevant experience into an advantage: this way it is easier to search and find unexpected and new approaches.

• What task did you set to the students until the mid-term review?  

We assume that by the mid-term review the students should form the basis for their research.  They will enunciate key research questions; outline a detailed work schedule; nominate experts, which they are going to consult, and make a reading list. Many students have already done a substantial desk research, so we will be focusing not even on the general methodology, but research steps very specific to each case.