St. Petersburg Perspectives on Relations between Art, Social Science, and Museums

On Tuesday 24th April from 18.00-20.00, We host a presentation from three St. Petersburg -based researchers and curators Oleg Pachenkov, Lilia Voronkova & Tatiana Shishova who will share their perspectives on the relations between Art, Social Science and Museum practice. Read more on their presentations below.

This lecture event is part of a Centre For Independent Social Research (CISR) organised research trip to Helsinki, which also explores urban 'cultural factories' and grassroots initiatives. Their visit is part of a series of partnership events between Pixelache Helsinki and CISR within the Pixelversity programme, and is supported byNorden's support for exchange between Nordic & Russian NGOs.

Location: Pixelache Office, Kaapelitehdas/Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1 C 23 (4. Kerros/Floor), Helsinki. (Map)

Oleg Pachenkov & Lilia Voronkova: “The limits of 'professional engagement' and the potential of collaboration between social scientists and artists"

The classical task of social scientist is to study and “understand” social reality: processes, changes, men's interactions, etc. The main principle is – to be an independent viewer, free of value-based judgments, to investigate without giving any evaluation. The results of the research are to be shared within the academic community, and ordinary people are not considered an audience. In the beginning of the 21st century the situation is changing. Social sciences strive to be more public-concern oriented and "public sociology" emerged (term by Michael Burawoy). The ideas of public sociology started to become more and more popular, the formats of communication between scholars and wider audience become more diverse and creative.

A part of the story is emerging collaboration between scientists and artists, and other professionals; such collaborative projects become more and more popular. The boundaries between social science, arts and concerns of everyday life are blurred. New type of activity emerges. It is rooted in the social science expertise; it uses art means and is aimed at changing daily life of people in according to their needs. Being an academic in "ivory tower" is getting old-fashioned and outdated position. The new situation raises new questions that were irrelevant few years ago, and we have to find new answers to them. Where is the border between a socially conscious scientist and a civic activist today? Why social scientists are looking for collaboration with artists and take part in social movements?

Pachenkov & Voronkova will show some projects realized by the members of the Centre for Independent Social Research (CISR, St.-Petersburg) and we together can try to reflect on them and to answer these and other relevant questions.

Tatiana Shishova: "Museum projects: The changing museum in a changing world”

I would like to present a few exhibition projects of contemporary artists, which were organized in collaboration with traditional non-art museums. Objects from the museum collection were exhibited side by side with the works of contemporary art.

The problem of organizing educational programs in frames of contemporary art projects in new art-spaces of St.Petersburg will be also discussed.


Short Biographies

Oleg Pachenkov - Centre for Independent Social Research (CISR), Director, Social Scientist, specialist in cultural sphere and urban development (

Lilia Voronkova - Centre for Independent Social Research, Coordinator of trans-disciplinary projects, specialist in cultural sphere and public projects in social sciences ( Since 2011 she also works for German-Russian organization Damm und Landl, coordinator of cultural development projects.

Tatiana Shishova - Art manager, member of the Association of the Cultural Mangers, worked for 10 years in ProArte foundation on different cultural programs and events (Morden Art in the Traditional Museum, for instance Now she works in German-Russian organization Damm und Landl on cultural projects and as independent curator.