The Marble Mile: Culture as a Tool of People's Diplomacy

24/11/2021 17:48

The Yekaterinburg Academy of Contemporary Art hosted a Round Table on the implementation of cultural projects that contribute to the development of public diplomacy. The event was supported by the Representation of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly in the Sverdlovsk Region (Russia).

The exhibition of the young graphic artist from Yekaterinburg Viktor Sysoev "The cities of Stepan Erzya: imaginary sketches" became the reason for the Round Table. It was prepared at the initiative of the Idea Foundation and is timed to coincide with the 145th anniversary of the world famous sculptor Stepan Erzya.

The whole life of Stepan Erzya and his work became a kind of symbol of the Russian sculptural school with a pronounced search for identity in the countries where he lived and worked. The longest period of his life outside his homeland was a trip to Argentina, where he lived for more than 20 years. At the same time, he is well known in Italy, France, Azerbaijan, but in the Urals, where Stepan Dmitrievich lived in 1918-1920, his name is rarely remembered. In the village of Mramorskoye, Sverdlovsk region, the sculptor created his works from gray marble. Nowadays this village hosts the "Marble Mile" Festival of sculptors from around the world.

The Round Table participants emphasized the role of cultural projects as a communication platform for representatives of creative professions. The discussion was attended by Lyudmila Berg, Deputy Minister of International and Foreign Economic Affairs of the Sverdlovsk Region; Sofya Khabibullina, first vice-rector of the UrSAU; Inna Akhyamova, Rector of EASI; Elena Karmanova, Adviser to the Head of the Polevsky urban district; Mikhail Samokhin, President of the Idea Foundation, member of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly.

According to Inna Akhyamova, international projects in the sphere of public diplomacy and humanitarian cooperation are an important link in the professional training of students, since project activities allow to correctly set goals and understand the mechanism for achieving them. The international component in projects that reveal the cultural identity of the territory and the country as a whole, allows you to find common ground with colleagues from other countries, enrich the educational process, and give students real practice in translating ideas.

In the process of implementing cultural projects, according to the participants in the discussion, there is not only the creation of a new creative product, but also active communication between representatives of different countries, their exchange of traditions of national schools of sculpture. Developing, such projects become points of growth for creative industries in a given territory and contribute to its development.

People's diplomacy here acquires specific features, since interaction with local communities, inclusion in the process of business with its interests create an environment for creativity and interaction of representatives of different countries and peoples.

Already in 2021, the Marble Mile festival (a project supported by the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly) in the village of Mramorskoye became an educational platform for students of the EASI and UrGAU. They were given master classes from sculptors from different countries. Today, agreements have been reached between the Uralsky Marble enterprise, the Idea Foundation and specialized universities on the creation of a cultural and educational cluster here with an international component. Now, the Idea Foundation with the participation of EASI students creates a methodological manual in the form of a comic strip, which will present the festival’s experience gained over the years.