“The Cultural Mosaic”. Case Studies.

Cultural opportunities are proving to be a vital resource for community development. In Russia too, there have been many successful examples of cultural practices driving economic growth for entire regions. This is possible largely due to the institutional support of such initiatives.

We present below some of the most interesting examples of regional cultural practices, supported by the Foundation in recent years. All deal with complex processes and universal concepts such as values, traditions, identity, mentality, ancestral ties, and collective memory. People can relate to projects rooted in culture as they affect their lives and communities. From revival of forgotten traditions and restoration of iconic landmarks to creation of new communication practices, these projects encourage us to look for new meanings in the familiar and to treat our environment as a possible foundation for future proposals. In this way, a cultural practice can be a mechanism for building greater social cohesion and economic vibrancy.

In many instances, cultural projects require expert examination or consultation (e.g., archeological or historical) and recruitment of qualified specialists into project teams. Yet, a critical factor for a project’s success and ongoing sustainability is community participation at all stages of decision-making and implementation. This process of inclusivity helps develop a shared vision whether the project was first initiated by a local community or an external party. Once responsibility shifts to local residents and turns them from passive observers into active participants, the practice is likely to take root and become a strong driver for economic development in the area.

We have broadly grouped our case studies into three categories, based on what inspired a desire for change.