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Ung forsker gæster instituttet i 6 måneder

Varvara Kobyshcha fra Moskva er gæsteforsker på instituttet

Instituttet har indtil midten af maj 2016 besøg af Varvara Kobyshcha, som kommer fra "Higher School of Economics", der ligger i Moskva. Varvara har vundet et stipendium "Danish Government Scholarship for 2015-16" for overbygningsstuderende.

Vi har bedt Varvara skrive et par ord om sig selv og sin forskning:

I am a fourth year postgraduate student at the Department of Social Sciences and a junior researcher at the Center for Fundamental Sociology (Higher School of Economics, Moscow). My research interests are related to the fields of sociology of art and aesthetic perception, material culture, urban studies and cultural sociology.

During the last four years I have participated in a number of academic and non-academic research projects, three of them are worth mentioning here.
The first one is two-year complex research project conducted by my colleagues and me for the Polytechnic Museum (Russia) and the “Event Communications” agency (UK). Polytechnic Museum is one of the largest Russian scientific museums, which was closed for reconstruction. In order to elaborate the conception of renovated museum and reveal the cultural impact of current collection, museum managers and the design group demanded the analysis of real and potential audience’s characteristics: behavior in the museum, interpretation of certain exhibits, social parameters, knowledge and attitude to science, leisure practices etc.

The second project titled “Graffiti and Street Art in Cultural Cityscape” was carried out by the group of teachers and students of Higher School of Economics. It was aimed at studying graffiti and street art as multilayered and complex urban phenomena and at developing approaches to their conceptualization. The third is the multi-disciplinary practice-oriented project called “New Image of Towns in Moscow Region” where I worked with a group of architects and urban planners. The main result of the project is a strategy of development of public places in two towns (Lubertzy and Dzerzhinskiy). The first stage was analytical: in order to find out a) different types of existing public places and b) specific ways how different categories of residents use the space of particular town I conducted a series of observations, short interviews and focus-groups with local inhabitants. These data were combined with the materials of urban planning analysis, which allowed to reveal the socio-spatial structures of the towns and to understand how that structures are interrelated with local urban imaginary, on one hand, and with practices, on the other.

Apart from that, I have been working at the main Russian theatre festival “Golden Mask” as an administrator of the educational programs.
PhD project: Interrelation of discoursive, material and aesthetic factors in the process of the creation of meaning
In my PhD research project I will examine how materiality and discourse co-constitute each other, using the example of production and preservation of folk art objects. My research is based on the data collected during the sociological expedition to Kargopol, a small town located in a north region of central Russia. Kargopol is famous for its specific clay toys craft which ceased to exist in the beginning of 20 century and has been reconstructed from ‘30s till present time. No “original” (18 or 19 century) items of Kargopol clay toys survived. Contemporary Kargopol toy is a coproduction of two main categories of agents. The first category consists of the local craftsmen, who inherited the practical knowledge from older generations of their families, or their students.

The second includes experts – scholars, journalists, museum employees – who have theoretical knowledge of the folk art, provide financial and institutional support and are engaged in the continuous communication with craftsmen concerning the canon of craft. These agents are constantly negotiating what is “folk” in the folk art. Such negotiations to a great extent shape the whole institutional and aesthetic dynamics of the craft. I will show how a constellation of cultural representations (general ideas about the distinctive characteristics of “folk” elaborated in science and popular culture), on one hand, and certain qualities of materials, instruments, situation of production, on the other, results in the peculiar aesthetic form that embodies the idea of “folk”.

Thus, the analysis of this case will contribute the ongoing discussion concerning theoretical approaches and methodology of material culture studies. More precisely, I would like to explain and typologize the modes of mutual constitution of discourse and materiality/aesthetics. Under what circumstances and how discourse is able to structure material form of objects? And what are the conditions that enable material itself and related material practice to significantly change the discourse?

Redaktionen afsluttet: 10.09.2015