The Magical Khakassia: Innovative and Intrapreneurial Aspects of Museum Management Highlighted at “Siber Il” Forum

26 Jul

A snapshot interview with Dinara Khalikova, Project Director of ICOM, Russia and Afanacy Gnedovsky, Executive Director of ICOM Russia

 20160629_1002411. Why the International Forum “Siber Il” , held in Khakassia Republic in July 2016 was so important?

The VI International cultural and touristic forum “Siber Il” was devoted to the theme “Cultural industries”. This topic was proposed by ICOM Russia to the Government of the Khakassia Republic because of the discussions and outcomes held during the previous edition of the event. Cultural industries play a key role in the growth of innovative economy nowadays. They open new opportunities for socio-economic and cultural development of territories while at the same time they serve as a source of personal and professional development. Apart from the fact that cultural industries contribute to the diversification of economy, they create new jobs and can attract additional extra-budgetary sources for financing of cultural organizations and projects in a sustainable mode.

In today’s context of globalization, local communities are seeking their cultural and regional identity. Museums have already started to act as territorial community centers that engage citizens and care about the preservation of cultural heritage and traditions of a place. We should also keep in mind that due to the global crisis many institutions in the social and the nonprofit field (including cultural organizations) has faced serious budgetary cuts. In these difficult circumstances cultural industries bring to museums special benefits, as they are a source of additional revenues.

In light of these considerations, the museum section at the Khakassian Forum aimed to discuss diverse museum practices of creation, production and dissemination of cultural products and services by museums. We focused on how museums cooperate with local authorities, businesses, tourist companies and public agencies to facilitate access to cultural goods and services. We shared successful cases for building effective strategies for communication with other stakeholders in different cultural industry branches. In particular, we looked at the collaborative work of museums with artisans, craftsmen and other creative workers, which help to produce distinctive goods and attract audiences.

2. Was the Forum a unique event for the region? Why Republic of Khakassia is so special and magical?20160701_161738

Yes, the forum “Siber Il” is referred to as the main cultural event for the Republic of Khakassia. Moreover, the Head of Khakassia Mr. Viktor Zimin considers culture as the main driver for the development of the territory. This forum is a remarkable initiative for the region because it helps to attract influential cultural workers and cultural institutions from other parts of Russia as well as from abroad. “Siber Il” implies not only conference and thematic sections, but also a craft fair. This gives a unique opportunity for locals to meet with outstanding performers and see masterpieces from different museums, as well as to present their own cultural assets.

Khakassia is a magic place because of three components: cultural heritage, natural heritage and the people living there. Khakassia, according to experts, is the “archaeological Mecca”. There are about 30 000 various archaeological and other cultural monuments on the territory of the region. Unique sites in Khakassia can be dated back up to Paleolithic age, and thousands of buran mounds are rooted in the VIth century b.c. Khakassia differs from other regions of Russia with its peculiar relief, unique flora and fauna that attract tourist from all over the world. Moreover, of course, we admire local inhabitants who are preserving their intangible heritage, traditions and beliefs. They are very hospitable and warmhearted. It is unforgettable moment to have traditional lunch in a yurt in the mountains, listening to folk songs….

20160629_1704143. In your opinion, what are the main results of the Forum?

The first result is that we have highlighted the importance of cultural industries among a wider cultural community, governmental authorities, and museum specialists. We all are aware that museums and local communities produce cultural and creative products – there are many souvenirs based on local traditions. Museums are focus for development of cultural tourism and local crafts. However, there were little or no discussions in the region that all this could work as one mechanism – as an “industry” and could become a vehicle in the economy of the institutions, the region, and the country. In addition, it was very important to hold these discussions in Siberia, because local museums have a relevant basis to undertake an active position in the development of cultural industries. Their “market” is relatively new and therefore free of global trends. This is why local museums use their own traditions and collections. They preserve and promote the traditions in the region and such a strategy is the key to success. We strongly believe that they should keep it this way. The problem is that business is not included in this process and museums have to invest their own finances.

There has been a little but significant shift in rethinking of a museum work during the Forum. Entrepreneurship in a museum does not contradict its main function of preserving cultural heritage. It is not about pursuing of profit but about innovative and creative nature of the museum activities. The development of entrepreneurial spirit in the museum team is a basis for its successful work on creating interesting projects for visitors, attracting sponsors and collaborating with other partners. This point was highlighted during the practical workshop when local museums in groups presented their project ideas for the expert “jury” in a role-playing mode.

Based on the professional discussions during the forum and the experts’ presentations, ICOM Russia prepared a Resolution of the museum section within the VI International cultural and touristic forum “Siber Il”. The Resolution was disseminated among the Forum participants by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Khakassia. We hope that this document will be used by museums as a recommendation for their further development.

4. Any “lessons learned”? What would you change in the next edition of the Museum Section as part of the Forum?DSC00564

As a result of the Forum, we consider the necessity to extend the museum section in two days. On the first day the speakers will present papers that reflect also practical cases together with theoretical considerations. The second day has to include specialized master classes and seminars on diverse key topics. We aim to involve wider audience in the discussions and to provide an opportunity for everyone to share their ideas and seek professional feedback from others.

Some of ICOM Russia’s forthcoming events until the end of the year include:

  • Jubilee conference of the Tver picture gallery
  • International project and a series of trainings on carpet weaving (November 16-19th, Baku, Azerbaijan)
  • Discussions among the museum workers and university representatives on educational programs and courses and the need to improve in the future (December)
  • Third international annual conference “Corporate museums today, devoted to the theme “Fostering the audience of the corporate museum is the key element for the economic sector development”


Our plans for 2017 are still not fully completed at this stage, but among the events to be held are:

  • International festival of museums “Intermuseum” in Moscow (May – June)
  • International conference “Corporate museums today” in Kaluga
  • Russian-Dutch conference “Sustainable dialogues”
  • International cultural and touristic forum “Siber Il”
  • Museum Forum “Museum and Revolution” in Saint-Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Omsk
  • International conference on cultural industries in Rostov the Great (May)
  • A series of trainings on learning the basics of working with people with disabilities for the museum professionals
  • Study tours for museum workers: ICOM Russia – ICOM Serbia
  • Joint conference ICOM Slovakia, ICOM Check Republic, ICOM Germany and ICOM Russia (October)

We are open for collaboration and joined initiatives with local, national and international partners. We strongly believe that well elaborated partnership strategies lead to mutual benefits for all parties involved and help for placing museums and other cultural institutions as a catalyst for the social, cultural and economic development of the cities and regions.


Unicult2020: A Platform for Learning, Networking, Collaboration and Partnership

17 Jun

A Snapshot Interview with Daniela Urem

Unicult photo11. What is your main motivation to initiate and run Unicult2020 International Arts & Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Programme? Why in Rijeka?

Cultural producers and workers, young or experienced have fewer opportunities for training and professional exchanges. So it came from a real need. My desire was to provide professional training from various angles of cultural practice and offer a collaborative structure, an applied learning environment and to provide an open, flexible, theoretically grounded platform, combined with practical fieldwork experience.

Rijeka is well-known for the artistic scene and it has wonderful cultural resources that should be nurtured and promoted all over the world. Unicult2020 was initiated as a part or Rijeka’s nomination for the European Capital of Culture in 2020. After one year from its first edition, Unicult2020 takes place in Rijeka the winner of the ECoC title for 2020, promoting the importance of training in the cultural management and cultural policy field in the ECOC context, mediating and facilitating meetings with Rijeka2020 ECOC team or experts in developing European cultural programs and strategies and to developing a network of professionals and practitioners transferring their know-how and skills in the creation and proposal of programs, methods and approaches.

Our motivation now is to develop Unicult2020 product in other countries, becoming more and more known not only in Europe and an example of intensive, professional and dynamic Lifelong Learning Programme. A small step was already made this year. I was invited by the European Commission as a speaker at the plenary session from the first day of the Forum called „Can culture help re-launching economic growth” and it was an honor to be there and present Unicult2020.

2. What is the uniqueness of this program and its innovative elements? How is it different from all other existing programs and summer academies in the field?

Unicult2020 is not a regular summer school. It is about networking, collaboration and partnership. It is aimed to bring together experienced international experts in cultural policies and art management next to practitioners, artists, producers, academics with a great eager to find solutions to the problems of the cultural and arts world.

Furthermore, Unicult2020 is a Lifelong Learning Programme and is in conformity with Bologna Process higher education standards and the European cultural management and cultural policy educational standards. Therefore, the quality of the lecturers, participants and activities is a must. The two weeks spent together are intensive and the combination between lectures, mentoring sessions, behind the scene activities, mapping of the city and workshops makes this program unique and dynamic.

We offer a platform for the target group and lecturers to develop new collaborations and remain in connection even after the summer-school ends.

3. What do you expect from the second edition of the programme in July 2016 with the special topic on Financing the Arts and Culture?

Coherence – because this edition is focused on one main subject of general interest for cultural workers, therefore the objective through the lectures proposed by the invited experts are relevant and clear to those who want to apply. And because it is such an important and debated issue, we expect motivated participants coming from the independent sector as also from public institutions from Europe and beyond.

For this year, we also created two sub-programs related to the topic of Financing Arts and Culture. The first one, Unicult2020 Refugees’ integration through education, art and culture, created by University of Rijeka, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in collaboration with the Centre for Peace Studies with NGO Taste of Home, Zagreb will award 3 scholarships for refugees which includes free participation at Unicult2020 second edition. The second one, named ECoCs in Focus, is a wandering site-specific guided tour of Rijeka from the perspective of the Rijeka 2020 Bid Book. Focusing on a few places where Flagships have their “genius loci”, revealing the structure and logic of the strategy for a European Capital of Culture.

4. What are the qualities and competences of the team of lecturers? uNICULT PHOTO

First of all, we choose to work with experts and specialists in their field of activity, who are respected and renowned and with a great desire to give from their experience. This year, each one of the lecturers will approach the topic of financing arts and culture through various perspectives that are linked to each other: Fundraising, Ethics and Identity, Innovation, Entrepreneurship in creative industries, Building partnerships, Importance of networking, Cultural and social inclusion, development of audience in the online community, funding opportunities, tools and models for cultural policy.

We will have: Chris Torch (Low budgets, big ambitions), FritzieZie Brown (Fundraising and the committed cultural manager), Lidia Varbanova (Entrepreneurship and Innovations in the Arts and Creative Industries), Milena DragičevićŠešić (The development strategy, city and region: ethics of cultural policy and cultural management), Nina ObuljenKoržinek (Cultural policy: key concepts and current trends), EminaVišnić ( Partnership building and networking), VukĆosić (Architecture of participation), DavorMišković (Art & games – analysis & strategies) and DarkoLukić (Invisible audiences – inclusive cultural production).

 5. Who could apply to join the programme, why and how?

Unicult2020 is designed for academics, researchers, students, cultural operators and professionals, representatives of international organizations, cultural institutes and institutions. We also invite anyone interested in the topic of culture and arts to contact us and if the motivation is relevant, we are more than happy to receive their applications. The application process starts at the beginning of every year; therefore, everyone has enough time to find scholarships if needed, organize their time, think about the relevance of the programme to their study or work experience and goals. All the compulsory documents and information about how to apply can be found on our website:

For any questions people can contact us any time at




Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century: 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture, Malta

21 May

ifacca7th World Summit on Arts and Culture: At the crossroads? Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century

The 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture is jointly hosted by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) and Arts Council Malta (ACM), the Maltese Government’s national agency for development and investment in the cultural and creative sectors.

The World Summit is the most important and longest running international gathering of professionals and practitioners involved in cultural policy and arts funding.  Held every two or three years, the World Summit on Arts and Culture is the only international event of its kind in the arts and culture policy field. World Summits provide a distinctive platform for national arts councils, ministries of culture and other agencies active in the global arts and culture sector to:

  • discuss and exchange experiences and ideas about key issues affecting public support for the arts and creativity
  • engage in insightful, stimulating debate and discussions among policy makers within the context of contemporary global and national challenges;
  • challenge or affirm current practices by benchmarking good practice;
  • create networking opportunities to build relationships and potential partnerships; and
  • develop the networking, organisational and advocacy objectives and interests of IFACCA and its members.


Theme: At the crossroads? Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century malta

The 2016 Summit will be held in Malta – a country situated in the heart of the Mediterranean, always found at the crossroads, where cultures have been meeting and interacting throughout history. A wonderful place to host this unique international event and to stimulate international discussions.

The 7th World Summit will bring together key decision-makers and actors involved in addressing the challenges of funding the arts; supporting the development of the creative industries and the cultural development of communities; and promoting to the world the initiatives and achievements of the arts and culture sector. Given Malta’s Mediterranean location, the Summit also offers a unique opportunity to consider the intersections between Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The focus of the 2016 World Summit on Arts and Culture, will be on Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century.  The arts and culture can be considered to be at a crossroads – faced with many challenges and opportunities at the global, national and local level such as: the impact of new technologies on the production and distribution of cultural goods and services; threats to global security; new patterns of migration; changing contexts at the national level including austerity measures and continuous requests for reform; aspirations from artists and culture operators to extend their impact and outreach to other sectors, while also struggling to guarantee freedom of expression and ensure cultural diversity.

Cultural leadership which understands and takes into account the changing realities of today’s world becomes fundamental for ensuring that the arts and culture are seen as pillars of social development in the 21st century. Traditionally, the concept of leadership was associated with the top-down approach. Today, leaders can no longer be identified solely based on their positions in governmental or governance structures, but rather on their ability to articulate a vision and bring about change. It is crucial to affirm also the role of artists, leaders of networks and advocacy groups or professional organisations, whether they are at the local or international level, to maximise the range of stakeholders involved in actively debating and proposing solutions for the contemporary challenges of the arts and culture sector.

Aimed at reflecting on the changing perception and role of leadership at different levels, the programme of the Summit will be organized around three thematic clusters:

  • Global developments having an impact on reforms of the governance of culture in the 21st century
  • National arts and cultural policies in need of vision, innovation and leadership
  • Bottom-up approaches and trends: the role of leadership at local levels

The debates during the 2016 Summit will focus on number of questions – who are the key players? How are the decisions being made? Who provides leadership for development opportunities? What does the concept of leadership represent for different cultures and how do we address the needs and expectations of future generations? How do we articulate priorities and who is responsible for innovative solutions and changes?  How do governments and civil society share responsibilities and collaborate?

My Presentation: Intrapreneurship and Innovation as Vectors of Cultural Leadership in the New Global World

It is an honor for me that my proposal is accepted and I will attend the World Summit as a speaker and panelist. Such a wonderful opportunity! I intend to focus on cultural leaders as intrapreneurs and the need for creating intrapreneurial climate as well as to constantly innovate in order to run a cultural organisation in a sustainable mode. I will be presenting key theoretical concepts, models and cases from diverse countries.

Today we live in a globalized and connected world that brings new international opportunities as well as obstacles for cultural organizations and their leaders. In the context of scarcity of financial resources worldwide, the 21st century cultural leaders require more than ever strategies and methods to create an intrapreneurial innovative climate in their organisations and projects in order to achieve sustainability, to reach global audiences, to increase their international image, and to find new partners. Cultural leadership nowadays is no longer associated just with the position in an organizational structure, or with personal traits. It requires special abilities for creating an intrapreneurial climate of ongoing innovation and seeking opportunities for sustainable financial models through engaging diverse stakeholders on international scale, while at the same time undertaking certain amount of risk.

The term intrapreneurship, or internal entrepreneurship, is a relatively new phenomenon, still very little explored in arts and culture sector and rarely connected with the theory and practice of cultural leadership. Intrapreneurial climate is usually described in the management literature as one where the team is given freedom and opportunities to innovate and is encouraged to do so on a long-term. Creating an intrapreneurial climate in the arts and culture sector in public institutions, nonprofit organisations and business ventures depends on several variables, among them: organisational structure, leadership style, size of organisation and sector in which it operates. One of the general rules is that the more flexible, open, collaborative and international the organisation is, the easier it becomes to foster an intrapreneurial climate.

My presentation focuses also on several key characteristics of intrapreneurial climate, created by a successful strategic leader: flexible organisational structure, innovative and autonomous team, feeling of shared ownership, ongoing experimentation and innovation, organisational sociability, risk-taking behavior, appropriate motivation techniques, securing ongoing investment in research and development, and more.

nina-fotoThe Programme Director of the 7th World Summit

Nina Obuljen Koržinek graduated from the Academy of Music and Faculty of Arts of the University of Zagreb. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph. D. in Political Science from the University of Zagreb. She has also completed a one-year programme at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. Nina Obuljen Koržinek works as a research associate at the Institute for Development and International Relations in Zagreb (IRMO). In 2004 she received the European Cultural Policy Research Award for her research on the impact of the EU enlargement on cultural policies which was published in the book Why we need European Cultural Policies: impact of EU enlargement on countries in transition, Amsterdam, 2006. Nina Obuljen Koržinek held positions of State Secretary (2008-2011) and Assistant Minister (2006-2008) at the Croatian Ministry of Culture where she was responsible for the sectors of arts, culture and media. From 2001 until 2006 she was a member of the Steering Committee of the International Network for Cultural Diversity. From 2012 until 2014 she was the Chairperson of the Programme Council of the Croatian Radio and Television. In 2013 she received the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Ministry of Culture.


Over 400 delegates from over 70 countries are expected to attend the 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture. Delegates will include: IFACCA members and affiliates; arts funding agencies; ministers of culture and ministry representatives; senior arts leaders; cultural industry sector, arts companies; community arts organisations; arts supporters and advocates; artists and cultural workers; researchers and academics; arts educators and administrators; private foundations and more.

For further information, go to:


The Entrepreneurial Strategy in the Real World: Davender Gupta’s Advises and Lessons Learned

22 Feb

20160217_114425Davender Gupta is a coach and mentor to many entrepreneurs through his company, Startup-Académie, and programs such as Startup-Académie 101, FastTrac TechVenture Québec, Startup Weekend (Québec, Sherbrooke and Montreal) and Lean Startup Machine. His passion is to guide high-performance entrepreneurs to develop the clarity, the confidence and the discipline to successfully execute on their ideas. His first 15-year career as a military aerospace research and development engineer led to a second career, experiencing first-hand the startup boom of the late 1990s. He then pivoted into a third career as a Venture Catalyst and Entrepreneurial Leadership Coach, helping hundreds of startups and scaleups across Canada and overseas to transform their ideas into impact. His fourth act is building an “Entrepreneurial Amplifier” and seed fund to support tech scaleups earn their first $1M-$10M of revenue. Davender is also very active in developing the regional and national startup ecosystems. In 2013, Davender was named as one of “Canada’s Top Ten Rockstar Mentors” by Startup Canada and Futurpreneur Canada. Most recently, he completed the MIT-Sloan School of Management “Entrepreneur Development Program”, an elite-level international intensive in innovation-driven business strategy and growth.

Davender was so kind to join my classes on Strategic Management at Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University last week and share his 20160217_121049viewpoint on strategy, related to startup companies and entrepreneurs. His guest lecture was very much appreciated by the students. Below are some of the highlights:

  • The importance of every strategy is how you create, deliver and harvest value.
  • Strategy is a guide, but not the answer. It is about exploring choices and it has to be adaptable to the reality. The moment you execute a strategy, it becomes invalid.
  • Strategy is to look at problems and find solutions, not to justify ideas.
  • It is important to ask yourself the question: is your idea a strong foundation for growth? How does it measure up to the four Ps:

* People: Who are the stakeholders of your idea and how many of them you could get to contribute to your growth?
*Purpose: How does your idea resonate with the stakeholders and does it have a strong, responsible and compelling purpose?
*Passion: How does your idea tap into the passion of your stakeholders? Would they contribute to your growth?
*Profit: What is the result that you will create with your idea? How will your stakeholders benefit? How can you be rewarded for the impact and results you make?


  • When elaborating a strategy, it is important to choose the right market and industry segment. Business ventures are complex entities and it is often difficult to define the exact industry branch where the company will compete. In what business are we in, and how to compete are the two important angles of strategic choices.
  • Strategy is a hypothesis. You need to dig down to what you don’t know about what you don’t know – and what the market doesn’t know about what the market doesn’t know.
  • The strategy needs to be agile and to be able to adapt to the changes and the real world in real time. Strategic plans are dynamic-in order to be useful, they should contain a room for changes.20160217_121530
  • Strategy is about choosing between equally viable alternative strategic commitments. This requires knowledge that can only be gained through experimentation and learning.
  • When elaborating a strategy, there is no “right answer” other than that which honours what you stand for.
  • Smart entrepreneurs are not “risk-takers, but “risk managers”. The goal of the entrepreneurs when elaborating and executing a strategy is to change the game in their own favour. This is actually the only strategy that counts.

Davender’s talk provoked students to ask over 30 questions at the end of the class.He took time after the classes to answer to all of them-a big Thank You for that on behalf of the students! Below are only a small portion of questions and answers:

1. What are the biggest errors an entrepreneur can do that would lead to a business failure?

-          Focusing on “building the thing” rather than focusing on solving a real problem for a real person.

-          Not choosing the right people: most business failures are team and people failures, not financial or technical

-          Starting a business “to get rich”: there are easier, faster and cheaper ways to make money. Start a business for the right reasons, primarily because you are “in love” with what you’re doing.

2. What is the most challenging risk that you have observed in startups?

-          Shifting from development mode to sales mode and entering the first market. It requires a whole different mindset. Sometimes you need to let people go and bring new people on board.

 3. What advices would you give to someone that wants to work in consulting?

-          Build a network of smart people around you early on.

-          Share your knowledge early and often (blog, podcast, social media).

-          Build a personal brand, be known as a passionate.

 4.  How to find passion? When you find out that someone’s idea is really your passion? How to differentiate from just other things you like?

-          Passion about an idea is like falling in love: you can’t think of anything else other than that idea and it keeps you up at night.

 5. How do you think a company’s growth strategy should change as revenue grows from $10 000 to 100 000 to 10 000 000 to 50 000 000?

-          The first ten customers need to become your best friends. They will buy because they know and love you.

-          The first hundred customers then become your best spokespeople. They will buy because they know you and want to help you.

-          The first thousand customers need to be your true fans. They buy because they are meeting you and love what you’re doing.

-          At that point, your customer base loyalty shifts from you to your offer.

-          So at first, don’t be shy about putting a personal face on your company and your offer. Then as the company grows, put the offer first.

6.  It appears that the hope of 2015+ is around tech-apps, sites, platforms…and product ideas are discouraged. Is it getting too crowded?

-          Disagree. The movement up until recently was more apps and software because the tools were developed to make it cheap to build software. Now with 3d-printing, Arduino, etc, I believe the next wave is more hardware. I am specifically looking to invest in tangible things rather than just software.

 7.  How to you coach to deal with uncertainty?

-          Visualize the future as if everything will go right and act in the moment as if everything will go wrong.

 8. What are specific tools entrepreneurs use to identify what they don’t know?

-          Validation of hypothesis around what people need and what they want


9. Do you believe an undergraduate diploma in entrepreneurship is worth anything to actually start a company?

-          The popular belief today is that the only way to learn entrepreneurship is “on the job”, that you learn by doing. However what I see is that this leads to too many blind spots that end up sinking great ideas. I think that you need to learn the basics of aerodynamics before taking the controls of a jet fighter. I like the trends at McGill and Concordia to integrate learning about entrepreneurship and doing it at the same time.

Davender is convinced that “in the future we need a new generation of citizen-leaders who are crystal-clear about their purpose, who are powered by the passion of a big vision and who transform the status-quo by mobilizing communities of people to build systems that create profit and prosperity for all“. Hopefully McGill students will be exactly this types of leaders in the 21st century….Especially supported in such a generous way by business leadership mentors and coaches like Davender Gupta.