To start with, the portal presents over 230 digital cultural projects: mobile applications, online performances, virtual exhibitions, concert broadcasts, podcasts, blogs about culture and many more. Most of the initiatives are presented personally by their authors — in short interviews, they talk about creating projects in a pandemic, share practical experience on their own examples and give colleagues useful advice. Prerequisite for the creation of a specialized Internet resource was the Culture Online Award granted to the best creative online projects in 2020, organized for the first time by the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum.
Russian cultural organizations have put forward digital projects for the award, which were actively created during the period of the strictest anti-coronavirus restrictions that changed the traditional format of the work of cultural institutions. The number of bright, rich in content and original digital projects submitted for the award led organizers to the idea of collecting them all on one site and promoting them among everyone who is interested in culture, as well as constantly replenishing the collection by finding and identifying new initiatives on the Internet.
The main goal of the project is to show and make available the latest cultural initiatives in the online environment to a wide interested audience, thereby contributing to the digitalization of culture and the development of creative industries as a new promising direction in the economy. One of the first to support the idea of creating an educational digital project was conductor, tutor and public figure Yuri Bashmet, whose joint project with the Russian Culture Fund and the Russian Concert Agency. “Victory Day” song performed by a consolidated team of 1000 young musicians” received a special jury prize of the Culture Online Award in 2020.
“Difficult situation that developed last year around the world in connection with the pandemic pushed all of us to search for extraordinary solutions. It is wonderful that the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum, with which I have been cooperating with great pleasure for several years, has taken the initiative to hold a special Culture Online Award. We were all looking for different ways not to lose touch between musicians in restricted conditions, not to lose touch with the public who did not have the opportunity to go to concert halls and theaters.
All this paved the way for new creative digital projects, which were created with great enthusiasm by both well-known and very young cultural figures. And the Culture Online web portal, which was created by the Russian Culture Fund in cooperation with the Cultural Forum, gathered all these achievements on one platform. However, it gathered not only the prize winners, but also a huge number of other projects of no less interest. This is an important step – to collect and to show the best examples, to give inspiration to the creators of new projects. As for me, my “Victory Day” song project was very important and emotionally valuable for me myself. And the fact that we managed to gather almost 1000 performers from different cities of our country who responded to our initiative and that a huge number of technical specialists helped us to implement this project is really very rewarding for all of us. It was also rewarding for those who participated in the preparation and performance of the song on May 9, and for all those who could then watch it on the Internet. According to our estimates, more than 1.5 million people watched the “Victory Day” song performance on May 9.
Our times really push us to search for new, non-trivial solutions. I’m always interested in figuring out how to use the opportunities provided by the digital space in an interesting, new way. It is wonderful that we have allies — our friends, long-term partners who treat this with the same attention and interest as ourselves,” maestro Bashmet said.
Online projects already presented on the Culture Online website include projects by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the Russian Museum, the St. Petersburg State Academic Philharmonic named after D.D. Shostakovich, the musicAeterna collective headed by Theodor Currentzis, the TASS news agency, the Russia Today media group, the Okko multimedia service and many other cultural institutions, media and IT companies. Creation of a specialized portal was also supported by Vladimir Gusev, General Director of the Russian Museum, who presented several of his most ambitious online projects at once.
“The Russian Museum supports the Online Culture project, which collects the best digital projects in the field of culture. They include the Russian Museum projects as well – online course on contemporary Russian art, AR application “The Last Day of Pompeii”, tour of the Russian Museum created in conjunction with the Stay Home with Russian Seasons project, and many more. Each tour allows users to discover new information about the museum complex and its collections, which reflect the millennial history of Russia and Russian art.
In 2020, online audience of the Russian Museum has grown to 20 million people and the official website of the museum has been visited by more than 4 million people. Cycles of online programs have been developed for broadcasting on the museum’s website and social networks. They are gaining tens, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of unique views. During the period of unwanted closure of the museum, the number of views of our projects posted on the museum’s social media pages amounted to 46,600,000,” Vladimir Gusev noted.
Founder of the Fund for the Support and Development of Musical Art, People’s Artist of Russia Igor Butman highly appreciated the initiative of the Russian Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum. As the musician noted, the variety of projects presented on the site will not only open up worthy cultural initiatives to the audience, but also inspire them to create their own bright projects. Igor Butman’s Fund also presented its project on the Online Culture website – #stayhomejazzchallenge music contest.
“The Russian Culture Fund has set a difficult, ambitious task — to gather all the online cultural projects on one platform. It is very important to make the best practices available for permanent viewing, to teach, to share experiences and tips that will help many new projects to appear on the Internet and thereby make culture more accessible. Our #stayhomejazzchallenge contest, which led to the creation of the #JAZZDAYATHOME concert, is one of the clearest examples of how important it is to unite and jointly create high-quality and interesting content that promotes jazz in the digital environment. We hope this experience will inspire other musicians to work on creating similar projects,” Igor Butman said.
Database of projects on the Culture Online web site will be regularly updated in the future: anyone can share an interesting online project in the field of culture by filling out a short form on the site.
Culture Onlineis an educational digital project by the Russian Culture Fund in cooperation with the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum on Cultural Initiatives on the Internet. Culture Online web portal introduces innovative cultural Internet projects collected on a single web resource, which is quite convenient. The main goal of the project is to show and make available the latest cultural initiatives in the online environment to a wide interested audience, thereby contributing to the digitalization of culture by stimulating the creative processes and the development of creative industries as a new promising direction in the economy. Projects can be annually nominated for the Culture Online Award, which takes place within the framework of the International Cultural Forum in Saint Petersburg.