Languages Without Borders Educational Center, VTB, PJSC



A series of films in Russian sign language about unique temporary exhibitions in museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Authors of the cycle managed to step away from the standard gestural commentary on the background of paintings and create full-fledged video-guides based on the dialogue with the exhibition visitors.
The first cultural podcast for the deaf in Russia was created by the team of the Languages without Borders Educational Center in March 2021. The first video-guide is dedicated to the work of the artist Robert Falk at the State Tretyakov Gallery. It was shot in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Video-guide includes unique paintings from museum and private collections. Video-guide is a result of the joint work of the museum experts, VTB Bank and the team of deaf and hearing-impaired guides of Languages without Borders Center.
The second video was shot at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center and showcases the Little Arts exhibition of more than 130 works by Isaac Levitan, Vasily Polenov, Valentin Serov, Ilya Repin, Mikhail Vrubel, Konstantin Somov, Kazimir Malevich, Antonina Sofronova, Lev Bakst and other artists. VTB Bank became the general sponsor of the exhibition. The third series of the project is dedicated to Pavlovsk and tells about the Pavlovsk Palace and its park, as well as about the first school for the deaf in Russia.


How to come up with an outstanding online cultural project?

Coming up with the ideas is great,иut it happens that life and circumstances themselves create the conditions for the idea to be born. We used to make "classic" video guides where one presenter talks about the museum's exhibits. But in the era of coronavirus when everyone was staying home it was necessary to create a content that catches people. We offered a project to VTB Bank, they tossed in their own ideas and it turned into a collaboration, which has already resulted in several very worthy -video-guides in Russian sign language.

What hidden pitfalls should be kept in mind?

For our project it's the implementation. You cannot simply "go out and do it". There must be experts of the highest level: Russian sign language specialist, deaf actors who can professionally convey complicated text in Russian sign language, deaf operators and editors. Project itself is a kind of collaboration between the deaf and those who can hear.

How can you understand which if the project is worth making?

You should make projects which are demanded but supplied by anyone. This is the law of the market. We are trying to market our organization as a social entrepreneurship. Yet the Languages without Borders is an entrepreneurship. Deaf employees of our training center noticed that there is a huge number of entertaining videos in Russian sign language in social networks, but no educational ones. So we decided to solve this problem as much as possible. The value of our project for the deaf is that they can visit an exhibition or a museum without leaving their home and in a way which is convenient for them. This is especially relevant for the residents of the regions distant from St. Petersburg.