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UniverSSE2017
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Russia: in Saint Petersburg, building solidarities with local initiatives
Saint Petersburg

[By Laura Aufrere, member of RIPESS Europe coordination committee]

During the last RIPESS Europe General Assembly in Zagreb, we had the chance to meet Olga Polyakova, representing TRAVA, a vibrant Russian collective organising peer to peer trainings and meetings, food collecting and cooking happening, tours in Saint Petersbourg, a responsible consumption guide, etc. Thanks to Olga, at the end of September, I had the chance to be welcomed in the warm apartment on Kanonersky island, shared with Gleb and Olga.

Considered as the 16th Republic of the (ex) USSR for its geographic independence, this beautiful island stands out from the rest of the city, patching together a major harbor, its industries and warehouses, apartment blocks, children playgrounds, and promenades. This diversity in the landscape is bound together in a common sound-panorama composed by the wind and the harbor rumors. With the help of many of Olga’s friends in Saint Petersbourg, including TRAVA members, we spent together a whole week of encounter with local initiatives, and there are many. Olga toured me in this beautiful city, explaining the history of the buildings and street names. We passed by the Pushkinskaya 10 Arts Center to pay tribute to Russia’s “biggest Beatles fan”, Kolya Vasin, who became a prominent figure of the underground scene in the 1960s. We visited a charity chop, and many collective initiatives to discuss solidarity economy issues to be shared in future common projects. We were told stories of collective adventures of self-managed cafés, restaurants, etc.

I was invited to present RIPESS Europe perspective on the future of work regarding the digital transformation during the Fall Meeting, organized by the German-Russian Exchange, on the topic “How Is European Labour Changing: organization of work, working spaces and times, new professions and adaptation of education, solidarity economy “. With the other speakers Anja Abendroth (University of Bielefeld, Germany) and Margarita Kuleva, Higher School of Economics, (St. Petersburg, Russia), we had the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues that are shared at a European level by many independent initiatives, with our Russian peers. The French Institute also gave me the opportunity to give a lecture on the “New organisational models in the artistic and cultural field: how to organise the creation processes in common and for the common”, as part of the program of research on urban renewal in Saint Petersburg. This week spent in Saint Petersbourg opened so many warm and welcoming relations, and connectionfor future projects.

This post is also available in / aussi en: French


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