Making Change: Reflections on the Russian Incubator

The experience I’ve gained as an artist in the American Arts Incubator (AAI) program both abroad in Moscow, Russia and locally in the States has been a journey, to say the least. I’ve made many acquaintances and seen how different and similar it is to live in Moscow for a time. Great insights from the participants were generated throughout the four weeks of AAI workshops and project development.

The participants gained the most when we used the workshop time to interview people at areas of interest — whether at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art or Preodolynie Rehabilitation Center, each had their unique perspectives into the local issues surrounding social inclusion for people with disabilities. Collaboration across cultures and institutions were made as participants of AAI got a first-hand look into those they were creating their projects for, and an in-depth understanding of the topic.

It was exciting to see the projects take off, despite intense deliberations in the choosing of projects, as there were many good ideas among the participants. The projects are headed off to a good start…

The Art to be Open app is progressing into the implementation phase as roles are being reassigned. They want to move forward with their prototype as well as get the message out about their project, reach out for funding, and get help with development.

If you're looking for a meaningful project and a great team — join them! Marina needs a developer to create a platform prototype and mobile app for people with disabilities on the search for affordable recreation.

Marina Tokareva talking about her project. Video courtesy of Marina Tokareva.

Also, check out a recent article written by fellow team member Nika Parkhomovskaya published in the journal Такие Дела (“Such Cases”), a media outlet for articles on social projects and a source of funding for innovative charities and community projects.

The Traveller on a Wheelchair team is also continuing with their project. Recently, they began promoting it through various channels and created a fan page which you can like and follow to stay updated.

Discussing the project and accessible travel. Video: GearPhotoTravel.

Still to come is the US Embassy’s video about the projects and what went on in the AAI program in Russia. Stay tuned!


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