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Seminar: Museums. Cultural Tourism. Creative Industries

Seminar: Museums. Cultural Tourism. Creative Industries

REPORT AND EXPERT OPINION

The Seminar was organised by the Mongolian University of Arts and Culture with the support of the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) and in collaboration with the Arts Council of Mongolia. The lectures were delivered and the sessions were facilitated by the experts of the Cultural Policy Institute (CPI) which is an independent Russian expert and consulting agency.

The Seminar was attended by 25 participants among which were representatives of the Mongolian Ministry of Culture, the University of Arts and Culture, museums of Ulaanbaatar and of 9 Mongolian provinces. The Seminar’s speakers and group work facilitators were Ms. Elena Zelentsova, Programme Director, CPI, and Mr. Mikhail Gnedovsky, Director, CPI. Each day of the Seminar ended with plenary session that included project group work presentations and discussions.

During the first day of the seminar, the place and role of museums in the contemporary society was explored. Two lectures were delivered: (1) Culture in the Contemporary Society by Ms. Zelentsova and Museums in the Contemporary World by Mr. Gnedovsky. The lectures presented theoretical information as well as case studies from both Russian and international practice.

The group work was focused on analysing the current situation and assessing the resources of the Mongolian museum sector. The participants were divided into three working groups. The first one, called Mongolian Museums, developed projects for all of the Mongolian museums. The second, Regional Museums, designed projects for a single territory. The third one, called Museum, worked out a project for a certain museum.

During the first day of the Seminar, the three groups carried out a SWOT-analysis according to the group profile. The participants were invited to assess the internal and external resources, as well as internal and external challenges. The results of the group work were presented at the plenary session. The central outcome of the first day group work was the unanimous recognition that the essential challenges the Mongolian museums encountered were (1) insufficient funding, (2) scarce technical equipment, (3) weak intermuseum communication and, finally, (4) the lack of qualified personnel, especially as far as provincial museums were concerned.

The second Seminar day was focused on the cultural tourism and its impact on the museums development. Two lectures were delivered: Museum Development and Cultural Tourism by Mr. Gnedovsky, and Museum Tourism: Ways of Development by Ms. Zelentsova. The first lecturer covered the theoretical aspects of the museum and cultural tourism, as well as the European experience in the field; the second one presented the cultural tourism technologies illustrated by case studies of Russian museums and cultural organisations.

The group work was based on the conclusions made on the first Seminar day. The participants were asked to develop project ideas meeting the challenges articulated the day before. The results of the group work, presented during the session, comprised the ideas of: (1) modernising the Mongolian museum network with the regard of the regional perspective; (2) creating the Mongolian Museum Association; (3) organising special events aimed at encouraging the community and the tourists to participate in the museum life; (4) enhancing the museum services by creating innovative museum products.

The core topics of the third Seminar day were (1) the development of creative industries and cultural entrepreneurship and the role of museums in such development; (2) consolidation of creative professionals for the cultural tourism development. The programme of the day involved two lectures: Creative Industries by Mr. Gnedovsky, and Creative Industries: Russian and Mongolian Prospects by Ms. Zelentsova. The focal point for the group work was the project development.

As a result of the group work, the following projects were presented:

(1) Creation of the Mongolian Museum Association

(2) The Buryat Culture Festival

(3) Manzushir Museum Modernisation.

At the plenary session, the working groups presented the projects developed throughout the Seminar. The Mongolian Museum Association project was welcomed by the participants. It has been agreed that such an association is to be created straight away on completion of the Seminar, with all the participating museums and the University of Arts and Culture enrolling into it. The Ethnic Cultures Festival project was assessed as a model for reproduction in other Mongolian regions. The Manzushir Museum Modernisation project was studied as an example of developing a modernisation programme for a particular museum, as it covered almost all sectors of the museum activities.

The forth Seminar day, which was the final one, involved the lecture on cultural policy, delivered by Mr. Gnedovsky, and a workshop called Culture and Business run by Ms. Zelentsova. Both events were held for the representatives from the University of Arts and Culture. Mr. Gnedovsky told the audience about the trends in cultural policy, presented the European experience in the field and touched on cultural policy models in their historical perspective. The workshop run by Ms. Zelentsova was focused on the partnership between businesses and the cultural organisations. The workshop participants were asked to name the challenges and problems of cooperation between business and culture in Mongolia and outline the prospects of sponsorship and fundraising development.

Conclusions:

(1) In the course of the Seminar three projects were designed. The aim of the projects was twofold: modernising the Mongolian museum network and encouraging museums to cooperate with the tourist sector.

(2) The participants acquired new information and knowledge on: cultural policy trends; cultural development and its impact on the social life; museum tourism and creative industries.

(3) The core outcome of the Seminar was the recognition of the importance for the cultural organisations of developing and strengthening their inner and outer partnerships.

(4) The Seminar benefited from the participation of the University of Arts and Culture, that not only welcomed within its precincts the Seminar on the new trends of museum activities but also took on a task of promoting those innovations in the museum sector.

Challenges, Solutions and Recommendations:

I. Funding and Development

Challenges: In many aspects Mongolian museums have retained the paternalistic and dependant model of relationships with the State. Museum practitioners seem to believe that all the problems they encounter are due to the lack of funding and scarce technical equipment, and the museum activities will improve considerably as soon as the funding from the authorities grows substantially. Sharing this point of view, the museum managers are not aware that many of the financial problems can be solved without the governmental support.

Solutions: In order to get bigger funding and to modernize the technical equipment museums should:

(1) lobby their interests through networking with other museums, as well as through social programmes;

(2) strengthen partnerships with businesses and develop fundraising;

(3) promote cultural entrepreneurship (cultural industries).

Recommendations:

(1) The momentum for the above-mentioned activities may be gained from the creation of a proactive Mongolian Museum Association, or, on a broader scale, of a Mongolian Cultural Managers Association. Such an organisation could undertake to lobby the interests of the Mongolian museums with the authorities, the businesses, the media, etc. Furthermore, the Association could take upon itself the solution of various professional questions through training, application of state-of-the-art technologies, experience exchange, etc.

(2) The progress in the field can be certainly facilitated by holding training courses on fundraising and culture/business partnerships for the representatives of Mongolian cultural organisations. The University of Arts and Culture has the potential to carry out such activities, as well as create a collection of success stories on partnerships between culture and business.

(3) Special emphasis should be placed on supporting the cultural entrepreneurship in Mongolia and on consolidating the creative professionals. Contemporary Mongolia has favourable conjuncture to the small businesses formation. The raise of creative industries will promote the tourism and the cultural infrastructure development. Moreover, the consolidation of creative professionals (i.e. artists, designers, writers, TV and cinema professionals, ad people, etc.) will contribute to the development of both business and culture in Mongolia.

II. Communication

Challenges: Due to the country peculiarity, the intermuseum communication is extremely complicated. This is also true for other Mongolian stakeholders in cultural policy.

Solutions: An intensive communication between the museums should be established. It can be achieved by:

(1) publishing a periodic bulletin for museum managers, that could by sent to all the museums of the country and would cover the most important events in the museum sector;

(2) organising training sessions, seminars, etc. where the museum and other cultural managers could meet and exchange experiences.

Recommendations:

(1) The above-mentioned creation of the Mongolian Museum Association (Cultural Managers Association) can contribute to the solution of the communication problems.

(2) The publication of a periodic professional bulletin for the cultural managers, that could be distributed either by post or by email, could also be helpful for the provincial museums lacking for information.

III. Personnel

Challenges: Mongolian museums, and particularly provincial ones, are lacking for qualified personnel, and especially for those specialising in the relatively new domains such as fundraising, public relations, innovative technologies. Young graduates seem to be reluctant to leave for the provincial museums. They prefer to get employed in Ulaanbaatar while the museums in the provinces desperately need an afflux of qualified professionals.

Solutions: This problem can to a great extent be solved by modernising the museum activities as the young specialists pursue not only high salaries but also the potential professional growth and favourable conditions for putting into practice their own ideas and projects. It is essential to develop a special programme encouraging the qualified personnel to join the provincial museums.

Recommendations: The University of Arts and Culture could run a special programme with a twofold aim of

(1) creating a database of innovative projects developed by the Mongolian museums and

(2) engaging the graduates to design and carry out such projects. Certain advances could also come about through the organisation of seminars that would bring together senior students, lecturers and museum managers. Such seminars, aimed at developing new projects in the field of cultural tourism, fundraising, public relations, etc., would enable the students to join in the actual activities of the provincial museums.

IV. Museums and Tourism

Challenges: The tourist industry in Mongolia is growing rapidly as the tourism development is within the State priorities. In Mongolia, and especially in Ulaanbaatar, there are well-developed hotel and restaurant facilities, and thus, many obstacles for the tourism infrastructure development have already been overcome. At the same time, museums mostly remain aloof from the tourist infrastructure. The problem mainly lies with the fact that the museums do not create and, accordingly, do not offer high-quality tourist products. Guided tours and museum programmes are either outdated or not designed well enough to meet the tourists’ expectations. For instance, even after the government instructed all the museums to create a museum shop, the souvenirs sold there generally are not relevant to the museum’s profile. Finally, the museums have no experience of collaborating with travel agencies.

Solutions: In the first place, the museums shall create a high-quality tourist product. To this end, museum managers shall be specially trained, and professionals from the tourism industry shall be invited to join or assist the museum management.

Recommendations: Incorporating museums in the tourist infrastructure may also be considered a key objective for the Mongolian Museum (Cultural Professionals) Association. The Association may play an important part in

(1) promoting museums as stakeholders in the tourist market;

(2) enabling the museums to enter the governmental programmes on the tourism development in Mongolia. Alongside, more training sessions and seminars are yet to be held in order to teach museum professionals to operate on the tourist market.

Conclusions: The University of Arts and Culture plays an important part in the development of Mongolian culture and of museums in particular, as it:

(1) provides an up-to-date educational programme on the cultural management (fundraising, cultural tourism, public relations, etc);

(2) is not only an educational institution, but also a stakeholder in the Mongolian cultural policy, as it fosters partnerships between the museums and other cultural institutions;

(3) carries out a wide range of international activities and thus runs well-balanced and up-to-date educational programmes developed with the assistance of international experts on the cultural management and cultural policy.

SEMINAR PROGRAMME

Tuesday, 2 May: Museum in the Contemporary Society

10:00 – 10:30 – registration of the participants

10:30 – 11:30 – Culture in the Contemporary Society, opening lecture by Ms. Zelentsova; participants’ introductions 11:30 – 12:00 – coffee break

12:00 – 13:30 – Museums in the Contemporary World, lecture by Mr. Gnedovsky

13:30 – 14:30 – lunch

14:30 – 16:00 – Assessing the Resources and Analysing the Situation, group work

16:00 – 16:30 – coffee break

16:30 – 18:00 – plenary session, group reports, summing up the day’s work, Mongolian Museums: Mapping

Wednesday, 3 May: Cultural Tourism and its Impact on the Museum

10:00 – 11:30 – Museum Development and Cultural Tourism, lecture by Mr. Gnedovsky

11:30 – 12:00 – coffee break

12:00 – 13:30 – Museum Tourism: Ways of Development, lecture by Ms. Zelentsova

13:30 – 14:30 – lunch

14:30 – 16:00 – Museum Tourism in Mongolia: Ways of Development, group work

16:00 – 16:30 – coffee break

16:30 – 18:00 – plenary session, group reports, summing-up the day’s work, Project Ideas for Museum Tourism Development: Presentations and Mapping

Thursday, 4 May: Creative Industries as a Resource of Development. The Contribution of Museums for the Creative Industries Development

10:00 – 11:30 – Creative industries, lecture by Mr. Gnedovsky

11:30 – 12:00 – coffee break

12:00 – 13:00 – Creative Industries: Russian and Mongolian Prospects, lecture by Ms. Zelentsova

13:00 – 14:00 – lunch

14:00 – 15:30 – Museum Tourist Products and Partnership, group work

15:30 – 15:45 – coffee break

15:45 – 17:00 – plenary session, group reports, summing-up the day’s work, Project Ideas for the Creative Industries Development: Presentations and Mapping

17:00 – 18:00 – The Contribution of Cultural Tourism and Cultural Industries to the Museums’ Modernization, presentation by Ms. Zelentsova and Mr. Gnedovsky; Mongolian Project Map: Presentations

Friday, 5 May: Session Outside Ulaanbaatar. Lectures, Discussion, Case Studies

13:00 – 14:15 – Cultural Policy, lecture by Mr. Gnedovsky

14:15 – 14:30 – follow-up discussion

14:30 – 15:30 – Culture and Business: Principles of Partnership, lecture by Ms. Zelentsova

15:00 – 16:00 – Culture as a Resource of Development for the Republic of Mongolia, round table discussion; closing plenary session