Our staff members share stories from their past work as Manege volunteers.
1. Olya Romanova, International Project Coordinator:
“When you are exposed to art from the ‘inside’, you get a better sense of how the art was created and why it ended up at Manege – why specifically here, and why in this form. You expand your aesthetic horizons, and you get better insight into what the creator really meant to express. After that, whenever you go to see an exhibition somewhere else youget the urge to sneak a peek behind the curtain. You peruse the labels, notice the colour of the walls, and read the exhibition credits on the wall with interest.
Volunteering has given me the opportunity to learn more about how exhibitions are run and about the work that goes on at Manege. I have also made friends with other volunteers and met some great people on the Manege administrative team. Irina Levashova, the first person to welcome you to Manege as a new volunteer, will make you feel that you are in good hands right away! Ira will always help, she is always available, and nothing ever escapes her attention!”
2. Natasha Agapova, Department of Curatorial Projects, Co-Curator of MANEGE JUNIOR:
“I volunteered at Manege for a specific reason: I wanted to try my hand at guiding a museum tour. I made an effort to prepare my tour material in a way that would not simply convey information, but would inspire others with my love for the project and encourage them to internalise the ideas of the artists and curators. When you’re a volunteer on a project, you’re already seeing it from the inside. But when you are there at its birth and get to watch it grow you cannot help but love it more.
The custom tours that were offered during the Deineka/Samokhvalov exhibition were very much in demand. My help was needed. That was how my internship started, and by the time the next project came along I was already on staff.”
3. Polina Kravchenko, Expo and Exhibition Specialist:
“My work as a volunteer began at the show The 1970s. In_Clusivity in 2017.The name turned out to be symbolically significant, since through it I was symbolically included into the Manege family.I was in my graduate year at university, combining study, work, and volunteering. It is fascinating to get to know the inner workings of an exhibition: to guide your first tours with trembling knees and see them mature into stories told with confidence, to chat with visitors, help out with preparations for onsite lectures, enjoy your friendship with other volunteers, and discover new, exciting things about art every day.
My first personal challenge came with the offer to guide tours for the students of the Anton Tut Ryadom centre during the Wall Elements exhibition in 2018.This work made me realise how much Manege and most other cultural institutions needed to pivot towards greater inclusion and easier access for differently-abled visitors. It also made me realise how much more I had to learn, and I have been trying to grow and improve ever since. It is satisfying to see how much care and professional attention Manege invests in the training of its tour guides and mediators.”
4. Yaroslav Manakhov, Department of Curatorial Projects, Curator of the Listen to Manege! podcast:
“When I volunteered for the exhibition Contemporary Russian Artists at the Venice Biennale in 2016, soon after Manege had reopened following reconstruction, I wanted to learn about the city’s cultural practices and get meaningfully involved. I wanted to find out how the exhibition business works and contribute to the public relations aspect of Manege’soperation: guiding tours, writing texts, and thinking of new ways of engaging with the public, all to bring the exhibition space closer to people.
It was my internship that propelled me from being a volunteer to being on Manege’s staff. The high point of my volunteer work wasthe exhibition The 1970s. In_Clusivity, where I helped build and install the exhibits and then guided tours I had designed myself. A few other projects followed, in which my role was approximately the same.”
5. Nastya Levchenko, Hall Administrator:
“The first exhibition I volunteered for was Petersburg 2103 in the summer of 2018. It was overflowing with technical drawings of the city’s architecture. I love technical drawings! I wanted to study all the drawings on display, and I thought my volunteering shifts would help me with that task :)
When you witness an exhibition in the process of being created, with artists setting up their art objects and installations, you become deeply engrossed in the stories they tell. I think my volunteering at Manege has made me more curious about art and the world in general.”
If volunteering at Manege sounds like an attractive proposition to you, please get in touch with School of Volunteering director Irina Levashova:
8 (906) 245-01-76
The partner of the Manege Volunteer School is a chain of natural food stores «VkusVill».