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Kulturtreger from the Far East

A lawyer from Chukotka does not let you get bored in the North

Chukotka is a land where every phenomenon rooted in the mainland can be a real discovery. In the 15 thousandth Anadyr even the launch of a public film club can be a very noticeable event. And the project of the board games club Let`s Play, which started 2,5 years ago, in a short time became the center of attraction for almost all Anadyr’s creative youth. Places where the leisure area usually shrinks over time like shagreen leather.

Kulturtreger from the Far East
Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Menshikova

"Cultural" lawyer

Behind the project is a lawyer by profession and a cultural trader by calling Elizabeth Menshikov. Lisa’s husband is a rather famous musician Igor Badanov in Chukotka, who helps his wife in any creative endeavor.

“My regular job is sedentary and not particularly creative. Therefore, I always loved to try myself in different activities. The main milestone in my creative life was the Red Cross action "Let there be more sun." The organizers recruited volunteers to help sort the things they brought, and then send them to the needy in remote villages. One of the organizers, Elena Vidyakova, became for me one of the examples of an enthusiastic creative person, and in 2013 I was invited to Seliger. There I met my future husband, he is also a man who is burning his own business. After that, I wanted to collect my own creative party, and realize interesting projects, ”recalls Elizabeth.

She drove to Seliger an implemented project for painting walls with fairy tales in a children's hospital and clinics. These skills were useful to the girl in the future club board games. And he began with another of her hobbies - the work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. 

Once on the Internet, Elizabeth found a game based on his works - "Ancient Horror." After playing it with her husband several times, the girl decided to expand the composition of the players. So in Anadyr a free club of board games appeared.

Free leisure

The girl studied through the Internet the work of some of these clubs in the country, but mostly they were paid. According to Elizabeth, as a rule, board games are played by schoolchildren, students and working youth who do not always have money for entertainment. The girl found a place for the club in the local House of Culture. Initially, there were only six participants, but everyone liked the format, they invited friends, and two months later about 20 people gathered in the club. At first it worked only on Saturdays, then Sunday was added. The operating time has also increased - from two to ten, but even his players usually do not have enough.

“In Anadyr there are practically no places where you can sit with friends without paying money for it. The club just became such a cultural space. We don’t even have to play tables, you can just sit, chat, have tea with cookies. Our club is a salvation from idleness, before the youth did not know where to go on the weekend. Now many participants say that they can not imagine their weekend without a club. Contrary to some beliefs, games are not just for children. Some desktops develop the ability to work in a team, learn to build a strategy of behavior, train mindfulness, imagination, ”says Elizabeth.

Initially, the club’s collection consisted of only three games - Ancient Horror, Game of Thrones and Mr. Jack. Then the players began to bring their games, and then they offered to buy games together. The leadership of the Palace of Culture, seeing that the number of club members is growing, gave the club a separate cabinet, and players painted its walls with stories based on popular games and cartoons. 

After that, Lisa, on the advice of her husband, began to keep statistics on the club: over 2,5 years, more than 250 people visited him. Age of participants varies from 14 to 36 years. At the same time, even two pensioners played in the “Game of Thrones” club.

No alcohol is allowed in the club; smoking is allowed only before coming to the game. Without alcohol, small picnics with barbecue are held for graduates of the club who leave to study on the mainland or leave Chukotka forever. According to Lisa, she shows the guys that there are more pleasant things that you can spend your time on, and to have fun, you don't have to drink.

From club to creative union

Over time, Elizabeth Menshikova realized that the club became a good platform for the implementation of other cultural projects. Moreover, she has accumulated a lot of knowledge gained at various youth forums held throughout the country - from the Far East to the Crimea.

“After the forums, I pass on all my knowledge and best practices to the guys, conduct various games, trainings. At some point, I realized that I began to formulate a certain cultural agenda and help other people develop. So there was a creative union "Make Art", which began to conduct various youth events and create their own leisure, filling a certain cultural vacuum in the city. The idea of ​​creating an alliance came to us with the DJ of the local radio "Purga" Ivan Semikletov, when we sat down to draw up documents for grant support for the project. But we realized that the grant will to some extent hold us down and decided to just call creatively active guys to come up with and conduct our own event, ”recalls Elizabeth.

The most successful union projects are a number of Newton Party creative parties. They are arranged by analogy with the intellectual games “Quiz, pliz!”, But the format is slightly changed for the needs of the union - its participants draw up questions themselves, select music and design. The main condition is that the event be fun and bright, and the participants have a good impression. 

After such events, local authorities drew attention to the children, for example, the city administration began to invite participants of the “Do Art” to participate in municipal holidays.

On-site from the mainland

Recently, Lisa and her colleagues held a new event - "Intermission". The audience read from the stage the works of modern writers Alexander Tsypkin and Alexei Oleinikov (the play "Bakery"). Thanks to this successful format, the participants get acquainted with the work of modern Russian writers, discuss current topics in demand in big cities. They neutralize the feeling of cultural isolation from big cities and have the opportunity to timely monitor the latest literary agenda.

Another achievement of the club was that he had already begun to appear followers. Board games clubs opened in the Chukchi village of Markovo and the city of Stary Oskol (Belgorod Region), where one of the participants moved to live. 

Now Elizabeth is looking for organizers of clubs for other settlements of Chukotka and is ready to provide them with advisory assistance on the purchase of games, depending on the interests of the participants.

“In Anadyr, I feel very free. As soon as an idea arises, I can immediately discuss it with a person who can make a decision on implementation. It helps that everything is close and you know all the people you need - from the head of the DC to the head of the department of education. It is easy to get to officials at the reception, it is easy to do your own events, because you will not be rented. Initiative people are valued in small towns, so you forgive the poor and expensive Internet for the north, the lack of fruits and vegetables, isolation from the mainland, ”explains Elizabeth.

The girl does not exclude that in time she can leave Chukotka, however, she has already managed to grow a shift. In “Make Art” guys who are ready to pick up the baton have also grown up creatively. And Lisa herself is ready to follow projects from afar and help as far as possible.

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