The 2016 Likhachev Fellowship

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The Likhachev Foundation (St. Petersburg, Russia)

In 2015, the Likhachev Foundation of St. Petersburg, Russia, announced its ninth open competition for the Fellowships in Russia program for May 2016. When founded, this was the first Russian program of this kind, supporting cultural visits by foreign intellectuals (and remains the only such program). Participants of the program work on important cultural initiatives, with the ultimate aim of increasing knowledge of and interest in Russian history and culture among non-Russians. The Program has several partners including; Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, CEC ArtsLink. Additionally Fellowship alumni from the years 2008-2015 helped disseminate information about the Program and raise interest. This program is designed for foreign professionals in the field of arts and culture who currently work on creative projects on (or related to) Russian culture or history; such projects are designed to help spread information about Russian culture among a broader foreign audience.

The 2016 Fellows were selected from a pool of over 170 applicants from 50 countries who participated in an open competition. The group of fellows includes 9 professionals from Italy, South Korea, the UK, and the USA. Each fellow had his/her program individually tailored according to the project and professional interests. The organizers of the program are the Likhachev Foundation and the Presidential Center of Boris N. Yeltsin, acting with the support of the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg, who organized and provided the main financing for the program, with additional, significant financial support from the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg.

We arrived in St. Petersburg on May 9 for two weeks. We visited (according to each individual projects and schedules) the city’s cultural organizations, archives, libraries, and museums, as well as meet and consult with experts and cultural figures of St. Petersburg. Other winners of the Likhachev Fellowship – from this year and previous years – contributed to the Dostoevsky Day UK by sharing their own experiences and projects. They suggested names and ideas and created a real supportive environment. I could not have asked for more.

As the curator of the Inaugural Dostoevsky Day UK (DDUK), I feel honoured to have been chosen for the prestigious Likhachev Fellowship in Sant Petersburg, Russia.

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Thank you very much indeed to the Likhachev Foundation, to the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre, and especially The F.M.Dostoevsky Literary-Memorial Museum, my main host. I am also grateful to the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House), the National Library of Russia, the librarians of the special collections and the specialists of the Dostoevsky collections in these centres for a truly unique experience.

Vladimir Alexander Smith-Mesa 

Curator

The Inaugural Dostoevsky Day UK

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