Rita Kuleva

The Right to Be Creative

Date 3/1/21



What is fair in contemporary society, and how do people negotiate fairness when there is a lack of clarity and governmental regulation? This question urgently needs to be answered in our time of uncertainty that is blighted by economic austerity and severe political crises. The answer can be found in the regimes of fairness devised by highly innovative social groups as digital creative sectors in Post-Soviet countries as Russia. New generation of the YouTube revolutionists holds numerous records of cultural innovation and excellence in animation, video games, music. For instance, the Russian cartoon series Masha and the Bear has set a new world record as the most watched animated movie with over three billion views. At the same time, existing policies of culture and creativity in Russia neglect these achievements and impose constraints on digital sectors of artistic production. Digital producers are limited not only because of censorship, but also of conservative understanding of creativity as ‘high culture’ only. Having the right to be creative contested, this bright and talented social group seeks for alternative ways for social inclusion by revising notions of profession, social contract and solidarity.


Margarita Kuleva, PhD, Sociology, received her BA in Liberal Arts from Smolny College, the joint program of St Petersburg State University, Russia and Bard College, NY. She graduated with an MA in Sociology from the Higher School of Economics. Currently she works as a senior lecturer at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, where she holds the position of chair of the Department of Design and Contemporary Art. She also is a fellow of the Centre for German and European Studies at St. Petersburg State University–University of Bielefeld and the Centre for Art, Design and Social Research (CAD+SR). Kuleva has collaborated as a researcher and curator with a number of Russian and international cultural institutions, including Manifesta Biennale, Garage MoCA, Goethe Institute, Street Art Museum, Ural Industrial Biennale and New Holland St. Petersburg. One of her main research interests is creative labour. She also adopts a network approach and feminist theory to the sociology of the art sand clothing consumption/fashion production. In 2012-2016, she studied post-Soviet creativity, looking at the example of the careers and professional identities of young cultural workers in the hybrid cultural economy in Russia. Some findings from these studies are presented in recent journal publications for example, Cultural Studies and International Journal of Cultural Studies.

-- As of 3/1/21