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Light on Russia 2020

Annual debate of the Dutch Institute

The Dutch Institute in Saint Petersburg (Nederlands Instituut in Sint-Petersburg, NIP) is a part of the network of Dutch Scientific Institutes Abroad (NWIB) and supported by the universities of Amsterdam (UvA and VU), Utrecht, Groningen, Leiden and Radboud. In addition to various activities in Saint Petersburg, the NIP organizes a recurring annual debate about Russia in the Netherlands. This year, during the Light on Russia we will focus on distance. Four experts from the Netherlands and Russia will shed light on the concept of distance in different ways.


The next edition of the annual NIP conference, Light on Russia, will take place on the 10th of December 2020 at 5:00 PM (Amsterdam time) / 7:00 PM (Moscow time). 'Distance' is this year's main topic of the conference. Experts in the fields of history, media studies, art history and anthropology, will discuss this prevailing topic of 2020.

The question of how great the distance is between Russia and Europe is considered; what role the media plays in the elimination or creation of distance; and what distance means in Russian society and art.

Form of the meeting:

Two speakers and a moderator will be present at a location in the Netherlands (University Library of Amsterdam, Doelenzaal) and two speakers and a moderator will be present in Russia (Saint Petersburg at the NIP). A limited number of guests will be physically present at both locations as well (max. 15 guests). The lectures will be broadcasted live and our audience can follow the discussion online.

The discussion will be held in English and moderated by prof. Evert van der Zweerde (in the Netherlands) and dr. Olga Ovechkina (in Saint Petersburg).

On this evening, four speakers will share their vision of 'distance':

Dr. Henk Kern on the history of European and image formation about Russia

Prof. Alexey Kurbanovsky on the fourth dimension in the Russian avant-garde

Prof. Mark Deuze on the bridging and binding effects of digital culture

Dr. Ivan Mitin on the myth geography and mental maps of Russia

The discussion will be held and moderated in English by Prof. Evert van der Zweerde (in the Netherlands) and Dr. Olga Ovechkina (in Russia)


The audience sees the video testimonials of the NIP trainees and students who have done research, studied or did an internship in Saint Petersburg.

  • Program Light on Russia


    Opening by dr. Olga Ovechkina, director of the Dutch institute


    Introduction by prof. Dr. Evert van der Zweerde, moderator of the discussion


    Russia, faraway and nearby by dr. Henk Kern, University of Leiden


    Some Concepts of Space and Fourth Dimension in Russian Avant-Garde Art, by prof. dr. Alexey Kurbanovsky, Russian Museum


    Testimonials of NIP alumni: research in Saint Petersburg


    Mythogeographies and mental maps of Russia: From the enormous space towards the multiplicity of places, by dr. Ivan Mitin, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow


    The Bridging and Bonding Effects of Digital Culture: How Same Media That Divide Us, Connect Us, by prof. dr. Mark Deuze, University of Amsterdam


    Closing remarks by prof. dr. Evert van der Zweerde and dr. Olga Ovechkina


    Testimonials of NIP alumni: missing Saint Petersburg


    Ending Light on Russia 2020

  • Light on Russia: archive

    Click here for an overview of the Focus on Russia event of 2019
    Click here for an overview of the Focus on Russia event of 2018
    Click here for an overview of the Focus on Russia event of 2017
    Click here for an overview of the Focus on Russia event of 2016