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The Vladimir Vysotsky Centre for Russian Studies



Its mission is:

  • To bring Russian Culture to a Western audience;
  • To bridge the gap between Russia and the UK through facilitating an inter-cultural dialogue;
  • To conduct research in the field of Russian thought, literature, music, history and art.

A distinctive feature of the Centre is in addressing the following fundamental questions:

  • What is understood as Russian cultural identity and constitutes the quintessence of Russianness and the kernel of its values?
  • What are its special features, and are they amenable to conceptualisation?
  • How does the phenomenon of Vladimir Vysotsky resonate with the concept of Russian character and embody its essential traits?

Our Centre is named after Vladimir Vysotsky (1938-1980) who became a cultural icon for the Russian nation during his lifetime, and continues to exert a considerable influence on Russian cultural developments and national identity. He was a poet, bard and actor, whose literary work was largely forbidden by the Soviet authorities, but whose songs, as unofficial audio recordings, could be heard from every window.

Vysotsky’s art served as a breath of fresh air in the totalitarian state stifled by the ideological control and hypocrisy, and helped Russian people to sustain their human dignity and cultural distinctiveness. Vysotsky was one of those artistic personalities who become a living conscience of the entire nation.


Major Conference Russian-British intercultural dialogue: Russian music in Britain – British music in Russia Major international academic conference organised jointly with the State Institute for Art Studies (SIAS, Moscow)

2019 Conference Audience Feedback

"It was a privilege to hear the opinions and insights of real experts on subjects with which I am only superficially acquainted."

"It was very enriching to meet scholars from Russia."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed both concerts. Live, contemporary performances are rare, and this is a fabulous endeavour."

"Never listened to Russian music before now."

"Beautifully played and impactful."

"Today’s concert meaningfully contributed to widening my cultural horizons."

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Our Centre’s strategic plans include:

  • Working on a number of ongoing international and interdisciplinary research projects sustained by external grants’ applications;
  • Establishing strategic partnerships with Russian cultural institutions in Russia and abroad;
  • Offering diverse programme of events in Russian Studies within and outside academia such as research seminars, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, concerts and performances;
  • Facilitating academic and cultural exchanges;
  • Collaborating with other Centres and Institutes in UCLan and beyond;
  • Fostering postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows;
  • Hosting Russian cultural and literary materials for the use by UCLan students, academics and members of the general public.

We publish high quality research in the form of peer-reviewed books and articles in international academic journals. Our activities bridge the gap between Russia and Britain, assisting the non-academic world to acquire in-depth knowledge of Russia's cultural past and present, thus overcoming the hostile stereotypes, counter-productive for cultural enrichment and transnational understanding. By organising a diverse programme of events at UCLan and beyond, we bring Russian culture to the English North-West, facilitating an inter-cultural dialogue and mutual awareness at a grassroots level. We engage in international collaboration with Social Scientists, Literary Scholars and Cultural Studies experts from around the globe in our ongoing study of the legacy of WWI in both Russia and Britain, to produce pop-up exhibitions and a ground-breaking documentary, thus helping socio-political practitioners and policy-makers.

Latest feedback from the audience of our Programme of Events in Russian Studies:

"My knowledge of Russian art has been expanded."

"I have seen a softer, gentler side to a country that is often represented as cruel and cold."

"Thank you very much! So moving and emotional. Great insights, great stuff."

"Very enlightening, unique, certainly enriching – would love to receive more information on upcoming events. Thank you for this experience!"

"Please keep holding such events; they are necessary in the current climate."

Since the Centre’s foundation on 25 January 2018, we have organised:

Events and research seminar series in Russian Studies for 2019-2020

  • Russian-British intercultural dialogue: Russian music in Britain – British music in Russia
    Major international academic conference organised jointly with the State Institute for Art Studies, (SIAS, Moscow)
  • A seminar ‘Pushkin for Historians: The Case of Vasilii Kliuchevskii (1841–1911)’ by Dr Frances Nethercott (University of St Andrews), 4 December 2019.
  • Russian-English Poetry Translation Day: Poetry Translation workshop for students of Russian by award winning poets and translators. Round Table and Q&A Session on Poetry Translation: Poetry Translators in Conversation (Stephen Capus, Peter Daniels, Veniamin Gushchin and Olga Tabachnikova present their work in progress on the pioneering bilingual anthology of WWI poetry, and answer questions on the craft of literary translation), 22 January 2020.
  • ‘Fairy Tales in Russia and England’: A Course of Guest Lectures on Alexander Pushkin’s Fairy Tales (by Prof Olha Chervinska, Chernivtsy, Ukraine) and A Comparative Analysis of Russian and English Fairy Tales (by Dr Aliona Matiychak, Chernivtsy, Ukraine), 23-31 January 2020.
  • An Award Winning Film ‘Oscar’ Presented by its Co-Director Alexander Smoljanski (Russia-Germany). See the film’s trailer, 12 February 2020.
  • Presentation of INTEGRUM: the electronic portrait of RUSSIA and the CIS by the IT company director Alexander Smoljansky, 13 February 2020.
  • A seminar ‘Does one need to engage a detective to learn a language?’ by Ignaty Dyakov (London), 11 March 2020.
  • Lecture: ‘An introduction to health for linguists: a holistic approach’ (Jointly with the Worldwise Centre) by Ignaty Dyakov, 11 March 2020.

Events and research seminar series in Russian Studies for 2018-2019

  • A seminar ‘The City in the Culture and Literature of the Russian Silver Age, 1900-1910s’ by Professor Leah Bushkanets (Kazan Federal University, Russia), 31 October 2018.
  • A seminar on the topic of ‘Anton Chekhov and Russian music’ by Professor Arnold McMillin (UCL), 21 November 2018.
  • Russia Day was a day packed with events and lectures on Russian culture and history; it took place on 5 December 2018. Our main guest speaker was a prominent Russian writer Alexander Melikhov.
  • Concert of Russian and Western European Music: given by a trio of internationally renowned musicians: Lana Trotovšek (violin), Elena Artamonova (viola) and Boris Bizjak (flute), 16 January 2019.
  • A (replacement) seminar ‘Old-Believers and Russian Symbolism’ by Dr Elena Artamonova (UCLan), 23 January 2019.
  • Translation workshop for students of Russian and Lecture on the translation of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate by the award winning translator Robert Chandler, 13 February 2019.
  • Concert and Lecture on Russian Music and Eurasian Philosophy: Dr Javier Ares Yebra (guitar) and Dr Elena Artamonova (viola), 1 March 2019.
  • Chekhov Theatre Experience: ‘The Seagull’. Theory and Practice by Theatre Director Stiliyan Petrov and Professor of Russian Literature Lyudmil Dimitrov (Bulgaria), 5-8 March 2019.
  • A seminar ‘Dostoevsky on Atheisms, Atheists, and the Question of God’ by Professor George Pattison (University of Glasgow), 13 March 2019.
  • Prof Galima Lukina (SIAS, Moscow) and The Gold Trio (England). Lecture and Concert.
  • A seminar ‘The poetic circle in Stalin-era Russia: the case for cultural continuity’ by Professor Katharine Hodgson (University of Exeter), 27 March 2019.
  • Professor Vera Zabotkina (RSUH, Moscow). Lecture ‘How to get to grips with the changes in the conceptual worldviews of Russian and English cultures’, 3 April 2019.
  • Russian-British intercultural dialogue: Russian music in Britain – British music in Russia
    Major international academic conference organised jointly with the State Institute for Art Studies, (SIAS, Moscow)

Dr Olga Tabachnikova, The Director of The Vladimir Vysotsky Centre for Russian Studies

Olga is a Reader in Russian at the University of Central Lancashire. She has twin background, with two PhDs, respectively in Mathematics and Franco-Russian Studies. She has previously held positions and was involved in research projects on Russian literature and culture at a number of other institutions, including the Universities of Bath and Bristol (UK), the University of Trier (Germany) and the Sorbonne (France). Her main area of expertise encompasses both classical and contemporary Russian culture (from the 19th century to the present) with the main focus on cultural and literary history and the history of ideas. Olga has published extensively in the field of Russian Studies, and is also an author of two books of poetry (in Russian).

Dr Elena Artamonova is a Lecturer in Russian Studies and Member of the Vladimir Vysotsky Centre for Russian Studies. She teaches a range of modules on Russian Culture and Language, and successfully combines her scholarly and viola performing activities with over 20 years of teaching experience. Elena has published widely on Russian cultural history and music. Her work has been presented at many international conferences, and her world premier CDs on Toccata Classics have been received to a high critical acclaim.

UK: University of Central Lancashire, University of St Andrews; Russia: State Institute for Art Studies; Central Economic-Mathematical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art Education and Cultural Studies of the Russian Academy of Education, Maxim Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Belgium: Catholic University of Leuven, Antwerp Sint-Andries Campus (International Interdisciplinary Collaborative Project Intimate, literary and public representations of Truth: a comparative survey of British and Russian responses to the Great War)

The St Petersburg State University (International Collaborative Project: The Impact of Chekhov’s prose on World Literature)

‘World Literatures and Cinemas Research Cluster’ – collaboration with the School of Humanities, Language and Global Studies; organising a series of conferences and symposia.

We are planning to produce

  • A series of 12 documentaries on Vladimir Vysotsky’s songs for BBC 4 (once monthly).
  • Academic exchange: visits by distinguished specialists on Russia from around the globe, with lecture courses and academic project developments
  • Art festivals, concerts, workshops and exhibitions – (including icon-painting and Russian crafts workshops, photography/books exhibitions and visual arts)
  • Academic conferences and seminars (to be organised and co-organised with leading HE institutions in Russia and beyond)

Please also see above, under the Related research groupings or interdisciplinary collaborations.