Education in the cultural sector of amber industry

25 June 2019
Press Office of the Amber Museum

At the discussion platform of the International Economic Forum of Amber Industry "Amberforum – 2019" a round table took place under the auspices of the director of the Kaliningrad Regional Amber Museum Tatiana Suvorova. Russian experts in the sphere of teaching jewellery design, regional government officials, heads of educational institutions, entrepreneurs discussed the strategic issue – absence of skilled workers in the cultural sector of amber industry.

In her welcoming speech Tatiana Suvorova mentioned that among laureates of international competitions, which the amber Museum has been conduction since 2003, there are almost no graduates from Kaliningrad educational institutions. There are no highly artistic artworks from amber made by young artists from Kaliningrad. Currently the system of professional training of amber masters in the Kaliningrad region doesn't provide young specialists with enough skills. As a result there is a lack of skilled personnel in the industry.

In addition to the above the statistics, which was given by a speaker from the Ministry of Education of the Kaliningrad Region Alexei Goncharov during the round table, looks very positively. According to him, annually 100 jewellers, 135 persons in the speciality of design, 69 – in decorative and applied arts, and 45 – in graphical design graduate in the region. However it is indisputable that works by these graduates are not present at the Kaliningrad artistic stage. As one of the ways to solve the problem, which is used by the regional Educational Ministry, Alexei Goncharov named subsidy assistance for the College of Entrepreneurship (earlier – Kaliningrad College for Art and Industry). Its director Larisa Koptseva mentioned that the college educates student on the basis of the secondary and basic general education. "Our jewellers participate in the WorldSkills Russia for several years and take prizes, take part in different international contests and exhibitions ("Amber of the Baltics", "AmberFashion"), Forums of amber industry, competitions ("Best in profession –amber working", and various master classes", – told Larisa Koptseva. She also emphasised that "the college gives children a working profession, then many of them continue their education in Saint Petersburg, some go abroad".

The next speaker of the round table Ilia Emelianov, director of the Trading House of the Amber and Redwood Manufactory "Emelianov and Sons", told about lack of skilled workers his company faces. Only after 5 years, according to his words, a new employee gets to the needed level of professional skills. And, of course, the most complicated issue still is "to create art that would be in demand and bring money".

Lana Egorova, jewellery artist, leader of the Creative Association of Kaliningrad Artists and Craftsmen "Prussian Honey"agreed with her colleague and mentioned that the college has wonderful workshops, where students can try different ways of working with a material: "When I studied in the Krasnoie Selo College of Art Metal, there was no such opportunity. You have it all. But students have no instruments, they don't know how to work, they are badly prepared. What you give to your student during two years is too little. An artists should be taught art. And a school of amber working, as well as a following school of metal working should be here in Kaliningrad".

About the educational programme in the Krasnoie Selo College of Art Metal (part of the S.G.Stroganov Academy of Design and Applied Arts) told its director Liudmila Bystrova: "the educational disciplines we should give students is huge. And we face the problem of lack of time" Graduates of the famous college do not have difficulties with employment – In Kostroma region there are several large jewellery productions, which constantly need skilled workers.

A Moscow expert, curator of "Jewellery and object design in fashion" from the School of Design in the Higher School of Economics Slava Fomin turned the discussion in a new direction. In his opinion, the existing educational programmes outdated a long time ago. And a modern artist don't need to learn how to work manually with metal, many processes will be performed by technical equipment, for instance, 3D printers have already become classic. That is why the educational process in the Higher School of Economics looks different, aiming to bring up an artist: "We have a project education. Since the first day in the School of design, a student prepares his or her project. In the end of the year everyone presents their creative work. Besides horizontal connections are important in the modern education. A student should immediately get into the professional environment, know local art dealers, best suppliers".

A bright period in the discussion was speech by Boris Mironov, professor of the Baltic Federal Kant University. He called it "cry of the soul". "For 10 years we have been trying to do something. However the quality level of amber works stays low. In the Khrabrovo Airport you can still see portrait of the top officials dredged with amber crumbs. Creating of a Baltic Amber School is the way to solve the problem. Goal of the education is to bring up an author capable of creating", – mentioned Boris Mironov.

We are expressing gratitude to the speakers of the round table for the active participation in the discussion and for supporting the Amber Museum's proposition to conduct it.