The People's Universities 2.0 project aims to form a community of caring and competent citizens willing to work together to bring creative urban projects into life. The project provides each participant with an opportunity to feel like a part of the place: a house, a street, a district. And to achieve this, they need to actively immerse themselves in the study of the city, its phenomena, images, symbols, and places. What they also need to do is reinterpret and present the found stories through various creative practices.
In technical terms, People's Universities 2.0 is an alliance of unique educational initiatives. The project consists of laboratories, schools, and workshops designed by various practitiones: historians, tour guides, researchers, filmmakers, artists, curators, writers. Training takes one to three months. During this time, the participants enhance their competencies and gain practical skills, develop—individually or as part of a team—creative city-dedicated projects. A project can be a signature tour, a book of memoirs, a souvenir line, a play sketch, or even a film.
The project was launched in spring 2020 with the support of the Presidential Grant Foundation and brought together several current programs of the Ekaterinburg History Museum and the Volunteer Society of the Sverdlovsk Region: the Memory Lab, the School of Urban Routes, and the Art Workshop. The People's Universities 2.0 project has grown since then. Today the project has over 15 areas of activity, with some of them being recurrent. In 2021, the project was fortified by such local projects as the School of Anthropology and Family History, the Souvenir Factory Workshop, the School of Naturalist Guides, and tthe Urban Studies Lab. In the next season, these projects were followed by the City Interview School, the Street Photography and Urban Sketching Lab, and the creative program titled The Art of Photo Archives.