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Cultural Programmes Making Business Events Exciting, Educational, and Insightful

15 July 2020
Культурная программа деловых мероприятий: украшение, просвещение и знакомство с культурой

The third module of the National Congress Bureau (NCB) Summer Academy offered an online lecture entitled ‘Cultural Programme as part of a Business Event’ delivered by Ekaterina Ivanova, Head of Creative Projects at the Roscongress Foundation. Ms. Ivanova shared her expertise in integrating cultural events into business ones. 

Cultural events are an essential part and a true gem of largest regional and international forums, including the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the Eastern Economic Forum, the Russian Investment Forum, and other Roscongress Foundation’s events. 

Ms. Ivanova spoke about the importance of shaping a cultural programme as a set of events united by one theme or idea. They should also follow the general concept of the business convention they belong to. A cultural programme would always include the gala reception on behalf of the organizing committee and other evening functions. Cultural programme also cover such important features as artistic design of the venue, videos used at the opening ceremony and the plenary session, special events, and playbills for theatres, museums, and concerts halls in the host city.    

“The theatre begins with a hanger. Likewise, participants are introduced to an event when they first enter the venue. Therefore, its design is an important part of the cultural programme. Developing the concept for the artistic design takes a lot of work with dates in history, museums, and archives. Nothing is too trivial for an event’s success. That is why the venue’s design, including the restaurant for participants and the volunteers’ uniform, and their balance are crucial,” noted Ekaterina Ivanova and supported her case with the colourful design of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 and 2019 that were dedicated to the Year of the Russian Ballet and the heritage of Alexander Pushkin, a great Russian poet.  

Artistic design, as well as all the cultural programme events are truly insightful. They help forum guests and participants to learn about the Russian and other cultures’ legacy, and authors of renowned masterpieces. Per say, the leadership of the Far Eastern Federal University (the venue of the Eastern Economic Forum) requests for the backdrops to stay longer after the event is over to give the FEFU students a chance to see them.    

Ms. Ivanova emphasized the importance of using a single design for all the venues of a convention’s business and cultural programmes. All décor elements, food presentations, flower arrangements, and the welcome area need to help participants feel the atmosphere conceived by the organizers and experience the venue’s comfort. 

Ms. Ivanova spoke about the importance of shaping and developing a concept of both business and cultural programme of any convention. It should engulf the convention’s main idea and combine all the cultural events. The concept should factor in all the ethical and national norms and rules, especially when it comes to international events. “Let’s take the first Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum that took place in Sochi in 2019. It became the largest event in our country that combines so many ethnic, ethical, and religious aspects. All of them had to be factored in the event’s cultural programme, including the one for African leaders’ spouses. Everything is essential, when it comes to evening events or an excursion programme for international guests. Any detail that may seem trivial at first can become instrumental in making the event wholesome, interesting, and friendly towards all participants of the international event,” said the Head of Creative Projects at the Roscongress Foundation.  

Ms. Ivanova also underlined the importance of a musical programme and the fact that different elements of cultural and business programmes can complement each other. Thus, gala receptions on the sidelines of the Foundation’s events frequently host award ceremonies, while the annual judo tournament held during the Eastern Economic Forum including musical performances.  

An event’s business programme plays an important role in planning a cultural one: “The timing of the gala reception, a buffet reception or a cocktail party should follow the event’s business programme, which is the core of the whole convention. That defines the rest of the programme elements. Our task is to help everyone feel comfortable over the days of the event. We should always cater to our participants’ business and entertainment needs”.

During the Q&A, Ekaterina Ivanova shared that when preparing a cultural programme organizers usually develop several concepts ahead of time. Any set of cultural events needs to be thought through and coordinated with all players – museums, artists, designers, and other people and organizations involved. 

“We surely strive to leave our participants with heartfelt emotions and memories. At the same time, the insightful aspect is essential to any event’s cultural programme. This is why we hope that on top of emotions our participants will gain knowledge of Russian culture. We all strive to present our country in the best way possible. Business programme is not the only important aspect in this department, as countries learn about each other through tourism, kitchen, and traditions. That is why our cultural programmes always include something that will help people learn new things about Russia and the host region,” noted the Head of Creative Projects at the Roscongress Foundation at the end of her lecture. 

The lecture is available on the Roscongress Foundation’s YouTube channel.

To recap, on 6 July Alexander Stuglev, the CEO and Chairman of the Roscongress Foundation, gave an online lecture entitled ‘Fundamentals of Project Management for Congress Events’ as part of the National Congress Bureau (NCB) Summer Academy. CEO and Chairman of the Roscongress Foundation shared some of his key practical skills accumulated over the years of organizing congresses and exhibitions on a global scale. On 10 July, Armen Khachatrian, Deputy CEO and Programme Director of the Roscongress Foundation, gave an online lecture ‘Designing an Event Programme and Key Aspects of Working with Speakers’. Mr. Khachatrian shared that shaping an event’s business programme takes a sequence of actions and preparedness for a force-majeure. He also addressed what makes an event attractive for a potential speaker and spoke about changes in the contemporary event formats.