Volunteering and art: artists and activists shared their ideas on how to make the world a better place

9 october 2023

On October 6, SIBUR held its annual People Changing the World Forum, where invited Russian entertainers, TV and radio personalities involved in volunteering and charity met with the company's volunteers. They had a discussion focusing on how the combination of art and volunteering can create new opportunities for the development and transformation of culture scenes across the nation's cities and regions.

A discussion panel titled Volunteering in Art and its Social and Cultural Significance featuring Rodion Gazmanov, musician, singer, and trustee of the Old Age Can Be a Joy charity, Dina Korzun-Frank, actress and co-founder of the Gift of Life charity foundation, and Mikhail Bashkatov, actor and TV host, was the forum's centerpiece. The panel was moderated by Ksenia Lamshina, head of Kultura radio network, author and host of the Cultural Motive and Close Music programs.

Ksenia Lamshina, Head of Kultura radio network, author and host of the Cultural Motive and Close Music programs: Volunteering in culture is in many respects about one's affection for the place they live in. Any socio-cultural project focuses on an individual's outlook. Being a part of such projects, volunteering brings about a change in people's worldview. The more there is volunteerism in the realm of culture, the more there will be people who would look at the world and the community they live from a different perspective.

The panelists shared with the delegates of the SIBUR Volunteer Forum their own stories of how they had gotten involved in volunteering and charity, and which of their own projects in this field they find to be the most significant. During the panel discussion, the acclaimed performers raised a number of essential questions: how does volunteering help advance the development of art in Russia; what are the social and cultural roles that charitable and volunteering projects in the field of art play; to what extent does fame help one create and implement new projects?

All panelists agree that volunteering initiatives spearheaded by art practitioners provide the industry as a whole with a new impetus for further advancement. Volunteering today is a sine qua non resource for multiplying social good and for transforming the cultural scene of Russia, especially in its provinces, located far away from the capital and major administrative and industrial centers.

Another important part of the forum's program was its educational component. Georgy Ryumin, creative producer of Gazprom-Media Holding Group and head of the Territoriya KIT project, addressed SIBUR's activists with a talk on corporate social responsibility, its meaning, origins, and its current relevance.

As with any other fields of human activity, volunteering is by no means static. Nowadays, volunteers have the power to improve their societies with the help of advanced technologies. Evgeny Nikitin, Head of AI at Cels, gave a talk on "AI in everyday life and volunteering" highlighting some of the most advanced and effective uses of innovative digital solutions and knowledge.

Mikhail Karisalov, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of SIBUR, thus acknowledged the attainments of the company’s volunteers speaking at the opening of the forum: On my own behalf and on behalf of the entire company, I would like to thank you all. What you do which essentially boils down to helping others is the cornerstone of what constitutes human values and something very personal. You do something that cannot be delegated to another person. And you act without even being asked to. Together, we are working to make sure that SIBUR remains to be a company with a humane face, a company that cares about its staff and the people who live near our plants.

Elena Snezhko, head of SIBUR's Formula for Good Deeds program, thanked the forum's participants and guests on behalf of its organizers: I am pleased to note that every year this event brings together members of the close-knit family of volunteers, the most active volunteers from the company's various enterprises. For each of you, this is an opportunity to get together, share your experiences, talk about some of your most iconic projects and achievements over the previous year, she said. The interest that artists and representatives of other companies have shown in this gathering is a testament to the fact that today the boundary between corporate volunteering and society at large is getting increasingly blurred. This integration is, strategically, perhaps the most important outcome of your efforts.

SIBUR's corporate volunteering forum People Changing the World is held annually as part of the company's social investment program, The Formula for Good Deeds. This year's event brought together 186 people from 28 cities across the nation who are the most active participants of the company's large-scale volunteering movement that counts 9,000-plus activists.

Svetlana Dobrotvorskaya, operator of SIBUR-Neftekhim's light and heavy esters distillation plant, Ambassador of the Formula for Good Deeds program in Dzerzhinsk: The volunteers' forum has become not only a source of inspiration for all of us, but also a platform for holding seminal discussions, a place for meeting amazing people and for sharing our undying enthusiasm and experience. Thanks to its excellent logistics, attention to details, comfortable atmosphere, personnel who were always happy to answer any questions and help us, the forum has succeeded in creating a very special atmosphere of hospitality and care, allowing us to focus on the most important things: on volunteering and on sharing our experience. Kudos to the organizers for their tireless work and for the tremendous effort that went into organizing this Volunteering Forum!