Creativity is hard to define but even harder to quantify. Few people would disagree that creativity is also an indispensable and very tangible resource in making places around the world more liveable and open. This is true in the case of Russia where locals, particularly those living outside of Moscow and St Petersburg, are often forced to be exceptionally creative to deal with the pressures of the day. As the director of an award-winning advertising agency from Yekaterinburg, Nikita Kharisov explains: “This sense of daily resistance makes you look at the world from a very different angle and it prompts you to come up with some brilliantly twisted ideas.”
Some of these trailblazing ideas, people and projects are central to Calvert 22 Foundation’s upcoming Index of Creative Capital, a part of which is previewed here. Produced in association with PwC in Russia and to be launched later this year, the index is designed to gauge key economic indicators that make for more innovative cities. Focusing on nine pilot cities (listed here in alphabetial order), it will reveal the vital qualitative aspects of creative life — such as openness, as well as racial, sexual, gender and religious diversity — that very few organisations have ever tried to examine comprehensively. This selection, compiled with the help of local researchers, writers and photographers, is just a little taste of a bubbling grass-root scene that is slowly but steadily changing Russia for the better.