UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Borscht Parties and Kitchen Debates

07 June 2022, 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

People at a Borscht Party in Moscow

The kitchen as metaphor for Moscow art community and art institution between 2000 – 2020. SSEES Student Research seminar with Kitty Brandon-James

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to









UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton steret

This talk explores the use of a kitchen as framing metaphor for a PhD research paper about interconnections between informal artistic networks (tusovki) and artistic institutions in Moscow, 2000 - 2020. It proposes that the kitchen provides a way to think about the grey zones between public and private spaces in the noughties in Moscow – a laboratory for ideas to ferment, to clash, and to be exposed. Positioning the kitchen as a small slice of civil society that is always partially out of view, the talk explores the history of kitchen discourse in the Moscow artistic context by focusing on two collective works from the soviet and ‘post-Soviet’ generation: Andrei Monastyrski’s Collective Actions, (1976 -) and Anastasia Ryabova’s Night Movement (2015 -). Finally, this this talk reflects on uses and limits of the kitchen metaphor, positing that an expanded kitchen might be a method of preserving the grey in an increasingly militarised contemporary global discourse.

About the speaker:

Kitty Brandon-James is a doctoral researcher at The School of Slavonic Studies, UCL. Her project explores the intersections between Moscow art communities and institutions in 2000 – 2020. With an academic background in history of art and education, she spent five years working in Moscow, teaching art history at a university. This experience inspires and informs her research.

Image credit: Cold Night, Yaroslav Alyoshin, Anastasia Ryabova, Varvara Gevorgizova. Photographed by Igor Mukhin. 18th January 2015.