Smolny Beyond Borders

A Liberal Arts Initiative

Vera Shengeliya

MA in Socially Engaged Practice in Museum and Galleries (Leicester University)

Over the last 20 years, Vera Shengeliya has worked as a journalist, museum executive, NGO
founder, and people with disabilities rights activist in Russia. In all of these capacities and institutions, she has worked to provide access to culture and information, promote rights and amplify the voices of underrepresented social groups: people with disabilities, children, orphans, migrants, incarcerated persons, and other people who have experienced isolation from society.

Vera Shengeliya holds a Master’s degree from Leicester University in Socially Engaged Practice in Museums and Galleries. She has learned from Richard Sandell (among other things, he was the co-author and the editor of Prejudice and Pride: LGBTQ heritage and its contemporary implications ), who influenced her understanding of museum work as activism.
For the last 10 years, she has studied the representation of disability by cultural institutions in Russia, and the history of disability in the USSR and modern Russia.

Her entire life, she lived in Russia before Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Now she lives in New York.