Museums as Social and Educational Spaces – Practical Training for Work with Different Audiences

The Bulgarian-American Commission for Educational Exchange, in partnership with My Museum Foundation and the museums in Plovdiv, offers a ten-month training project aimed at the development of educational and social capacity of the  museums in the city of Plovdiv and the region. The program is supported by the “Plovdiv 2019” Municipal Foundation, and will be carried out by means of eleven seminars and practical workshops for museum professionals. The project will conclude with the publication of a handbook that summarizes the methodologies, the case studies from the museums in Plovdiv, as well as the results of the workshops.

The seminars will familiarize the participants with the theory and methodology, but above all, they will offer practical training – something that stipulates the limit of participants to 16-18.

The project represents a unique opportunity for museum specialists in Plovdiv to participate for extended period of time in training seminars, at which to re-think the social role of museums, to build shared understanding and strategies how to engage various communities and to open up museums as active social and educational spaces where various communities and guests of Plovdiv will engage with the distinct life and culture of Plovdiv.

Immediate learning outcomes of the project will be:

  • The establishment of mechanisms for improving internal communication in museums in projects involving diverse audiences;
  • Improving approaches to public relations;
  • Building up a repertoire of new ideas and specific models for social and educational work with audiences;
  • The promotion of dialogue between museums, educational institutions and communities.

The seminar leaders are established experts in a range of fields — PR, museology, museum learning and visitor programs, advocacy in the field of social inclusion and disabilities:

Milin Djhalaliev (Publicis ONE)

Milin Djalaliev is the Executive Director of the Publicis ONE Communication Cluster, which includes the Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis, MSL, BrandWorks brands. He has been working in the advertising industry for more than ten years. Milin is the Program Director of the Master’s degree program “Advertising, Innovative Marketing and Brand Management”, a joint initiative of the Higher School of Insurance and Finance and Saatchi & Saatchi – Bulgaria.

Lilyana Lipcheva (Learning museum at the Regional History Museum -- Varna)

Lilyana Lipcheva is the Head curator at the Learning Museum at the Regional History Museum in Varna. After seven years as a history teacher, in 1989 she moved to the newly established Learning Museum, the first of its kind in Bulgaria. For decades, she has been developing programs that integrate museum expositions with inquiry and creativity workshops where visitors (young and adult) have a direct encounter and handle select museum artifacts.

Adriana Lubenova (Plovdiv University ``Paisij Hilendarsky``, My Musem Foundation)

Adriana H. Lubenova is an Assistant Professor in the Christian Theology/Christian Art at Plovdiv University “Paisij Hilendarsky.” She has had extensive experience as icon-painting teacher at the Academy of Music, Theatre, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv and as the Director of the Iconography Studio at the Holly Metropolitan Church of Plovdiv. She holds a Ph.D. in from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and a BFA degree in fine arts and sculpture from George Mason University, the USA. She also holds Master’s degrees in three areas — Church Painting, Archeology – Conservation and Restoration and Practical Theology. He has had many years of experience in training interns and in work with people with special needs.

Liliana Milkova (The Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, USA)

Liliana V. Milkova has a Ph.D. degree in an art history from the University of Pennsylvania (the USA), with focus on modern and contemporary art. For the past nine years he has been working as the Curator of Academic Programs at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in the US. There she develops the full range of educational programming – educational exhibits, specialized visits, internship programs, training courses for the university lecturers and school teachers.

Maria Karadecheva (Regional History Museum – Plovdiv)

Maria P. Karadecheva is the Head curator at the Regional History Museum in Plovdiv. After four years as teacher in history, she moves to museum career, with specific interest in the history of Eastern Rumelia and the Unification of Bulgaria in 1885. She has been involved in museum education since 1989 and had specializations in Poland and the United States. She has carried out numerous projects in museum learning, including publications of methodology toolkits – “Pieces of Memory” and “Memory for Tomorrow at the Museum Workshop”.

Todor Petev (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski,” My Museum Foundation)

Todor T. Petev is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Pre-school and Elementary School Education of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “. He has a PhD in art history from Princeton University and is one of the founders of the My Museum Foundation, an NGO focused on the development of the learning and social potential of Bulgarian museums and galleries. He has worked at American universities and museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Viktoria Petrova (Publicis ONE)

Victoria Petrova is responsible for the selection, development and motivation of human resource in Publicis ONE, the largest communications group in Bulgaria with more than 100 employees. She holds an MA in Public Relations from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “. She has extensive experience in lecturing, leading workshops and managing internship programs organized by Publicis ONE at the National Academy of Fine Arts, the New Bulgarian University and Sofia University.

Anna Yanina (Alter Consult Inc.)

Anna Yanina is an international consultant and advocate in the field of social inclusion and disabilities for more than a decade. She is the founder of Alter Consult Ltd., the first company in Bulgaria to offer training and consultancy in the area of disability. She has been a guest lecturer at the Department for Information and Teacher Education, Thracian University in Stara Zagora and at the National Sports Academy “Vasil Levski”.

Meglena Zapreva (The Cathedral School, New York)

Meglena T. Zapreva is a pedagogue and artist. She has had many years of experience in the educational programming in several of the top museums in New York. Currently, she teaches at the New York City Cathedral School, where she also coordinates and prepares the methodology for outdoor classes held at museums and other sites. She holds master’s degrees in museum pedagogy and elementary school teaching from the Bank Street College of Education in New York.

The project is sponsored by Plovdiv 2019 Municipal Foundation. Seminars are conducted at the Regional Archaeological Museum, and the Regional History Museum in Plovdiv between February 2018 and March 2019. For more information please contact Rada Kaneva, tel.  02 9808212; e-mail: