How MOVABOX changed the attitude to literature
Modern Belarusian literature - what is it like? Someone will definately say: boring. And someone will start quoting Horvat’s diary stories with passion. Unfortunately, these people will be a minority. As for a majority, they are confident that Belarusian books tell us about the war and the guerrillas and don’t seem to be interesting. But it is not true!
To develop a large-scale integrated project aimed at supporting Belarusian literature and culture. This activity is an important part of corporate social responsibility of velcom company. Among other projects of the similar type of the mobile operator – educational initiative “We read in Belarusian with velcom”, the project “Museum for children with velcom”, support of the program “Amateur’s travel” and others. Objective: change the stereotypes of modern Belarusian literature, to convey that it is of immediate interest, challenging, inspiring and interesting – which in fact it is.
How to grab the attention of users? Do something incredible! Materialize things that were not tangible before. For example, the contents of the books. Invite to an interactive adventure on the book pages. Show them and let them feel the smell of happiness or the taste of joy. Or, for example, present characters’ travel map. Or gift a magnet of the city which exists only in the mythical world of one of the Belarusian books.
But it’s better to collect all the items in the literary set with the book included. To cover it with ribbon and make all sets limited. And then raffle off among all those interested in book adventures.
Well, that’s the way it should be done!
Literary sets got the name MOVABOX and became the reason to start a great talk about modern Belarusian literature.
It all started with small steps: users were invited to the project website movabox.by to pass the test with no right or wrong answers, but only with intriguing result: which of the book characters you are similar to? What is your type of poetic hooliganism? What is your path to inner universe?
Everyone who passed the test on the site and left their contact information had an opportunity to get MOVABOX sets.
The tests were based on modern Belarusian books: fiction “Student Vyrvich’s Adventures” by Lyudmila Rublevskaya, language phantasmagoria “Alindarka’s Children” by Alhierd Baharevich, hooligan poetry collection “Woodpecker and tree hollow” by Victor Zhibulya and diary story “Radio “Prudok”“ by Andrew Horvat. Each book became movabox.by site “mistress” for 6 weeks.
Book authors became co-authors of the project: they offered a range of items to the literature set, came up with the ideas for the test questions and even made up conclusions about the project.
“Everyone needs to have that little hooligan inside who represents the ability to perceive even “adult” reality with interest, spontaneity, openness. Who lives in each of the poems included in the collection “Woodpecker and tree hollow”. That is why I am so impressed with MOVABOX project – especially with its intension to update the perception of Belarusian literature, to get rid of existing stamps and clichés” – says Victor Zhybul.
“The main thing that MOVABOX project does is that it helps modern Belarusian literature exist for a real, not an imaginary reader. The only way the written word remains alive is when there are those who read and understand it”,- tells Alhierd Baharevich.
The author of the first MOVABOX Lyudmila Rublevskaya also shares her impressions: “I am grateful for the idea of the project to bring Belarusian literature to the reader by means of an unexpected communication format. I realized that it works thanks to my own experience. The best proof for me is all the kind of words and positive comments that I’ve recieved from friends and strangers over the past week”.
“Searching for happiness, discovering your inner world and looking for a right place in the universe – do you agree that each of us spends most of the time thinking about it? And the main thing that national literature does – it helps to find and understand that place. And MOVABOX project plays an important role in supporting “its” own “common roots, the continuity of the past, present and future. And I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in it”, – said Andrew Horvat.
WHAT was inside the set?
A MOVABOX set contained unusual items of literary world. For example, a MOVABOX based on the book “Radio “Prudok”” by Horvat had a jar of jam, brewed by culture expert Maxim Zhbankov, the tube with the smell of happiness, a packet with seed that can be planted in a pot not only to remember the roots, but also see them and other interesting things.
The concept of MOVABOX project PR-support provided offline activities with participation of authors and readers, press events and additional literature promotion. After some time after project launch the site has gone beyond the Internet. 20 shelves of Belarusian-Bookcrossing to exchange modern Belarusian books appeared in cafés in seven Belarusian towns.
“The works of modern Belarusian authors deserve to be read. As the whole Belarusian literature. Starting Belarusian Bookcrossing in MOVABOX project we aim to help the books come to their readers. Another goal is to show the diversity and complexity of the Belarusian literary process”, – said Vyacheslav Smirnov, Head of Corporate Communications department of company velcom.
Also, according to the results of each stage one randomly selected winner of the 20 MOVABOX owners had a chance to meet the author. Interesting conversations took place during the conversation: about the state of modern Belarusian literature, attitude to it in educational institutions, translations of works into different languages and the ways writers find ideas for their works.
During the second stage MOVABOX became available also to young readers. Meeting with Olga Gapeeva, author of the book of stories for children “Sad Soup” was organized for young reading lovers.
Besides an opportunity to meet the writer and the characters of her book young participants built a symbolic “Friendship Tower” erector set and learned about Bookcrossing and MOVABOX project.
Especially for the third stage of the project MOVABOX “artifact” of the book was developed for everyone – a unique sticker MOVABOX. Anyone could get it in Minsk bookstores if they bought any of Belarusian books.
Image of Belarusian literature
But how can we understand whether the project MOVABOX has changed attitude to Belarusian literature or not? Has it made it more attractive and recognizable? To solve this problem a survey had been conducted among users of social networks before the start of the project. And a similar survey was held again after the completion of the project.
The experiment helped to get an idea whether the project managed to change the existing picture of Belarusian literature.
MOVABOX significantly influenced the perception of modern Belarusian literature: the list of writers that survey participants called familiar has changed considerably. The top included the names of all MOVABOX participating authors.
the number of people who visited the movabox.by site
the number of people who took part in the MOVABOX drawing activity
printed materials published in media and more than 370 media resources in social networks