Promoting Tolerance In Students As A Result Of Studying Cultures Of Ural


This article focuses on promoting tolerance in master students of decorative and applied arts and tolerant treatment of specific Russian national cultures. Research is based on the statement that tolerance as a personal quality relies on knowledge and is formed in the process of active cognitive and artistic activities. Promotion is more efficient, when it is organized in a systematic and consistent way, therefore the role of a teacher is great here. First, students are surveyed through questionnaires and their knowledge of Ural peoples and cultures is tested, primarily, because this region is populated by dozens of different nationalities, many of whom have preserved their individuality. Involving master students in creative and research work enables not only to fill gaps in their knowledge, but form the awareness of new principles of coexistence and interpenetration of cultures. This has become the foundation for a more tolerant attitude to the specific characteristics which are yet to be integrated by other cultures and present the distinct features of different people. Deep insight into the conditions of integrating various cultures helps students to define their own position in this process and the place of their research work in decorative and applied arts and crafts. This is one of the results of these studies in the institute of building, architecture and arts of Magnitogorsk state technical university.

Keywords: Tolerancenational culturesmaster students of decorative and applied arts


At all times education is the main repository and translator of cultural traditions, passed on from generation to generation. Education is responsible for maintaining the certain level of development of productive forces, bridging the gap between generations, acquiring the holistic awareness of the world and common values, forming the tolerant perception in the majority of population in every country. Success and prosperity of Russia in the XXI century in many ways is determined by the quality of human capital – the level of education, professional competence of specialists and, which is not less important, moral – the degree of spiritual wealth.

Tolerance, as a personal quality, is especially important in the regions with multi-national population. Ural is referred to as a crossroad of cultures, because there has never been a single core nation, people coming and going, leaving the traces as names of mountain ridges, lakes and valleys. The XX century is not an exception: revolution, wars, discovering oil in Bashkiria, closeness to now external borders – all this has contributed to migration processes. Nowadays together with the people from the neighbouring countries – the territory of Ural region is populated by Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Belarusians, Azerbaijanians, Armenians, Tadjiks, Uzbeks; there is a part of population from their national republics or areas – Tatars, Mordovians, people of Mari, Chuvash, Khanty, Mansi, Nenets and other. There are also really small communities, inhabiting this region for a long time – Nogais, Nagaybaks.

The culture of Ural peoples is unique and distinctive. Wonderful fables abound in bright, mysterious plots, where fragments of Khanty-Mansi mythology are intertwined with Turkic legends and the Russian «common sense». While development of writing and reforming the languages of national minorities has been directly assisted by the state and representatives of Russian culture, the decorative and applied arts, which already existed in every, even smallest, ethnic community, have followed its own distinctive way. Unique monuments of folk crafts are held in museums, many exhibits impress with their sophistication. However there are whole branches of decorative and applied arts which, for various reasons, remain little known, not sufficiently explored and excluded from the general knowledge of Ural culture. This is a wide area of scientific research for masters of decorative and applied arts (Zhdanova & Gavritskov, 2017).

The ultimate goal of studies for a master degree is forming the scientific and research culture, which consists of many different components, including moral ones. One vital component, especially for masters in decorative and applied arts and crafts is tolerance – toleration of other worldview, lifestyle, behaviour, customs, art.

Any master degree has strategic directions of research, and ours is not an exception. At the same time, students are free to choose their topics. There are always the themes, related with the regional component, art of Ural. The process of defining and choosing already tells a lot: about research interests, preferences, awareness of relevant topics, importance of future results. Even more food for thought is obtained through surveying and testing, which is always carried out at the beginning of study. As a result of them, the gaps in the knowledge of Ural history, culture of different people and decorative and applied arts become obvious.

Interdisciplinary integration enables to relate the topic of scientific research with the completion of tasks in other disciplines, thus the practice of involving project activities. Master students acquire the knowledge of specific features of national cultures within the scientific research, and deepen it in the discipline «Project and project completion in material», where they necessarily make some work in the national style. After multiple tests this project has become puppets in national costume with some attributes in hands. In creative artistic activities the knowledge, skills, mastery and moral qualities of a personality merge together. It is often said that the knowledge part is more important, however our experience proves that the importance of other components in this phenomenon is growing. If a man acquires such quality as tolerance, it will be with him/her for the rest of life and affect every type of activity.

Problem Statement

The questions, related with intercultural interaction and tolerance, always emerge in the study process, but this is spontaneous and irregular. They concern both the history of international relations among the different nations of the Ural region, and the specific features of the development of decorative and applied arts. The determination of some master students and their will to receive exhaustive replies requires to organize the existing information of arts, belonging to different peoples of Ural. Speculations of students about the importance of achievements of every nationality and its role in the common cultural space of Russia demonstrates that ignorance generates the poverty and shallowness of judgements, wrong evaluation and distorted system of values. The necessity emerges to answer the question: how to organize learning so that a student not only gains knowledge, but forms values, including such personal quality as tolerance. It is obvious that a focused work is needed to promote the tolerant attitude of master students to the specific features of every culture, existing on the territory of our country.

Research Questions

To preserve the united Russian state, and, most importantly, for a safe and comfortable life in this country, it is necessary to develop tolerance in people towards specific features of everyone, respect to other religion and culture. Tolerance is formed in early childhood and develops throughout the whole life of a person that is the reason why nowadays it is given so much attention in mass media, television, social networks and scientific literature. Social and humanitarian aspects of tolerance are considered in the monograph, co-authored by a large number of writers, who reveal the complexity and depth of this problem.

Unfailing interest to this issue enables the increasing number of research works by both Russian and foreign scientists. The studies, concerning students, are of particularly high importance for us (Kudrina, 2013; Frolova, 2016).

At present many ways of developing this personal quality have already been found, one of the effective directions is art in all its forms, it becomes the indicator of tolerance in a society. Forming tolerance via the means of national art is considered in the works of М.I. Frolova (Frolova, 2016). In her article she argues and describes the meaning of art as a historically developed system of various concrete ways of artistic world perception, as a way of organizing interpersonal contacts, mutual understanding, dialogue, transfer and perception of information and cultural values. In our opinion, it is art that is able to unite, stimulate moral and aesthetic feelings, and actively transform the world.

Decorative and applied art has also been in the focus of research. A number of scientists study the possibility of art to achieve the tolerance of people in various age groups (Vorobiev, 2011; Erofeeva & Tsygankova, 2011; Petrakova, 2013; Radosteva, 2011).

Together with the tolerance in a growing personality the civic identity is formed, development of which is defined not only by the fact of citizenship, but these relation and feelings, with which it is connected. The basic identifying mechanism is patriotism as a feeling of commitment to a civil community, its recognition as a value.

Free identification of a person with people (Russian nation), its involvement in cultural, public life of the country, feeling of engagement in the future, present and past of the Russian nation – in D.V. Grigoriev’s view – make up a civil identity (Grigoriev, 2016). He is supported by other authors Karakhanova, Orudjalieva & Panakhova, (2012).

The special features of the Ural culture are described in various publications. These are monographs, coursebooks, books, articles. (Kanunnikov & Gherasev, 2017; Kanunnikov & Norets, 2017) An interesting position is held by М.V. Sokolov and М.S. Sokolova, who in their monograph emphasize exactly the decorative and applied arts of Ural as an inalienable part of the Russian national wealth. (Sokolov & Sokolova, 2015).

Being inherently national, the decorative and applied arts express not only the ethnic concepts of beautiful and ugly, but people’s ideas of kind and evil, social and spiritual values.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of this study – to confirm the positive influence of research and creative-artistic activities in the area of decorative and applied arts on the personalities of master students and the process of forming their tolerance towards national features of different nations.

Research Methods

Education of master students, majoring in decorative and applied arts, is based on the competency approach, which determines not only the amount of knowledge and skills, but certain personality traits, in our case these are the qualities of a researcher and art expert.

The first stage of our study is surveying students, as tolerance is expressed through cognition and moral values, the questionnaires partially reveal the awareness and attitude to the specific characteristics of national cultures. The survey test three parts:

-knowledge of Ural history;

-attitude to the civil self-identification;

-knowledge of decorative and applied arts and folk crafts of Ural.

The second stage of research – organizing students’ activities, learning the decorative and applied arts and folk crafts of Ural. The role of a teacher is vital here, who ought to explain that for a genuinely expert investigation of arts it is necessary to be personally involved in dealing with a studied object and in this case the topics of regional decorative and applied arts are preferable. Sometimes students put forward these suggestions themselves, if they have already been engaged in certain directions of regional art.

The third and final stage – testing the knowledge and moral values of master students in a practical activity. What is realized here represents the well-known and well-tested principle of the complex fixation of all personality traits via a creative artistic project of making a work in the national style.


The word itself «tolerance» is relatively new, though its meaning is as old «as the hills» and always relevant. Tolerance means treating with care the feelings, different opinions, behaviour, mindset, worldview of others. Synonyms are toleration, acceptance, patience. A tolerant person – is a personality, who has spiritual and moral values and qualities.

National tolerance implies respecting people of other nationalities, it can manifest at different levels from the national to household. It is against social injustice, yielding to foreign views and beliefs, forceful obtrusion of opinions on others. As any complex phenomenon it has its advantages and disadvantages, but modern society believes that benefits outweigh the drawbacks, because the way of interaction among people with different views leads to the personal growth of everyone and social development of all.

The contents of literary works place emphasis on the ideas of beauty, good in the cultural traditions of different nations, evaluate the phenomena of the world through their chosen moral and aesthetic criteria. It is through the art that people familiarize with the world history and culture, the knowledge of which is inalienable part of educating a tolerant mind

Master students come to study here from various regions and countries. The analysis of learners for the last decade shows that most students have their bachelor degree, so they are well aware of history and modern trends in the decorative and applied arts in the world and our country. However, when it comes to regional art, difficulties arise. This has led to a special survey, which has brought rich data and food for thought, resulting in corrections of a learning process for undergraduates. At the same time it is impossible to state that the problem is solved. Students from other universities and with degrees in other disciplines apply to a master course, therefore testing the research aptitude of applicants remains a starting point of teaching and educational process (Zhdanova, 2017).

The developed questionnaire for testing the knowledge of regional art and students’ attitude consists of three parts – the first part concerns the knowledge of Ural history and includes a number of questions, regarding nations, inhabiting this region at different epochs, their contribution to the world history, their interrelationship, current affairs. Certain emphasis is placed on the questions of legal status of every nation and relations with the state.

The second part of the questionnaire concerns the civil identity, this is a vital topic, as the territory of Kazakhstan is near, at present it is a very friendly country with a large share of Russian population. A considerable number of applicants come from there, this situation calls for tact in the discussions about civil identity, common historical development.

Civil identity is really close to the notion of tolerance, because it implies:

- basic knowledge of development and formation of the Russian state, its boundaries, special features of culture of both the country and region, geographical position, achievements of the country in literature, art, science;

- knowledge of national holidays and state symbols;

- awareness of Russia as a multi-religion, multi-national country, its nations, their culture and traditions;

- goodwill towards others, interethnic tolerance;

- pride for the country and patriotism.

When the structure of civil identity is carefully analysed, it looks as if it coincides with the structure of tolerance. Knowledge of students, their moral values, emotions and behaviour enable to judge the degree of identity. The key factor, defining the characteristics of civil identity, is personal meaning and value orientation. It is known that values and emotions can prevail and considerably affect the cognition.

The third part of the survey is about decorative and applied art of Ural. It includes both questions and illustrations, where students are asked to classify objects and ornaments to match national characteristics. Questions cover all types of decorative and applied art, every nation is presented through its best achievements. The results of surveying sometimes vary considerably from year to year, but with time a few trends have been established, enabling to draw certain conclusions.

Students’ knowledge of Ural history is fragmented: they have vague awareness of the ancient times, get confused in the chronology. The most solid knowledge is demonstrated in the history of the ХХ century, virtually everyone knows that Ural is populated with many nationalities, students can name the largest ethnic groups and correctly locate their geographical position on the map.

Students’ awareness of their civil identity is far from complete, adequate and consistent. They have ambiguous ideas about identity features, principles and basics of national union (territorial, cultural, political), although these topics are covered within the course of social studies in comprehensive schools. The great majority call themselves patriots, though they hardly accept everything in the country now.

The survey reveals that master students are mostly familiar with only those types of decorative and applied arts, which are known in Russia and famous in the world. These are cast-iron moulding in Kasli and Zlatoust engraving. Kasli iron sculptures, which amazed the world as early as the beginning of the ХХ century at the World Fair in Paris, and was successfully developed in the Soviet period. Artisans created finest chandeliers, statues, sculptures and jewellery, which were used to decorate public buildings and even interiors of residencies (Sokolov, 2017).

Bladed weapons, engraved by Zlatoust craftsmen, were just as famous; damask steel, made by Ural masters, could compete with the best samples of damascene. The world museums are proud to exhibit in their collections these exquisite blades of amazing strength.

Students have only general awareness of Ural jewellery school, activities of Ural lapidary masters, the achievements in the area of metal working, which are extracted from the local ores that abound here. Little is known about wood and bone carving, and their knowledge, if any at all, concerns mainly Russian masters, however when it comes to textile, Kazakh, Bashkir and Udmurt names begin to emerge. Here the awareness of national traditional costumes springs to mind. At the same time students are not aware of such notion as «Permian animal style» created by Khanty-Mansi masters. The ancient bronze figurines of mythical creatures, discovered by archeologists, are hardly recognized. The situation is slightly better in terms of the knowledge of ornaments, most students distinguish them well, correctly classifying Russian and Turkic patterns, though Finno-Ugrian motifs get confused.

All this has led to the conclusion to organize the educational practice, where together with knowledge the tolerance towards specific features of every culture is formed. It is necessary to develop a complex task, completion of which would enable students to obtain or update the required knowledge, and reinforce it via an active cognitive and creative process. Folk craft has been selected – as living art, which attracts and establishes its finest, at times hardly visible, connections between nature and humans, history and modernity. Forms of folk art encapsulate values, which are critical for human life and preservation of culture.

After a few trial works we have decided on making puppets in national costumes. Students choose the nationalities themselves, which make them, though superficially, explore all the representatives of Ural population. The choice says a lot about a student, reveals preferences, forces to argue the position and will power, gives food for thought to a teacher.

Everything starts with browsing through various publications, museum and exhibition catalogues. Writing a theoretical part reinforces the ability of students to work with information sources and prepare goal-oriented text materials. It has been established that certain national costumes are covered in very scarce sources, what is more, «there are gaps» in knowledge, concerning certain historical periods. For example, the folk costume of Tula region in the European part of Russia is well-known, whereas how it changed after the population migrated to Ural remains unexplored. «It is hard to trace, though it is very interesting», - say students.

Students have to provide argumentation for their choice, they do it in public discussion at a special class. All participants and audience ask questions, give comments and recommendations. Freedom of expression is based on openness and dialogue, which affect the relations of people and social groups within a society. It is reflected in tolerance, without it no exchange or public discussion is possible. Freedom of expression is a «litmus test» of life convictions, which unite civilians of a certain society.

Practical work starts with sketching and drafting, searching for an image, a character. Many students begin drawing young people, selecting types of clothing: festival or everyday, summer or winter. For making a puppet it is important to reflect a typical selection of things, this is done by searching through a large number of pictures and old photos – invaluable documents of the past. Many photos are found in museums, where it is also possible to explore the surviving samples of national clothes. Communication with museum staff enables to see the big picture as they share with the knowledge that is hardly ever published.

Having selected the position and sizes, students search for the required materials, since the task does not involve creating an ethnographic costume, it is possible to use modern cloth, similar in colour and texture. The same principle is applied to decoration and accessories, they have to suit the character and national style, but never copy a given sample.

Figure 1: Handmade puppets «Babushki-Sudarushki». Students’ works.
Handmade puppets «Babushki-Sudarushki». Students’ works.
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The task is aimed not at creating an ethnographic character, but a generalized one, reflecting national features of a prototypical figure, face, posture, clothes, accessories, and most importantly – expressing the attitude of an artist towards the completed work. Any type of art enables a creator to embody some part of artistic mind, allows spectators to perceive how the artist evaluates his or her work. Looking at the puppets, shown in Fig. 1 , it is possible to confirm that authors express a very active life position. Addressing «babushkas» demonstrates respect to older generation, which is of great value.

Educational processes can hardly be measured via science-based tools, the effects of education can only be seen as behaviour and actions, heard in judgement and evaluation, as well as perceived as results of human activities. Statements and opinions can be found in scientific papers, however there can be an issue with insincerity, or ambiguity of expression when the difference « between good and evil» is hardly visible. In this regard we put more value on the results of practical activities of students. It is harder to be cunning in art, the completed works speak for themselves. This series of puppets can be continued, as there are many nationalities in Ural, and it is necessary to teach new generations of students.


Resulting from the accumulated human experience of several nations, countries, cultures and civilizations, coexisting on the planet, the idea of tolerance slowly but surely penetrates the minds of people, becoming a vital part of their culture.

Studies for a master degree are aimed at forming the scientific and research culture, which implies in-depth awareness of the integrating conditions of various cultures. Through learning art, values, ideas, the stereotypes of other nations are transferred and acquired. Art broadens the mind and develops the world-view of a human in particular, as well as society as a whole, and, as a result, tolerance towards other people, formation of communicative culture, mutual understanding and toleration. The process of making puppets in national costumes enables students not only to learn cultures of different nations and ethnic groups, but to determine their own place in this world and the position of their scientific work on decorative and applied arts and folk crafts in the area of scientific thought. This is one of the essential outcomes of the undertaken project.


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29 March 2019

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Sergeevna, Z. N., Alekseevich, G. S., Sergeevna, A. Y., Eduardovich, K. P., & Ivanovna, M. Y. (2019). Promoting Tolerance In Students As A Result Of Studying Cultures Of Ural. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1782-1790). Future Academy.