Project by Parsons School of Design, New York

“The Threads That Bind is an exhibition that surveys seven traditional museums in the Petrograd region of Saint Petersburg that together provide a historical overview of the moral, social, and economic imperatives of Russia’s last 100 years. During this period leaders have changed, belief systems evolved, wars have occurred, and economies risen and fallen, but the constant has been the role of the Russian people. They have provided strength and stability during times of transformation, and their profound respect for Russia’s cultural history and a deep knowledge of the innovators who comprise it has been a source of pride for generations. As opposed to focusing solely on the powerful, rich, and famous who generally constitute a historical narrative we have utilized this context to frame the people who are the keepers of Russian culture and it’s dialog. These are the curators, conservators, collectors, administrators, and docents who have dedicated lifetimes of oft unrecognized service so that others may learn from Russia’s social, political, and cultural past. Though socio-cultural history may be defined by disruptive moments, it endures through the constant effort of individuals.”

Thomas Werner

Parsons School of Design in New York, USA

Parsons School of Design in New York is the worlds #2 ranked university of art and design. Our diverse community of students and faculty explores multiple sites and scales of engagement, from on-campus research initiatives to partnerships that bring about change in New York and in the world. As part of The New School, Parsons shares an institutional vision that aligns with shifts in the global economy, society, and environment, which animate our mission and our values of creativity, innovation, social engagement, and a desire to challenge the status quo.


The Threads That Bind was created by Parsons School of Design in New York Photography Alumni, Fan Chen, Therese Ohrvall, Jessica Richmond, Media Studies Alumni Diana Khong, and faculty member Thomas Werner who served as curator and photographer.


Thomas Werner

Thomas is the author of the upcoming book The Fashion Image for Bloomsbury Press, London (Jan 2018), and an Editor at Large for IRKmagazine, a Paris based fashion and culture magazine and web site. An Assistant Professor and past Photography Program Director at Parsons School of Design in New York, Thomas currently lectures internationally on topics of photography, fashion, education, and contemporary professional practices. He is also the former owner of Thomas Werner Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea Art District, and recently lead a team developing a media and literacy web site and resource center in five languages, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic and English for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations/UNESCO. Werner has worked with the Department of State on cultural projects in Russia, and been a photography consultant for COACH and Rodale Publishing, among others. He is a recurrent instructor at the United Nations Education First Summer School, and is presenting workshops on effective message development and visual communication on an international basis.


Over the last 9 years his research work has been Russia centric spending an average of 70 days a year there partnering with 32 cultural, educational, and governmental organizations to develop projects in 29 cities. The focus has been the introduction of contemporary education methodologies, and the development of creative cultures within the country. Russian partners have included; The State Hermitage Museum, the National Center of Contemporary Art, Perm Regional Government, The Moscow Biennale for Young Art, National Centre of Photography for the Russian Federation, The Central State Archive of Film, Photographic and Phonographic Documents, The Pro Arte Foundation, and others. He has curated exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including seven co-curated exhibitions at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. His private collection of Russian photographs and artifacts, have been exhibited internationally.


Fan Chen

Growing up in the bustling street of New York City, Fan Chen is an artist who is interested in telling stories through found objects and spaces. In 2011, Fan Chen began her undergraduate studies at Parsons School of Design. In the photography program, she explored the integration of manual photographic processes with digital and motion technologies. In 2015, Fan Chen completed her thesis project, Matter, in which she collected plastic water bottles from public spaces within New York City. Her obsession with the found material evolved into using the bottles to create plastic sculptures. These sculptures were then reinstalled back into the public spaces in which they were found. Currently, Fan Chen works out of her studio in Brooklyn, creating photographic works for both commercial and exploratory purposes. Her work can be found in various online publications like Bustle, Refinery29, Buzzfeed and Time Magazine.


Diana Khong

Diana Khong received her MBA from Toronto’s York University and completed a Master’s program in Media Studies at The New School in New York. She has had extensive experience in creating media and communications projects within non-profit organizations supporting underserved communities. Diana has held a number of advising, managerial and consulting roles for arts and cultures organizations including: TIFF, Hot Docs and Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York. She has also served on the Board of Directors for one of Canada’s most distinguished live theater companies. Since arriving in New York, Diana has fully immersed herself in filmmaking and recently finished production of her debut documentary film.


Jessica Richmond

Jess Richmond received her BFA in photography from Parsons the New School for Design in New York City. Her work is primarily focused on personal documentary and self-portraiture. Richmond’s photographs have been the subject of exhibitions at Foley Gallery (New York, 2016), Division Gallery (Toronto, 2016), Milk Gallery (New York, 2016) and Sundaram Tagore Gallery (New York, 2015). Her work was awarded the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward award on behalf of the United States in 2016. She was also the youngest recipient of both PDN’s Curator Award as well as Surface Magazine’s Avant Guardian Award. Her photographs gave appeared in publications including The New York Times, Huffington Post, Vice, Harper’s Bazaar China, GUP Magazine, and Fast Company. Her commercial clients include Penguin Random House Publishing, Carolina Herrera, Casio, and Microsoft. She currently lives and works in New York.


Therese Öhrvall

Therese Öhrvall lives and works in New York City. A native Swede growing up in Colombia and Spain, Therese started photographing from a young age inspired by her mother, also a photographer. Öhrvall’s clients include TIME Magazine, W Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Wired, Refinery29, amongst others. Öhrvall’s work resides between portraiture and fashion, many times combining Swedish cinematographic references with American popular culture and symbolisms.


The State Museum of the History of St Petersburg, Peter and Paul Fortress, Poterna Exhibition Hall

The State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg is one of the biggest Russian historical museums, its collection totaling up to 1,5 million objects. The museum tells the history of the city since its foundation in 1703 till nowadays. The Museum is situated in the Peter and Paul Fortress and also has seven branches all over the city.

The Peter and Paul Fortress is architectural and historical center of St. Petersburg. The fortress was built to protect the Neva lands that were won from the Swedes during the Northern War (1700 – 21). During two centuries main St. Petersburg prison was located in the wall and casemates of this Fortress. Poterna (underground passway) and casemate are situated in the Gosudarev Bastion, the first one in the Peter and Paul Fortress, where the original bricklaying of the 18th century has been preserved. Now the impressive space of the Poterna passway is used for the museum temporary exhibits.


Address: Peter and Paul Fortress, Gosudarev Bastion

Closest metro station: Gorkovskaya, Sportivnaya

Tel.: +7 (812) 230 6431

Museum hours:

September, 23-30: Monday-Sunday 10:00–20:00

Since October, 1: Monday-Sunday 10:00–19:00