Go Viral Festival in Ashgabat: Two Days of Creative Ideas, Trainings and Networking

In late July over 150 members of the Go Viral community in Turkmenistan gathered again at one place to discuss key trends in media, business, culture and technology development at the second festival in Ashgabat. The event became a good platform for sharing ideas, inspiration and cooperation between creative people, who aspire to self-development and transformation of the world around them.

The meeting in the capital of Turkmenistan traditionally became a part of the bigger regional Go Viral festival. Earlier this year similar events were already held in the largest cities of Central Asia – Tashkent, Osh, Dushanbe and Astana.

The festival was organised in four thematic directions: ‘Media’, ‘Business’, ‘Culture’ and ‘Technology’. Various events in the form of panel discussions, master classes, presentations and film screenings were held in each of directions.

This year’s symbol of the Go Viral festival is the art, namely drawings and photographs.

“We want to create the feeling of unity via them among diverse participants of the bigger Go Viral community across Central Asia. We believe that art is the instrument that joins and can be used to connect people despite geographical and cultural boundaries,” said Elena Gareyeva, honorary ambassador of Go Viral in Ashgabat.

This year guests and speakers of the festival paid much attention to the influence of artificial intelligence on development of creative industry and culture as a whole. The key speech of the event by the American writer Greg Buford was about it. He shared his opinion about the role of AI in the life of a modern person and tried to answer the question together with the audience – should we, and mainly representatives of creative professions, be wary of this kind of technology.

The festival programme contained several hours of formal and informal networking. Thus, specialists in various fields and founders of start-ups had an opportunity to meet, share contacts and ideas for joint creation of creative industries in Turkmenistan.

“One of the subjects of this festival was ‘Inspiration’. Looking at this crowd today, I see many inspired faces and it inspires me. You are inspiring me!” said Matthew S. Klimow, U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan, at the event.

To reflect the unity of all members of the Go Viral community across Central Asia, organisers provided every participant of the festival with the opportunity to write their message on the installation, which had intertwined arms in the centre. They reflect the key value of Go Viral – the significance of human connections. At the end of all festivals, these masterpieces from all member countries will be combined into one big piece of art.

A social media contest was held during the festival. Participants needed to create a post on Instagram together with other guest of the Go Viral, whom they met during the event. At the closing ceremony, the head of diplomatic mission of the United States in Turkmenistan handed over memorable gifts to the winners, who were selected randomly by the organisers by means of the randomizer.

Speakers of Go Viral in Ashgabat spoke on various subjects, which affect and excite various communities in Central Asia. Among them, there are opportunities for creation and development of own business, use of latest achievements in information technology to solve daily tasks, content monetisation, and many others.

During theme sessions, participants learned about opportunities for women and girls in business, learned the fundamentals of graphic design, learned the basics of photography, and had an opportunity to practice in filming various objects and scenes.

At the panel discussion dedicated to business sphere, representatives of various business projects of Turkmenistan shared their personal experience, successes and difficulties they had when creating and developing their enterprises. Special emphasis was given to starting start-ups.

Speakers of the festival told how to effectively use social media to promote their products, services or ideas. They explained how to make attractive and convincing content for various platforms, how to target ads for their audience, how to film and edit videos for Instagram, TikTok and other platforms.

During the Go Viral, Turkmen filmmakers represented their works for the 48 Hour Film Race competition, where participants should make a short film in 48 hours on a given topic, in a given genre, and with the use of particular elements.

During the panel discussion “All about journalism in Turkmenistan: How to make popular content”, journalists of various media organisations and platforms discussed relevant topics of modern media. Special attention was paid to popularisation of Turkmen language, importance of its use by online media and social media.

During the closing ceremony, organisers of the event thanked all partners and volunteers, who made the festival possible. In general, Go Viral in Ashgabat became a lively and inspiring event, which again showed that Turkmenistan had many talented and active people, who were ready to share their ideas, to inspire and interact with each other.