How Ukrainians are fighting on the cultural front

The National Literary-Memorial Museum of H.S. Skovoroda after the Russian bombardment (with permission of the National Literary-Memorial Museum of H.S. Skovoroda)

The National Literary-Memorial Museum of H.S. Skovoroda after the Russian bombardment (with permission of the National Literary-Memorial Museum of H.S. Skovoroda)

War affects us in many ways, including loss of cultural heritage. But there is some light among the destruction, making a difference.

 Since the start of occupation in February 2022, Russian forces have damaged or outright destroyed more than 450 cultural landmarks, including 34 museums (according to the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation’s map of cultural losses). On 6 May, the National Literary-Memorial Museum of H.S. Skovoroda (the 18th century Ukrainian philosopher, poet, teacher, and composer) was destroyed by a targeted Russian missile in the Kharkiv Region. The Russian bombardment of the museum felt like an attack on the country’s soul because the philosopher-poet Skovoroda is an important symbol for the love of freedom.

A concept and a step-by-step plan for the reconstruction of the Skovoroda Museum were presented at the GAHI (Global Alliance for Heritage Interpretation) webinar ‘The Love of Freedom: Why the World Needs Skovoroda, and Ukrainian Culture’ in July 2022. This event involved Kateryna Сhuieva, Deputy Minister of The Ministry of Culture, and a diverse creative team consisting of museum staff, philosophers, a literary critic, an architect, etc. They presented a new concept, new spatial solutions and a new permanent exhibition for the Skovoroda Museum in accordance with current trends in the development of the museum sector.

Inna Kucher, creative leader of the Skovoroda Cultural Community and a сo-founder of Pump Communications Buro, in collaboration with a Radio Skovoroda, proposed to create an online platform, where any English and Ukrainian speaking person could learn more about the problem, the redevelopment initiative, Skovoroda himself, make a donation or join the community of Skovoroda-lovers. Later the Skovoroda Cultural Society will create a form of interaction for those who, like Skovoroda, have similar views and preferences. It will engage foreign Plast’s communities to learn about Skovoroda in an interactive way. The concept is ‘Live a day like Skovoroda’, so they can get to know the philosopher empirically.

Despite historical events that prevented Ukraine from participating in a large-scale dialogue of a free-world, now the mission is to speak and finally add the great contribution of Ukrainian artists, musicians, writers and poets to the universal heritage.

We will be very thankful for any kind of support and help.
Let’s make a difference together!

Kristina Bilyakovska is strategic leader of Skovoroda Cultural Community, a sustainable communications expert, and сo-founder of Pump Communications Buro (Kyiv, Ukraine). You can get in touch with her at: [email protected].

Nataliia Gudkova is IE’s Country Coordinator Ukraine. She is an Associate Professor of the State Ecological Academy of Postgraduate Education and Management (Kyiv, Ukraine). You can get in touch with her at: [email protected]

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