12/10/2022

Essays by participants of the Ukraine Lab writing residency

After Russia’s full-scale invasion has compromised the global system of security, the value of Ukrainian knowledge and experience can no longer be dismissed. The urgency to learn from Ukraine is now existential for the rest of the world. The Ukraine Lab writing residency has provided such an opportunity for six emerging writers from Ukraine and the UK.
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During six weeks in July and August 2022, Katia Iakovlenko and Jonny Turnbull, Sofia Cheliak and Kris Michalowicz, Olena Kozar and Phoebe Page have been working in cross-cultural writing pairs on their creative nonfiction pieces. We are proud to present the results of their work.

Focus: Environment 

  • Kateryna Iakovlenko’s ‘Black, White, and Colourless’ tells the story of the war-ravaged industrial region in the east of the country through the elements that shaped it: coal, salt, and gas.

Read in English in The Ecologist

Read in Ukrainian in Українська правда

  • Jonathon Turnbull’s ‘The Kyiv Thickets’ drifts through the wild and weird green spaces in Ukraine’s capital that are brimming with political potential.

Read in English in The Ecologist

Read in Ukrainian in Українська правда

Focus: War

  • Describing the first days of the full-scale invasion, Sofia Cheliak’s ‘Ukrainian Lottery’ takes a look at those surprising Ukrainians who reject the ready-made model of victimhood and resist the enemy with a sense of humour and purpose.

Read in English in MIR Online 

Read in Ukrainian in Тиждень

  • Kris Michalowicz’s moving essay ‘Luhansk, Stolen’ reminds us that Russia’s war of aggression did not start on 24 February 2022 but has been raging on for eight years.

Read in English in MIR Online

Read in Ukrainian in Тиждень 

Focus: Disinformation

  • Set in an underground garage and at the receiving end of life-changing news during the battle for Kyiv, Olena Kozar’s essay ‘How Do You Know?’ is a poignant reflection on the effects of information overflow.

Read in English in openDemocracy

Read in Ukrainian in Espreso

  • Exposing how our attention and emotions are manipulated, Phoebe Page’s piece ‘On Which Side?’ calls on the western audiences to discern Ukrainian voices amidst the noise of Russian propaganda.

Read in English in openDemocracy

Read in Ukrainian in Espreso

We are grateful to the dedicated team of seminar leaders for taking part in the educational part of the Ukraine Lab residency: Olesya Khromeychuk (war), Tamara Hundorova (environment), Peter Pomeranzev (disinformation), Julia Bell (creative nonfiction), David Savill (empathy), Iryna Shuvalova (on writing on Ukraine from beyond its borders), Khobir Wiseman-Goldstein (psychodynamic workshop).

The project is run by the Ukrainian Institute London in partnership with PEN Ukraine and the Ukrainian Institute as part of UK/UA Season of Culture, funded by the British Council. Ukraine Lab is curated by Sasha Dovzhyk. The powerful visual interpretations are by Mstyslav Chernov and bilingual translations are by Nina Murray.

The online presentation of Ukraine Lab will be run in partnership with the British Library and take place on 9 November. 

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