Building on the success of the recent UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, the UK/UA Creative Partnerships has been designed to continue and deepen cultural dialogue and connections between the two countries.
Aiming to strengthen the established ties and support cooperation, in October 2023, the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute announced a call for proposals among the partners of the Season of Culture. Out of 30 applications received by the organisers, 14 ideas were selected to be funded. The projects, which represent a variety of art forms – music, literature, performance, film, animation, visual art – will take place between the UK and Ukraine. The projects will be completed by the end of 2024.
More specifically, in 2024, with the support of the UK/UA Creative Partnerships in the field of film and moving images, the projects will include:
- A series of screenings of Ukrainian classics and contemporary films at festival venues in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This project, implemented in partnership with the British organisation CINECITY, the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre and the Kyiv International Short Film Festival (KISFF), will focus on the prominent figures of Ukrainian cinema, Serhiy Parajanov and Oleksandr Dovzhenko.
- In 2022, as a part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, the LINOLEUM Festival of Contemporary Animation and Media Arts and the British animation magazine Skwigly have launched an extensive educational programme dedicated to the issues of mental health and burnout among animators and artists. This year, they will focus on another important aspect of education – the production and promotion of animated films. Their new project UK/UA Animation Lab will enable three Ukrainian animators or producers to receive expert guidance from UK mentors to successfully produce and promote an animated film.
- Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival and Sheffield DocFest, the UK’s largest documentary festival, will continue collaboration started during the UK/UA Season of Culture. They will come together again to explore how documentary and war chronicles can become a source of testimony of crimes. The programme will mark the tenth anniversary of the Russian invasion of Donetsk region and attempted annexation of Crimea.
- The cooperation between the Ukrainian online cinema Takflix and the British media platform Nowness will also be continued. “Ukrainian talents on NOWNESS. Season 2” is a showcase of artistic short films by prominent Ukrainian directors created under the creative guidance of the Nowness and Takflix teams. As part of the project, two new short films will go through a full production cycle and be presented on both online platforms. During the final presentation of the project on Nowness, the new films will be combined with two works from the previous showcase – the Berlinale winner “This Date” by Nadiya Parfan and “Kyiv Dovecotes” by Mykhailo Volkov.
In music, several collaborations have been planned:
- British online music outlet The Quietus, Ukrainian online radio 20ft Radio, and Neformat, a media outlet about the Ukrainian music scene and music, will work on the project “Alternatives: New Voices from Ukraine”. It involves the creation and publication of a series of in-depth articles, podcasts and playlists dedicated to alternative music and music views from Ukraine.
- Meanwhile, Music Export Ukraine will join forces with the FOCUS Wales music festival to present a Ukrainian showcase and Ukrainian expertise as part of the industry programme in 2024.
- The Scottish art centre Cryptic and the Dnipro International Festival of Audiovisual Art and New Media Construction are launching a three-week DNIPRO//GLASGOW residency for a Ukrainian sound artist. The selected artist will focus on researching and creating a new work at the Scottish residency centre Cove Park in March/April, and perform at the Sonica Festival in Glasgow this September.
Visual arts will feature:
- UK-based organisation D6: Culture in Transit, the IZOLYATSIA Foundation and the Ukrainian Environmental Humanities Network will continue to explore power, fossil fuel extraction and climate action in post-industrial communities in Ukraine and the UK. Their (Re)Grounding project, launched as part of the Season of Culture, will invite four Ukrainian artists to take part in workshops, virtual residencies, an exhibition and discussions.
- Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery and Ukrainian.Photographies will host the two-day symposium, which aims to explore the history and diversity of practices that have shaped photography in Ukraine, with a particular focus on documentary photography and its ability to record historical events. All events of the symposium will be recorded and made available online for future use
- With agriculture and the countryside as the themes for their programming, the Dnipro-based organisation Kultura Medialna and the Scottish art centre Hospitalfield have invited Ukrainian artists Diana Khalilova and Oleksandr Neselenko to take part in projects and residencies that will take place in the summer and autumn at the Centre for Contemporary Culture in Dnipro and Hospitalfield in Scotland. Specifically, Diana Khalilova will develop a new iteration of her performance project “Public Kitchen” with local residents, addressing the social and political issues surrounding grain in Ukraine during the war. Oleksandr Neselenko will be invited to continue his research on the impact of the war on the agricultural sector.
In the literature and publishing sector, several projects will be supported:
- “New Voices from Ukraine and Scotland” is a hybrid programme of online events and a two-week residency at the Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre which will facilitate cooperation between emerging authors from Ukraine and Scotland and the emergence of new translations into Ukrainian and English. The programme is co-curated by PEN Ukraine, StAnza Poetry Festival and Moniack Mhor.
- For the “Stories of Resilience” project, PEN Ukraine and English PEN will invite a Ukrainian writer to write a piece that documents and celebrates stories of resilience from individuals and communities in Ukraine. The author will be offered consultations to develop their work, as well as a one-month residency in London. In addition, the author will be invited to run a storytelling workshop for Ukrainian refugees and members of the diaspora in the UK.
The performing arts sector will see the continuation of the “Let the Body Speak” project by the All-Ukrainian Association “Contemporary Dance Platform” and the British dance and performance centre The Place. By teaming up with Tanec Praha (Czech Republic), they will offer a group of Ukrainian dancers a several-week residency with workshops from British and Czech practitioners in Prague in April 2024. The residency will coincide with the Czech Dance Platform and the European Dance Studio Network meeting, so the selected artists will be able to expand their contacts and see new productions.
The Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre and the Birmingham-based multidisciplinary festival Flatpack Festivals will work at the intersection of different art forms. Their project “Resonance of Time: Ukrainian Classics Reimagined” will involve the creation of new music for little-known Ukrainian animated films preserved in the Dovzhenko Centre’s archive. This will give them a fresh perspective, and the audience in Birmingham, where the new works will be premiered, will get to know the playful and innovative Ukrainian animation of the 60s and 80s.
“Despite the fact that for the last two years Ukrainian and British artists have been living in completely different contexts and dealing with different issues, we, the Contemporary Dance Platform team, continue to develop new creative initiatives together with the British dance centre The Place. This shows that common values always exist beyond contexts and cultures. Thanks to this, art can speak to the whole world and at the same time be rooted in one of the local cultures in any part of it,” commented Anton Ovchinnikov, President of the All-Ukrainian Association “Contemporary Dance Platform”.
“At this moment in time cultural plurality is the goal of liberal countries across the globe. As Open Eye Gallery has a leading Ukrainian curator, we also have an exceptional opportunity to forge partnerships in the UK and across Europe meeting demand for a more nuanced understanding of Ukrainian photography, history and culture. The UK/UA Creative Partnerships grant enables us to build from the partnerships instigated with the British Council last year, enabling a symposium that aims to both shift perspectives of cultural practitioners, curators and academics, and together with Ukrainian Photographies, establish a longer-term network that champions plurality through future programming”, says Sarah Fisher, Executive Director of Open Eye Gallery.
Follow the news of the projects by visiting the websites of the organisations mentioned above or the social media of the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute.
Facebook: @BritishCouncilUkraine, @UkrainianInstitute
Instagram: @uabritish, @ukrainian_institute