10 things everyone should know about Ukraine

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Ukraine is a series of ten short films produced by the Ukrainian Institute of London that bring to life ten Ukrainian stories including that of the serf who became an artist and a poet; a writer who rewrote European classics from a woman’s point of view, a theatre director who thought that revolutionary art could change the world, a count who chose to become a priest, an author who wrote more than 300 poems in his prison cell, and film directors who gave a voice the silenced.

The project tells stories of prominent Ukrainians, historical and cultural events that reshaped Ukraine’s history of the 19th-21th centuries:

  • Ukraine as a battleground of murderous regimes fighting over the territory and its people;
  • Ukraine as a melting pot of languages and cultures each influencing one another;
  • Ukraine as a place where revolutions happen in order to bring about peace;
  • Ukraine of many stories told in many voices.

Leading scholars invite the audience to rethink familiar phenomena in local and global contexts, and to understand their role in the formation of modern Ukraine, their place in European and world cultural context.

The series was prepared by the Ukrainian Institute of London in collaboration with leading scholars in the field of Ukrainian Studies. The archival footage used in the films was provided by the Pshenichny Central State Cinema, Photo and Audio Archives of Ukraine.

The project is a part of the Lysiak-Rudnytsky Ukrainian Studies Programme by the Ukrainian Institute, a public institution affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. The Programme is named after Ivan Lysiak-Rudnytsky (1919-1984), an American/Canadian historian of Ukrainian descent.

Taras Shevchenko: the Serf Who Founded a Nation

How Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) went from being a serf to becoming Ukraine’s most important poet, giving a voice to the Ukrainian people.

(by Dr. Rory Finnin, University of Cambridge)

More on Taras Shevchenko:

Lesia Ukrainka: Fin-de-siecle Ukrainian Feminism

How Ukrainian modernist writer Lesia Ukrainka (1871-1913) pioneered new feminist literature, at the forefront of European trends of the time.

(by Dr. Sasha Dovzhyk, Birkbeck, University of London)

More on Lesia Ukrainka:

The Many Voices of Ukraine

How over the centuries, the territory of Ukraine has been home to a huge diversity of languages and literatures, with unique and dynamic interplay between different cultures.

(by Dr. Uilleam Blacker, University College London)

Les Kurbas: Ukrainian Avant-garde Theatre

How the experimental director, Les Kurbas, radically transformed Ukrainian theatre and was at the cutting edge of theatre innovations across Europe.

by Dr. Mayhill C. Fowler, Stetson University

Holodomor: The Ukrainian Famine of the 1930s

How the Holodomor fits into the wider understanding of Stalin’s USSR, and how the famine was covered in world media.

(by Dr. Daria Mattingly, University of Cambridge)

More on the Holodomor:

The Bloodlands: Ukraine in World War II

How the multiple occupations of Ukraine during the Second World War impacted the country and the devastating outcomes of these occupations, including the Holocaust.

(by Professor Timothy Snyder, Yale University)

Read also:

Andrei Sheptytskyi: A Count Who Became a Priest

The extraordinary story of Andrei Sheptystskyi, a count who gave up a life of wealth to become a Ukrainian Catholic priest, who saved Jewish lives in WWII and eventually founded Ukraine’s most modern university.

(by Bishop Borys Gudziak, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia)

More on Andrei Sheptytskyi:

Fighting for the Self: Poetry from the Gulag

How the dissident poet Vasyl Stus fought for human and national rights and created unique poetry of the self, overcoming the extreme conditions of the Soviet Gulag.

(by Dr. Bohdan Tokarsky, University of Basel)

Read also:

Ukrainian Cinema: Giving a Voice to the Silenced

Throughout history, Ukrainian cinema captures the plight of marginalized peoples and identities, those forgotten or hidden from society come to life on screen.

(by Dr. Olga Bryukhovetska, National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy)

Why do Ukrainians take to the streets?

Why Ukrainians, in spite of their divisions, are always ready to come out on the streets and stand up for their rights.

(by Dr. Ola Onuch, Associate Professor in Politics (Senior Lecturer), University of Manchester)

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