Chronicle

Heritage of Lviv
December 3, 2015

On December 3, 2015 Center's guest researcher Diana Vonnak presented at the Urban Seminar the project of her research on "Heritage Sites and Memory Politics in Contemporary Lviv," on which she would be working during her ten months stay in Lviv.

Heritage sites which were constructed by various  ethno-religious groups of Lviv and from different periods of time form a crucial arena of public space and cultural politics of the contemporary city. More than mere embodiments of a multicultural past that is often painted in somewhat idealising tones in today’s Lviv, these sites are locations of conflicts and cooperation between state and church, local government and civil society, activists and NGOs. 

In the following year this urban anthropological research project will map out interactions of various actors in the heritage scene of Lviv through interviews, surveys and participant observation, hoping to shed light on the intricacies of planning, decision making and frictions between religious and secular groups, state, church and civil society  respectively. Its key questions are: who participates in the conservation and management of religious heritage sites in Lviv? How is historiography and memory politics developed around these sites - in plaques, signs, museum exhibitions, people’s imagination? What role do these sites play in local and national level cultural policy? To what extent and through what channels of collaboration is Lviv involved in the European projects of cultural heritage through funding, knowledge transfer or policy decisions?

The key locations of the research project are religious buildings which are currently have a secular function, such as museums or galleries, memorial sites, only recently re-opened churches or fiercely debated public spaces. Other than ethnographically approach the architectural heritage of Lviv the project aims to situate the city in the broader context of post-socialist religiosity and emerging civil society. The talk will present work-in-progress material in the form of case studies rather than solid results.

Diana Vonnak is a PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany, currently conducting research in Lviv. She is currently a guest researcher at the Centre for the Urban History. Her interests evolve around cultural heritage, organisational research, urban social change and the theoretical underpinnings of social scientific research.