City Walk: "Woman in the Interwar Lviv: Between Art, Literature and Social Realities"

On August, 5, 2016, there took place one of the three city walks designed within the workshop "Lemberg/Lwów/לעמבערג/Львів: Literary and Artistic Paths of a Multicultural City". The workshop was part of the summer school "Jewish History, Common Past and Heritage: Culture, Cities, Milieus".

In terms of including and excluding different groups of population into/out of the city life (education, politics, art, etc.), the many relevant issues also include the so called ‘female issue’, among others. Highlighting women as a subject of artistic life is not a simple task for a researcher. In fact, women were part of social, linguistic, artistic, ethnic, political, and religious groups commonly advocated by men. While women could be holding different positions in the groups, they would mostly stay in the shadow.

In the interwar period, women of different social and national background increasingly more often discussed the need to review the role of a woman in society, the need to fight for the opportunity to get out of men’s shadow. The city walk was dedicated to the origin of suchlike ideas in creative careers of little known Lviv women of the interwar period.

Women writers, translators, poetesses, singers, journalists, painters, political and civic activists of Polish, Jewish, and Ukrainian origin were the centerpiece figures of the walk. The school participants used their biographies to show some important and little known episodes from the histories of East Central Europe and the city of Lviv. Each item managed to show to the listeners these stories through decoding the place within new contexts:

  • gender, national, and political grounds for discrimination in higher education during the Second Polish Republic
  • change of gender roles during the First World War, impact of urbanization and migration on the female population of Galicia
  • organization and development of women’s movement in East Europe
  • women trafficking from East Europe
  • modernization of the role of a wife and a mother
  • artistic, educational, tourist, and professional trips of East European women
  • emergence of financially independent women and their positions in society
  • attempts of women artists to compete with men in their areas

The effort resulted into a series of theme-based bookmarks that the tour attendants received as a keepsake, as well as history maps of the city walk.

Series of theme-based bookmarks Series of theme-based bookmarks

The city walk was conducted by the participants of the summer school "Jewish History, Common Past and Heritage: Culture, Cities, Milieus": Olga Bartosjewicz (Poland), Joanna Majewska (Poland), Boris Romanov (Russia), Khrystyna Rutar (Ukraine), Olena Vitrynska (Ukraine).

The city walk took place within the educational project "Jewish Days in the City Hall: Communities, Milieus and States in the 20th c. Contested Cities ".

"Jewish Days" is a public program for broad audiences. It is related to two other projects of the Center for Urban History: the summer school on Jewish History and the Multicultural Past run since 2010, and the initiative "The Space of Synagogues: Jewish History, Common Heritage and Responsibility" (in partnership with the Lviv City Council, and the German Society for International Cooperation GIZ).