Cultural and Heritage-Led Postwar Reconstruction of Donbas

Cultural and Heritage-Led Postwar Reconstruction of Donbas

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8.11.2022, 13:30 (EDT); 19:30 (Kyiv time)

online via zoom / offline at the Elliott School of International Affairs, Washington, DC

The Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University invites to the roundtable discussion which will mark the opening of the poster exhibit "Labor, Exhaustion, and Success: Company Towns in Donbas". The exhibition presents the history of Donbas through the history of mono-functional industrial towns.

Participants will address the post-war reconstruction of Donbas, focusing on the transformational role of culture and heritage. How can we apply what we learned from the experience of post-2014 reconstruction to post-2022 reconstruction? What are the shortcomings of international aid projects, and how can they engage local initiatives and focus more on institution-building? How should culture, heritage, and collective memory be considered when developing a reintegration and post-war reconstruction strategy?


Victoria Donovan

University of St Andrews, the UK

Has initiated and led several projects with the artists and researchers from Donbas. Dr. Donovan will present an overview of art activism and community engagement in Donbas after 2014. She will speak about the perceived “crisis of institutions” in the East, resulting from the further discrediting of unreconstructed Soviet-style heritage after 2014 and the emergence of DIY cultural and curatorial practices among younger generations as a form of “alternative institutionality.”

Iryna Sklokina

Center for Urban History, Lviv

Has worked closely with the local historians and heritage experts in Donbas since 2013. Dr. Sklokina will present a few cases of cultural heritage reuse in Donbas before 2022, demonstrating good practices of decentralization reform, localism, and international cooperation practices.

Stephen Crowley

Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH

Has studied the region through his fieldwork in coal mining communities. Dr. Crowley will speak about the regional identity and contested historical memories to be considered when developing the strategy for the post-war reconstruction of Donbas.

To participate, please, register.

The poster exhibit "Labor, Exhaustion, and Success: Company Towns in Donbas" will be on display at the Elliott School of International Affairs in the 2nd Floor Atrium throughout the month of November.


  • Sofia Dyak, Director of the Center for Urban History in Lviv, Ukraine.
  • Marlene Laruelle, Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the George Washington University.
  • Volodymyr Kulikov, visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin

The exhibition "Labor, Exhaustion, and Success: Company Towns in the Donbas" was presented for the first time in Lviv, Ukraine, in 2015. The main idea of the exhibition was to take a look at the history of the Donbass through the corporate cities, the settlements developed around a mine or a plant. In the cities, all relations between people, production and consumption, as well as the entire lifestyle were connected to the company or enterprise itself, as it offered jobs, developed the city, and shaped a true "new person," the creator of an industry.

Organizers: Center for Urban History, Lviv, and Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton.

Authors: Volodymyr Kulikov and Iryna Sklokina.

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Cover image: Oleksandr Kuchynskyi, from the series "De-industry?" based on the Pavlo Kashkel archive at the Mariupol Local History Museum, 2021.