Difficult Heritage of Ukraine: Navigating the Complexity of Narratives, Practices, and Challenges of War with Iryna Matsevko (Kharkiv School of Architecture)

Event details:
March 25, 2024
5:15 PM – 7:00 PM
180 Hagerty Hall

Abstract: “War can destroy cultural heritage twice — in conflict and in clean-up”. The conservation, reconstruction, or clearance of ruins is based on decisions arising from a consensus among local communities and the state regarding their heritage. This involves considering what they want to remember and what they prefer to forget. The lecture will explore two heritage discourses — multicultural and Soviet — and how the war influences the rethinking of a complex and dissonant heritage of Ukraine.

Speaker Biography: Dr. Iryna Matsevko is a historian and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Kharkiv School of Architecture, which was evacuated from Kharkiv to Lviv, Ukraine, in March 2022. As a teacher, she designs courses on the cultural and social contexts of architecture, heritage studies and urban practices. Her academic interests include the social and cultural history of Soviet Ukraine, urban history, and urban heritage and practices as a resource for sustainability in cities and communities. Matsevko’s practical experience includes the development and management of public history projects on contested memories and inclusive approaches in heritage practices. Her projects focus on intangible urban heritage in Ukraine, the implementation of heritage practice, and the guiding principles for cultural heritage interpretation and management. She was a team member of the Synagogue Space Commemorative Project in Lviv, Ukraine; co-leader and coordinator of the three-year project “ReHERIT: Common Responsibility for Shared Heritage” in Lviv and Uman, Ukraine; designer of the methodology and content for contested heritage city walks for guides in Lviv and Uman; project leader for marking ten sites of multicultural heritage in Uman public space; and editor and a co-author of “Uman. (Un)known Stories of the City”, a collection of texts about Uman’s past, memory, and heritage. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Iryna Matsevko has focused on analyzing approaches and discussions about Soviet heritage and how the war is changing the heritage discourse in Ukraine.

“ Future Space and Architectural Education in Ukraine” by Oleg Drozdov

Oleg Drozdov and House with a Peristyle, Kharkiv, Ukraine. Photo from StirWorld.

Join the public lecture “Future Space and Architectural Education in Ukraine” by Ukrainian architect Oleg Drozdov.

March 27th, 5:30pm

Knowlton Hall, Gui Auditorium (KNO 250)



Oleg Drozdov is a co-founder of the Kharkiv School of Architecture (KhSA) is the first private university in Ukraine to offer undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA) degree opportunities in architecture and urbanism. KhSA was “founded in 2017 to respond to the social transformations and the need to reinvent Ukrainian cities and to reform national higher education.”

The lecture is a part of the Baumer Series, which invites prominent researchers and practitioners of architecture, landscape architecture, and city and regional planning to present their work and to engage subjects both topical and enduring.


Congratulations to Graduate Student Grantees!

Congratulations to graduate student grantees of the “Conflict, Crisis, and Im/mobility” Grant. The grant funded by the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme will support graduate students in research and creative work on the topic of the project. The projects will explore the question of what happens to people living through armed conflict or crises.

Sam Wrigglesworth (Department of Art) will create two interconnected projects that work to honor Palestinians through memorial, digital archiving, and radically accessible education. Their sculpture piece, October and November, memorializes every Palestinian life lost in Gaza in October and November 2023. They will also build The People’s Library for Palestine which will bring a library into unexpected public spaces to encourage learning and engagement.

Jorge Alberto Vega Rivera (Department of Design) will design an AR immersive experience about the challenges and efforts of the farmers from former coca crop regions in Colombia. Vega Rivera’s project Ultrallanos: Stay and resist highlights the experiences of farmers in the eastern region of Colombia Farmers who have resisted with their farm project, going through the rise and drop in coca prices, economic crisis, displacement and migrations, the peace and demobilization process of FARC guerilla, eradication and substitution of the coca crops from the state, and finally the sense of abandoned lands.

Mehr Mumtaz (Department of Sociology) will focus on the forced displacement of the Afghans in the aftermath of the post-2001 U.S. military interventions in the country. Specifically, her study unpacks the ways in which the history of conflict and violence in the region has influenced (im)mobility among residents in Afghanistan.

Lejla Veskovic (The Department of Slavic and Eastern European Languages and Cultures) will research the cultural and political activities associated with the Festival SlovoNovo, held in the popular tourist destination of Budva. The SlovoNovo event has become a hub for oppositional discussions on how to reconceptualize Russian culture and identity in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The aim of her project Russian Mind in the Montenegrin World is to estimate the cultural scripts that underlie the group’s collective identity.

Jack Fernandes (Department of Political Science) will conduct fieldwork in Malawi to understand the social and political dynamics following cyclones Freddy (2023), Gombe (2022), and Idai (2019). Through interviews, he aims to understand the expectations of the public after a disaster, the pressures felt by the government during and after, and the role of international assistance in the form of NGOs.

Katherine Weiss (Department of History) will use the grant to support her dissertations Mothering in War: Wartime pregnancies, childbirths, and raising children during World War I in France and Australia, which undertakes a gendered study of the experience of war in France and Australia during World War I. Bringing together women’s history, social and cultural history, national security studies, the history of medicine, and military history, her project complicates cultural understandings of motherhood during World War I, developing a social history of mothers raising children during the war and in turn untangling public conceptions of motherhood and war from private experience.

Emily Hardick (Department of History) will examine the role of defection, flight, and movement play, for both performers and governments, in Congolese cultural production and identity. Her dissertation explores the ways in which touring performances are related to what scholar Thomas Nail (2015) describes as the “kinopolitics”—the “regimes of motion” that dictate how subjects move—of Congolese life.

Ra’phael Davis (Department of Political Science) will explore the role of local actors in encouraging or resolving conflicts worldwide. His dissertation, Peacebuilding and the Structure of Inter-Organizational Cooperation, will synthesize existing theories of organizational management and group behavior not commonly paired in the political science study of conflict and argues that the size and structure of inter-organizational cooperation affect local peace outcomes by building inclusive conversations about ethnicity, belonging, and conflict sensitivity.

Awardees will present their work at events organized by the Armed Conflicts and Im/mobility project during 2024-2025 academic year.



The Armed Conflicts and Im/mobility project funded by the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme invites applications for graduate student grants for research and creative work on the topic of the project. What happens to people living through armed conflict or crises? Humanitarians seek to provide immediate relief for those faced with homelessness, hunger, violence, and disease. Human rights law examines the claims to protection and redress of those suffering dispossession and abuse. This project, however, is intended not to intervene but to explore a critical dilemma for those concerned: to go or to stay. Flight is an understandable human response to threat, and in many cases, removal is forced on populations affected by war or disaster. But not all can emigrate and some choose to stay, finding ways to “shelter in place.” Mobility and immobility in precarious circumstances present parallel challenges: physical survival, labor, and educational opportunities, family and community support, relations with authorities, and more. Over time, experiences of grief, disorientation, and creative adaptation generate novel documentary, artistic, and social responses.

We will evaluate research and creative project proposals on all aspects of im/mobility in the wake of armed conflicts or humanitarian crises. The grants are open to all enrolled graduate students at Ohio State University. We expect to award 5-6 research or creative work grants, for up to $3000 each.

Graduate research grants offer funding to be used in support of the candidate’s PhD dissertation/MA thesis research. The funds could be used for travel to archives or library collections, the recording and transcription of interviews, the acquisition of research materials not available at Ohio State, and other appropriate uses such as programming (e.g. symposia, exhibits).

Graduate creative work grants offer funding to be used toward the completion of filmmaking, photography, fine art, dance, theatre, music, design, creative writing, or interdisciplinary arts projects for MFA or PhD, as well as Master of Architecture (MArch) students. Funds could be for materials, travel for production or research, documentation, or other relevant uses.

To Apply: Please submit a 2-page double-spaced research project description, an itemized budget of your research expenses (per diem will not be considered), a schedule for project completion, and a faculty statement of support to verbitskaya.2@osu.edu. Please use the subject line, “Graduate Grant Proposal.”

Questions about the grants program can be directed to hashamova.1@osu.edu

We will assess the proposals based on the following criteria: 1) relation to the topic of the project; 2) relevance for the advancement of your research and studies; and 3) practical and ethical feasibility, including preparedness to conduct the proposed work. The funds should be expended by the beginning of AU24.

Awardees are expected to present their work at events organized by the Armed Conflicts and Im/mobility project during 2024-2025 academic year.

Application deadline: November 27, 2023. Results will be announced in January 2024.

Secret Documents in Soviet Ukraine and the Making of The Face of Fire: A Conversation about History and Literature with Oleksii Nikitin




Join the Center for Slavic, East European Studies (CSEEES) and the Hilandar Research Library for a conversation with Ukrainian author Oleksii Nikitin and CSEEES director Angela Brintlinger. Time permitting, Nikitin will also read in Russian, Ukrainian and English from his novel От лица огня (Ukrainian title Бат-амi, English title The Face of Fire, 2021).



The event will take place on October 3, 2023 from 6:00PM to 8:00PM at the Thompson Library Mortarboard Room (202)

PresenterOleksii Nikitin is a Russophone Ukrainian writer from Kyiv. He has won several awards for his novels: Istemi (2011), Mahjong (2012), Victory Park (2013), The Orderly from Institutska Street (2016), and, most recently, The Face of Fire (2021). The Face of Fire will come out in English translation by Catherine O’Neil and Dominique Hoffman in 2024.

Embroidered Past, Imagined Future: Lucie Kamuswekera and the Violence in Eastern Congo

Embroidered Past, Imagined Future: Lucie Kamuswekera and the Violence in Eastern Congo, will open at the Urban Arts Space downtown (50 West Town St. Suite 130)

The exhibition introduces the work of Lucie Kamuswekera, an 80-year-old artist from the city of Goma in eastern DR Congo. By embroidering images about her country’s past and present on burlap sacks, Kamuswekera has visualized a regional history that reflects on the historical roots of its contemporary violence. Kamuswekera sees herself not only as an artist but also as a historian and educator who wants to help shape the future of her country. This exhibition will be the first introduction of Kamuswekera’s work to an American audience.



Opening Reception and celebration of African Studies at Ohio State: September 21, 6–8 PM at Urban Arts Space, in collaboration with the Mershon Center and the Center for African Studies at The Ohio State UniversityGuided Tour: September 23, 1:30–2:30 PM at Urban Arts SpaceArt and Activism Panel: September 23, 3:00 PM at Urban Arts Space, funded by the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme “Conflict and Im/Mobilities” Grant

More here.