Ukraine’s Creative Resistance: Culture, Art and Expression in Wartime

5. desember 2022 kl. 09:00–16:00 Fritt Ord, Uranienborgveien 2, Oslo

The Fritt Ord Foundation and the Open Society Foundations cordially invite you to a one-day event on 5 December 2022, titled Ukraine’s Creative Resistance: Culture, Art and Expression in Wartime. The event will bring together Ukrainian authors, journalists, photographers, documentary filmmakers, cultural curators, musicians, and civil society actors. We will experience and understand Ukrainian culture and through panel discussions examine the role artistic creation – through both words and images – has played in Ukrainian resilience. We will hear from artists who are creating in wartime about how their artistic vision and identity as Ukrainian artists have shifted since Russia’s brutal invasion, and from writers and journalists about finding the language to speak to their audiences in wartime and how their work will contribute to the documentation of war crimes. We will explore the more global questions of whether there is room for art among the brutality of war, and whether art is actually a critical part of healing and resistance.


Time: 9:00 am – 9:15 am
Piano Opening: Unspeakable is based on the poetry of the contemporary Ukrainian poets, Iryna Shuvalova and Halyna Kruk, and the dissident poet Vasyl Stus

Olesya Zdorovetska, performer, composer and curator, founder of the Ukrainian-Irish Cultural Platform

Time: 9:15 am – 9:20 am
Opening Remarks: Knut Olav Åmås, Executive Director, Fritt Ord

Time: 9:20 am – 10:30 am

Session I: Shaping a Ukrainian Resistance through IMAGES & SOUNDS

Moderator: Tanya Lokot, Associate Professor in Digital Media and Society at Dublin City University

Panel Abstract: From viral memes to poetry to dance to street art murals, Ukrainians continue to create, even in the most dire of circumstances. How do art creators and experts find the language to speak to their audiences in war time? Is there room for art in war, or is art actually a critical part of healing and resistance? We will discuss the evolution of Ukraine’s media landscape since the start of the war, and how leading Ukrainian cultural writers and thinkers engage with culture at this time.

● Diana Berg is a curator, activist, public artist and cultural manager originally from Donetsk. She is the founder of the cultural center Platform TU in Mariupol
● Luba Michailova is the founder of Izolyatsia, a non-profit, multidisciplinary platform for contemporary culture in Ukraine
● Ilya Zabolotnyi is a cultural programmer, art historian, curator, and expert in cultural diplomacy. His main focus now is working as the co-founder and CEO of the Ukraine Emergency Art Fund
● Olesya Zdorovetska is a performer, composer and curator, founder of the Ukrainian-Irish Cultural Platform

Coffee Break: 15 minutes

Time: 10:45 am – 12:15 pm
Session II: Shaping a Ukrainian Resistance through WORDS

Moderator: Martin Paulsen, Head of Foreign Languages, researcher and translator at the University of Bergen

● Stanislav Aseyev is a writer, journalist, and former political prisoner
● Oleksiy Matsuka is a journalist from Donetsk and editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian foreign broadcasting FREEDOM TV channel
● Bohdana Neborak is a journalist, manager of cultural projects, and editor-in-chief at The Ukrainians
● Svitlana Oslavska is a journalist, editor, writer and researcher with “The Reckoning Project” and a co-founder of the “Old Khata Project”

Lunch: 12:15 – 1:00 pm

Time: 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Session III: Kyiv Soloists and The Days I Would Like To Forget – Documenting Stories

Moderator/Presenter: Karianne Berge and Eugene Rachkovsky, Indie Film and Tabor Production, producer and co-producer of the documentary film ‘Kyiv Soloists’

Musicians: Nataliia Koliada (violin), Yuliia Kushneryk (violin), Ivan Grytshyshyn (viola), Oleksandra
Hrytsyshyna (cello)

Performance Abstract: In the film ‘Kyiv Soloists’ (2024), we will experience the tragedy of war through the eyes of a Ukrainian ensemble, left in the exile of touring as the full scale invasion hit on February 24th. They decided to fight the war with their music. We will be introduced to Rachkovsky’s upcoming film called ‘The Days I Would Like to Forget’ (2024), and hear about the challenges and importance of co-producing and producing in Ukraine.

Coffee Break: 15 minutes

Time: 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Session IV: In Conversation with Stanislav Aseyev, writer, journalist, and former political prisoner

Moderator: Uilleam Blacker, Associate Professor in Ukrainian and East European Culture at the University College London

Conversation Description: Ullieam Blacker will engage in conversation with Stanislav Aseyev about his writing and new books The Torture Camp on Paradise Street (2021) and In Isolation: Dispatches from Occupied Donbas (2022) and will discuss how the war has impacted his identity as a writer.

Evening programme 5 December:
Time: 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: Kunstnernes Hus Kino (House of Artists Cinema), Wergelandsveien 17, Oslo

Session IV: First look at Mariupol by the Platform TU

Description of films: Join us for the screening of several short films by the Tu Platform, which depicts Mariupol before the invasion and shows the city as a vivid and lively cultural hub with its own life, youth, and arts.

From Platform TU: Diana Berg, Anastasiya Hrechkina and Vira Protskyh

The Fritt Ord Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation that aspires to promote freedom of expression, public debate, art and culture. Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and inclusive societies, grounded in respect for human rights and the rule of law, whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.