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New Directions in the Arts as Critical Research in Post-Maidan Ukraine

Art, broadly defined, circulates through societies in many ways: it can call into question identities; reveal multiple ways of seeing or framing an issue; create shared experiences that bring collective memories to the center of our attention; or shape the boundaries of how we understand ourselves in any given place and time. Art is historical. Art is educational. Art reinvents the possible by renegotiating the permissible. Art is never just what we think it is. 

Today arts practitioners and educators are having a profound impact on the study of Ukraine’s history and civic identities. How can more critical processes be developed in the production, display, and education surrounding the arts? Reaching more diverse audiences often entails new mediums, forums, and mentorship. By increasing our ability to independently interpret what contemporary visual culture means to each of us, and to others, we can create more rigorous pathways for bridging otherwise divisive views in a highly saturated media-driven information environment. 

Dr. Jessica Zychowicz and Yevgenia Belorusets each have extensive experience in academia and the arts sectors working with public audiences, institutions, and students both in Ukraine and internationally. Joined by a longstanding commitment to research on human rights, they will present new projects that bring together authors, artists, professors, and students to create deeper understanding of increasingly vulnerable populations in Ukraine, including Roma communities and other women displaced by the war. 

Dr. Jessica Zychowicz is currently a U.S. Fulbright Scholar researching the cultural history of technology. She is the founder of the educational initiative smART ( Her first monograph, Frame Work: Art, Activism, and Biopolitics in Kyiv 2004-2014 is due out on University of Toronto Press. She is co-editing a series at the academic journal Krytyka on questions of race and postcolonialism. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Starting this Fall, Dr. Zychowicz will be helping lead new directions in research at CUSP: Contemporary Ukraine Studies Program at The University of Alberta.

Yevgenia Belorusets is an artist, photographer and writer living and working in Kyiv and Berlin. She is a founder and editor of Prostory, the journal for literature and art, and a member of the interdisciplinary curatorial group Hudrada. She works with photography and other mediums at the intersection of art, literature and social activism. She is an activist in a number of social initiatives, including the art workers’ self-representation initiative. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Venice Biennale in 2015.

Make sure you have your passport or driver's license to get in America House.

Earlier Event: July 28
Art & Tech: Family Workshop
Later Event: August 1
Wednesday English@America House
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