Podcast “Culture Against Aggression”

Documenting Ukrainian Culture During Wartime

The first season of the podcast is available only in Ukrainian language. The second season has English subtitles. To access the content, check out the YouTube videos provided beneath the description of each episode. 

‘Culture Against Aggression’ is a research-oriented, documentary, and social project aimed at creating the most comprehensive picture of cultural resistance and the functioning of Ukrainian culture during a full-scale war, for the purpose of analysis, improvement, and unification of efforts.

This project is a continuation of the initiative ‘Culture Against Aggression,’ which started as a Telegram Group created by Marta Trotsiuk on the 5th day of the full-scale war. This group includes more than 1500 representatives from the fields of culture and creative industries, serving as a platform for discussions and joint actions on topics of cultural diplomacy and countering Russian cultural influence worldwide.

In the podcast, Marta engages with guests – the most active representatives from various cultural spheres – discussing how Ukrainian culture reacts, fights, and operates during wartime.

‘Culture Against Aggression’ is a project of Gallery 101 in partnership with Radio Skovoroda, supported by Chicago Atlantic Trident and ZMIN Foundation.

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SEASON 1: First Reaction

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Episode #1: ‘The First Reaction of Culture to a Full-Scale War’ featuring Pavlo Gudimov and Olesya Domaradzka

IN THE PODCAST:

“In the first episode, Olesya Domaradzka, owner of the ‘Green Sofa’ gallery, and Pavlo Gudimov, curator and founder of the art center ‘YA Gallery,’ discuss the power and mission of art.

  • Were representatives of the culture prepared for the war?
  • What was their initial reaction?
  • How did they transform their work?
  • What did they do to be heard in the international community?
  • What changes await art in the near future, as well as after the war?

Episode #2: Reactive Crisis Management in Culture: Lviv’s Center for Urban History

IN THE PODCAST:

For almost half a year of the full-scale war, the office of Lviv’s Center for Urban History served as a shelter for internally displaced people, and the library became the office of the Ukrainian Institute. Despite their humanitarian mission, the representatives of the institution also fulfilled a communication role: they connected with colleagues in the cultural sphere and maintained relationships with foreign partners.

Marta Trotsiuk asked how Lviv’s Center for Urban History managed to implement reactive crisis management in practice and how their initiatives became a form of cultural resistance.

Our guests – Deputy Director Maryana Mazurak and sociologist and researcher Natalia Otrishchenko – shared their stories about the first days and months of the major war, the work of the Center and its team, changes in their activities, and about documentation as an opportunity to write history in the moment.

  • What did the Center’s team do after February 24?
  • What was crucial in the initial months of the war?
  • When did they start documenting the memories of Ukrainians?
  • How long will they continue?
  • How did the institution communicate with colleagues in Ukraine?
  • And with international partners and organizations?

Episode #3: ‘Volunteering in Culture During Wartime: Lesya’s Theater, Lviv Municipal Art Center

IN THE PODCAST:

February 24 shifted the focus of some cultural figures from artistic endeavors to volunteering.

For instance, the stage of Lesya’s Theater in Lviv transformed into a storage facility for humanitarian aid, and the inner courtyard turned into a bus parking area. Employees of the Lviv Municipal Art Center escorted EDPs from the train station during the curfew hour to ensure that tired and frightened people found themselves in comfortable conditions more quickly.

In the third episode of the podcast ‘Culture Against Aggression,’ we discuss the origins of volunteering in cultural institutions and its format over the course of 16 months of the major war. Our guests are Olha Puzhakovska, the director of Lesya’s Theatre in Lviv, and Pavlo Kovach, the curator of the Lviv Municipal Art Center and co-founder of Detenpula Gallery.

The author and host of the podcast, Marta Trotsiuk, inquired about the initial reaction of cultural institutions, the choice to stay in their place, and when they managed (at least partially) to return to their usual activities. Why did the Lesya’s Theatre open its doors to the audience last? How did the Lviv Municipal Cultural Center respond to the full-scale invasion? What changed in the operations of both institutions?”

Episode #4: Museums in the crosshairs: Territory of Terror and Shevchenko Grove

IN THE PODCAST:

If a village dies and along with it a museum, then consider that village never existed.

Museums hold information about who we are, where we come from, where we’re going, and why. And we must preserve the museums that are currently in the crosshairs. In the fourth episode of the podcast ‘Culture Against Aggression,’ we discuss the protection of cultural heritage during the over 500 days of the major war.

The author and host, Marta Trotsiuk, invited the directors of two of the most well-known museums in Lviv – the Territory of Terror Museum and Shevchenko Grove. Olha Honchar is the director of the Territory of Terror Museum and also the founder and coordinator of the Museum Crisis Center. And Mykhailo Zakopets is the director of the Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Life in Lviv named after Klymentiy Sheptytskyi (Shevchenko Grove).

The recording location is also special – in a cultural setting that knows how to stand up for its own and preserve the most valuable by passing it down through generations – the old Lviv synagogue.

  • How did the museums react at the beginning of the full-scale invasion?
  • What was the state’s reaction?
  • How did foreign colleagues and partners help?
  • Were any artifacts taken out of Ukraine for preservation?
  • How are they working on the conservation and security of our cultural heritage?
  • And how are they taking care of themselves?

Cultural heritage is so valuable because it confirms our existence as a nation. Listen and become carriers of the latest Ukrainian culture.

Episode #5: ‘Choosing Between the Cultural Rear and Service in the Armed Forces: Oleh Yaskiv’

IN THE PODCAST:

Oleh Yaskiv, a scientist, public and political figure, vice-rector of UCU, and director of the Sheptytsky Center, states that the war was only a matter of time after Ukraine gained independence: ‘Knowing Russian culture, history, and psychology, I felt that it wouldn’t be that easy for us to separate.’

In the fifth episode of the podcast ‘Culture Against Aggression,’ the author and host, Marta Trotsiuk, talked with Oleh about the most challenging aspect: the choice between the cultural front and military service.

Our guest is now a captain in the Ukrainian Armed Forces and joined the defense effort even before February 24, while also continuing to lead a cultural institution.

  • How did he make this decision, and how did he prepare for the war?
  • How was the preparation conducted at the Sheptytsky Center and UCU?
  • Is it necessary, and who should fund culture during wartime?

We met with Oleh Yaskiv at the Sheptytsky Center, where he was released by the command to allow us to record the interview. 

Episode #6: ‘Reactive Art in Wartime: Vlodko Kaufman’

IN THE PODCAST:
Uncontrolled aesthetics is the most accurate definition of Ukrainian art during the first months of the war.
 
Throughout the first season of the podcast ‘Culture Against Aggression’ with the author Marta Trotsiuk and invited guests, we delved into the topic of the initial response of culture to the full-scale war.
 
We end the season with an open recording at Shum gallery together with an artist, performer, curator, and art director Dzyga Art Center Vlodko Kaufman. In the final sixth episode, we discuss the shift from reactivity to selectivity in art and how it occurred.
 
Vlodko notes that initially, we needed to release emotions and blow off steam, and then proceed to higher matters. And he describes the first exhibition after February 24 as ‘like a Brownian movement, uncontrolled aesthetics, like leaves blown by the wind’.
 
We cover topics such as how artists reacted to the war, how quickly they restored their artistic practice, what new things emerged in the midst of chaos, and the phenomenon of ‘bayraktar art’ in Ukrainian culture – these are the themes that touch the Ukrainian artistic community with their sharp angles.
 
This episode is without formulaic answers but with intellectual humor and unconventional thoughts.
Watch the video

Please turn on English subtitles.

SEASON 2: Cultural Diplomacy

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Episode #7: ‘Promoting Ukrainian culture within the country and the Ukrainian context abroad: Bogdan Logvynenko, Ukraїner’

IN THE PODCAST:

In this episode, together with Bogdan Logvynenko, we delve into the topic of how Ukraine communicates its culture both inside and outside the country.

  • How does cultural diplomacy shape Ukraine’s image in the world?
  • How does external cultural communication help us understand ourselves better?
  • The connection between mass media and cultural narratives.
  • Can media be voluntary?
  • About social resistance.

You can also listen to our podcast on the most popular podcast platforms. Please, subscribe and share with those who want to know more about Ukraine.

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“Culture Against Aggression” is the project of Gallery 101 in partnership with Radio SKOVORODA and with the support of our exclusive sponsor Chicago Atlantic Trident.

Host and author Marta Trotsiuk 
Guest Bogdan Logvynenko
Location — the cozy office of Ukraїner

Watch the video