ICOM UK Talks – Heritage in Crisis: Decolonising Ukrainian cultural heritage

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30 Nov
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Decolonisation has become an important global debate. Much has been done in UK museums, galleries, libraries, archives and universities to uncover and address deep-rooted colonial views. Work in the UK has largely focussed on the legacy of the British Empire, but Russia’s war in Ukraine has revealed other sides to colonial power. One colonial narrative claims that Ukraine is simply part of Russia rather than a separate nation that regained its independence in 1991, while another asserts Russia’s superiority in terms of culture and heritage.

This talk will consider why Russian colonial narratives persist in the west and how heritage and cultural professionals can contribute towards developing a non-prejudiced narrative about Ukraine. We will explore practical steps that can be taken to ensure Ukrainian cultural heritage is appropriately catalogued, described and interpreted. This will play an important role in ensuring that the UK remains an important and trusted ally to Ukraine.

Click HERE to book your place and/or donate


Mel Bach, Head of Collections and Academic Liaison / Slavonic Specialist at Cambridge University Library

Tetyana Filevska, Creative Director at the Ukrainian Institute in Kyiv (currently based in London)

Attendees will be invited to consider ways to improve their own cataloguing systems to ensure Ukrainian cultural heritage is searchable, accessible and appropriately described.

The series of talks is free to attend for ICOM UK and ICOM members, or you have the option to pay what you can via a donation ticket. For non-members, we ask you to pay what you can via a donation ticket. We suggest a donation of £5 – £10 per talk.

All donated income from the series (minus Eventbrite fees) will be donated by ICOM UK to ICOM Poland’s fund to support Ukrainian museum professionals fleeing Ukraine.

This online talk is part of a series of on-line lunchtime discussions about the destruction of global cultural heritage and how heritage professionals can help.

The series consists of three talks that focus on the war in Ukraine where cultural heritage is under attack. Through case studies and knowledge-sharing, practical actions will be identified for heritage professionals to use in support of Ukraine. Learning from the situation in Ukraine may, in turn, prove useful for responding to future crises elsewhere.

This pilot series is being organised by ICOM UK in collaboration with cultural experts from the Ukrainian Institute London* and the Ukrainian Institute in Kyiv**.

* The Ukrainian Institute London is a centre for Ukraine-related educational and cultural activities. The Institute is a charity registered in England and Wales.

** The Ukrainian Institute in Kyiv is a separate organisation, which promotes and develops cultural ties between Ukraine and other countries.