ICOM UK Talks – Heritage in Crisis: Ukraine

ICOM UK in collaboration with the Ukrainian Institute London, Ukrainian Institute in Kyiv and ICOM Ukraine presents a series of online lunchtime discussions about the destruction of global cultural heritage and how museum and 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.

We encourage all attendees to consider making a donation to attend one or more of the online talks. All donated income from the series (minus Eventbrite fees) will be donated to ICOM Poland’s fund to support Ukrainian museum professionals fleeing Ukraine.

ICOM UK Talks – Heritage in Crisis 1: Looting of Ukrainian cultural heritage and loss of expertise

Wednesday 9 November 2022, 12:30 – 13:30 (UK time)

As well as the destruction of heritage sites in Ukraine there are also numerous instances of cultural property being looted. Meanwhile, there is a loss of expertise as curators, conservators, archivists and librarians prioritise safeguarding collections over professional development, with many specialists enlisting to fight or fleeing across borders.

The first talk in this series will focus on the role of ICOM Red Lists in combatting illicit trade in cultural artefacts. We will consider how artefacts looted from Ukraine could easily turn up in the UK – perhaps on eBay, as goods seized by border police or by being offered to museums for acquisition. Being aware of what to look for and knowing when to alert the authorities is a vital step towards stopping this illegal trade and returning looted artefacts to rightful owners. We will also look at what is being done to support those whose professional development has been put on hold due to the war.

Attendees will be asked to share the Red List for Ukraine as part of an awareness campaign. They will also be encouraged to identify ways to support the professional development of Ukrainian cultural heritage professionals in the UK.

ICOM UK Talks – Heritage in Crisis 2: Decolonising Ukrainian cultural heritage

Wednesday 30 November 2022, 12:30 – 13:30 (UK time)

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.

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

ICOM UK Talks – Heritage in Crisis 3: Identifying and collecting Ukrainian cultural heritage

Wednesday 14 December 2022, 12:30 – 13:30 (UK time)

Ukrainians have lived in the UK for centuries and have long contributed to economic and cultural life here. A major wave of immigration happened after the Second World War, when thousands of displaced Ukrainians were unable to return to their homeland due to Russian persecution there. Many active communities became established across the UK and beyond – including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and other towns and cities – where national customs and traditions have been kept alive and passed on to younger generations.

This final talk in the series will focus on identifying and collecting cultural heritage from Ukraine. We will consider the challenges associated with identification; the significance of collecting Ukrainian cultural heritage; how collections might be developed; and where to find relevant expertise. This knowledge may be invaluable when the time comes to rebuild and replace collections in Ukraine that have been damaged or lost as a result of the war.

Attendees will be encouraged to review their own collections for objects that may require additional research to identify as Ukrainian – and to share thoughts on how to take this forward.

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.

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

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.

* 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.

@UK_ICOM

The next Heritage in Crisis talk - focusing in on decolonisation, Ukraine and Russia - is scheduled for 30 November, 12.30-13.30 (UK time).

To book, visit: https://uk.icom.museum/icom-uk-heritage-in-crisis-decolonising-ukrainian-cultural-heritage/

A new report from ArtFund, Museum X and Culture& sheds light on the impact of ethnic diversity initiatives on curatorial roles in the UK arts & heritage sector
1998-2021.

https://bibli.artfund.org/m/53e933cf196387c3/original/Art-Fund-Curatorial-Diversity-report.pdf?_ga=2.177259809.528651887.1668422001-1916952378.1664185819

The next Heritage in Crisis talk - focusing in on decolonisation, Ukraine and Russia - is scheduled for 30 November, 12.30-13.30 (UK time).

To book, visit: https://uk.icom.museum/icom-uk-heritage-in-crisis-decolonising-ukrainian-cultural-heritage/