Ukraine has a multifaceted cultural heritage and a powerful creative potential, which developed together with other European nations and foster the values of freedom and humanism. All this is under threat today and exposed to numerous risks of the ongoing war.
Since February 24, 2022, according to the preliminary assessment of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, more than 1,500 cultural heritage and infrastructure sites in Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed completely in the aftermath of the full-scale Russian invasion.
These are museums, monuments, temples, libraries, culture centres, etc. As a result of hostilities, many unique collections and pieces of virtu were lost, stolen or smuggled from Ukraine. Unfortunately, due to continuous missile and artillery strikes, this figure continues to grow.
Another serious challenge fuelled by the war is the outflow of artists and cultural luminaries abroad, on the one hand, and limited opportunities for creativity and continuing professional engagement for those who stayed in Ukraine, on the other. These both categories have an important mission from the cultural diplomacy standpoint by using artistic means to communicate truth about what is happening in Ukraine, and to promote creative achievements of Ukrainians and Ukrainian culture within the country and beyond.
The Ukrainian history and culture have always been, are and will continue to be an integral and important part of European cultural identity. Since the first days of the war, the European Union has supported Ukraine and Ukrainians in preserving cultural heritage and cultural diversity, as well as in helping Ukrainian artists to develop and employ their creative potential through special programs, projects and initiatives.
On December 8, 2022, Maria Gabriel, the EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, in her speech at the Creative Ukraine International Forum, emphasized that it is extremely important to think about the power of culture and its potential to promote support to the frontline and reconstruction of the state. At the same forum, Matti Maasikas, EU Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, noted that since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has supported more than 1,000 Ukrainian artists, hundreds of museums and culture centres with a total amount of more than EUR 5 million, and the assistance will grow in the future.
Thus, on March 21, 2023, the EU Delegation to Ukraine launched a communication campaign about the European Union’s support for the Ukrainian culture and art during the war. It continues the all-Ukrainian campaign #TogetherWeAreEurope, which was implemented in Ukraine from August 2022 to February 2023.
With the support from the European Union, the first one is related to the preservation of unique cultural heritage in all corners of the country. This includes tangible cultural heritage (historical and cultural buildings, museums, monuments, ancient churches, collections and archives, etc.) and intangible heritage (traditions, folklore, cultural memory). The second concerns the European Union’s support for Ukrainian artists, cultural luminaries and creative industries from all over Ukraine to make sure they can continue their professional engagement, improve their skills, get new experiences, find partners and create new works of art in modern Ukraine. This includes a variety of grants, scholarships, mobility opportunities, residencies, and more.
A number of various communication activities are planned within the campaign, including:
- Web Mosaic of EU-supported cultural projects and initiatives
- Interactive activities such as flash mobs, quizzes and draw games
- ‘Cultural Ukraine’ marathon
- Outdoor advertising (big boards, city lights, posters in public transport)
- Dedicated projects with leading Ukrainian media, television and radio
- Panel discussions
- Competition for novice artists and exhibitions of award-winning artworks.
The campaign was launched on World Poetry Day with an online flash mob #TogetherWeCreate, with the participation of Maria Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. Together with high-ranking EU officials and Ukrainian artists, she recites the poem You Know You’re a Human by Vasyl Symonenko, one of the most influential Ukrainian dissident poets of the 1960s, who was killed by the Soviet regime.
Video on the occasion of the International Day For Monuments and Sites
TV ads spot on the EU’s support for Ukrainian culture and art
Video on the occasion of International Museum Day
Interview with the EU Ambassador Matti Maasikas about the EU’s support to Ukrainian culture in war time
Exclusive interview with Peter Wagner, Head of Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) on preservation of Ukrainian cultural heritage in war time
Together We Preserve: the story of OTOLOVKO Creative Art Hub about saving collection of ancient clothing from the war with the EU’s support
Interview with Olha Gonchar, Director of Territory of Terror Memorial Museum
TV spot about preservation of the Zhytomyr Regional Museum of Local Lore collections with the EU’s support
TV spot about EU-funded ‘Thousands of Doors of Odesa’ progrmme
Special project with UP.Zhyttya about the EU’s support
of Ukrainian culture during the war
Premiere of EU-supported Ukraїner documentary
“Culture in Time of War”
On 29 June, the KINO42 cinema hosted premiere of the first film in a new series of documentaries – “Culture in Time of War. The West”. The film tells the stories of artists from Lviv, Chernivtsi, Lutsk and Uzhhorod and was produced as part of the European Union’s “Together, We Create. Together, We Preserve” communications campaign.
During the project presentation, experts, artists and journalists discussed the theme”Documentary Films to Preserve and Rethink Ukraine’s Cultural Heritage”. They talked about the role of documentaries in history and their place in the cultural life.
Photos on the Flickr
TV spot about premiere of EU-supported Ukraїner documentary
“Culture in Time of War”
War will not stop Ukrainian culture:
EU-supported Cultural Mosaic Art Open Air in Kyiv
On 8 July 2023, the Lavra Art Gallery hosted the Cultural Mosaic Art Open Air with the support of the EU. This is a key public event of the European Union’s communication campaign ‘Together, We Create. Together, We Preserve’, which has been running since March 2023, informing Ukrainians about the European Union’s support for Ukrainian culture and art during the full-scale war.
Guests of the art plein air learned about the opportunities available for art projects and cultural figures in Ukraine, and how Ukrainian wartime culture is alive and changing thanks to the European Union’s support for Ukrainian culture during the war.
The Cultural Mosaic showcased a wide panorama of Ukrainian culture, preserving and creating in times of war: from painting and photography, to documentary films, theatre, and crafts. Every area presented had projects supported by the European Union.
More photos on Flickr
Cultural Mosaic Art Open Air announcement in ‘Snidanok with 1+1’ morning TV show
Espreso TV spot about Cultural Mosaic Art Open Air
ICTV TV spot about the EU’s support to Ukrainian cultural sector in times of war
Supilne Culture TV spot about Cultural Mosaic Art Open Air
TV spot by TRC Kyiv about Cultural Mosaic Art Open Air