Online Lecture: ‘Heritage in Crisis 2: Decolonising Ukrainian Cultural Heritage’, ICOM UK Talks, 30 November 2022, 12:30 GMT

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.


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.

Register here.


Published by charlottecook

Charlotte Cook graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in European History from Washington & Lee University in 2019. In 2020 she received her Master’s degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, earning the classification of Merit. Her research explores questions of royal patronage, both by and in honor of rulers, in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England. She has worked as a researcher and collections assistant at several museums and galleries, and plans to begin her PhD in the autumn of 2022.

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