International Academic Seminar “Urban Studies in Ukraine: Current Issues (Foundational Session)”

6 July 2018 року

On July 6, 2018, the international academic seminar “Urban Studies in Ukraine: Current Issues (Foundational Session)” was held. The chief organizer of the event was the Department of Historiography, Source Studies, and Archaeology at the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University.

The seminar was sponsored by the Kowalsky Program at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta (Edmonton) and the Association of Alumni, Teachers, and Friends of the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University.

The first part of the seminar, hosted by the YermilovCentre for Modern Art, was devoted to the discussion of current issues in urban studies. The speakers hailed from various branches of knowledge: history, sociology, political science, philology, philosophy, and cultural studies. Two scholars who at the time of the event were abroad joined the conversation via Skype: Andriy Artemenko (Kharkiv State Academy of Culture, Fellow of the TÜBITAK Program) from Istanbul and Volodymyr Kulikov, who represented the Central European University (Budapest). At the end of the session, the floor was opened to the participants for comments and reflections; among others, the architect Professor O. P. Buryak shared his thoughts. The seminar was attended by representatives of museums and archival institutions, including the Deputy Director for Research at the M. F. Sumtsov Kharkiv Museum of History O. M. Soshnikov, Director of the Central State Archive of Scientific and Technical Documents M. A. Balyshev, and Head of the Department of Innovative Cultural Projects and International Cooperation at the Regional Organizational-Methodical Center for Culture and the Arts (Kharkiv) O. G. Buhaychenko, as well as members of the city’s artistic community, institutions of local self-government, and others. Consistent adherence to an interdisciplinary approach in discussing topical issues of urban studies was one of the seminar’s notable achievements.

During the second part of the event, the participants discussed plans for the realization of the international research project “Practices of the Self-Representation of Multinational Cities in the Industrial and Post-Industrial Era,” which focuses on topical issues in such areas as cultural heritage and historical memory, regional cultural policies, identity formation, socio-cultural aspects of post-communist transformation in Ukraine, urban studies, and others. The seminar marked the starting point of this project. The roundtable discussion took place at the Laboratory of Historical Informatics at the Faculty of History, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Among the participants were scholars from other Ukrainian universities involved in the project. The I. I. Mechnykov Odesa National University was represented by Professor V. M. Khmarsky and Professor I. V. Holubovych; Oles Honchar Dnipro National University – by Professor T. F. Litvinova and Professor O. I. Zhurba; Zaporizhia National University – by Associate Professor S. M. Bilivnenko.

We believe that this project will have important academic and practical implications. However, its realization will be impossible without involving a wide range of individuals and institutions. We hope that the project will bring together the efforts of both professionals and amateurs, all those who are interested in the history and present state of “their own” cities and aspire to develop their best traditions and to preserve and popularize their historical and cultural heritage.