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As an act of academic solidarity, the Faculty hosted a celebration of Ukrainian Literature and Culture.

The event, attended by over 100 staff and students from across all Sub-Faculties, began with a series of short presentations on Ukrainian culture, with a special focus on contemporary theatre. Prof. Julie Curtis discussed her project on Russophone drama in Ukraine, while leading translator and poet Sasha Dugdale described her long-standing translation work with Natalia Vorozhbyt and other contemporary Ukrainian writers, and playwright, director and journalist Jack Clover discussed his work across the Ukrainian theatre scene from 2017 to 2021. 

Ukrainian music and poetry were then represented by a performance by Alex Lloyd and Philip Bullock of "Proshchai svite, proshchai zemle" ("Farewell world, farewell earth") from Valentyn Syl'vestrov's Tikhie pesni, a cycle of 24 songs written between 1974 and 1977. Syl'vestrov is Ukraine's leading contemporary composer - and he fled to Berlin after the Russian invasion of his homeland. In Tikhie pesni, he set mostly Russian classical and modernist poetry (Zhukovsky, Baratynsky, Pushkin, Lermontov, Tyutchev, Esenin and Mandelstam), as well as Russian translations of Keats and Shelley, but he also included a single setting of Taras Shevchenko, which he marked 'to be sung in Ukrainian'. 

Alex and Philip's performance of this intensely quiet and moving piece of music was prefaced by a reading of the original Ukrainian by Ruslan Pavlyshyn and an English translation by Jan Fellerer. This was a passage from Shevchenko’s longer poem ‘The Dream (A Comedy)’, followed by a second reading of a Shevchenko poem in the Ukrainian original and in English translation. This was the particularly well-known poem ‘Testament’, which Syl’vestrov set to music too as part of his choral work Diptych. There was also a painting on display by the Odesa-born and -based artist Irina Kolesnikova. Claire Selby provided a brief introduction to the artist and her work.  


A short roundtable and Q&A with Jack Clover, Julie Curtis, Sasha Dugdale, and Ruslan Pavlyshyn addressed recent cultural developments with special reference to Lviv, as well as the linguistic situation in Ukraine. The last part of the evening was dedicated to performances of poems written in and about Ukraine in languages including Ukrainian, German, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Yiddish and Polish. Those attending the event were encouraged to view the special exhibition in the Taylorian Library featuring publications in Ukrainian and from Ukraine, including several books of poetry in Mariupol Greek, a regional dialect of spoken in and around the city until its destruction.

The Faculty hopes to establish a 'virtual residency' with a series of online events through which to give a Ukrainian writer or academic some support and a voice.