Ceremony for Un-archiving Post-industry project is held in Lviv, Ukraine
On 17 August, the ceremony in situ for Un-archiving Post-industry, a winner of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2023 in category Citizens Engagement and Awareness-raising, took place in Lviv, Ukraine.
Natalia Moussienko, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, joined the ceremony and witnessed the presentation of the award to the Center for Urban History. The award ceremony was also attended by members of the project team, partners, collection owners, storytellers who shared their personal stories for the project, and guests from the public history and heritage sphere.
“It is a mixed feeling of joy and sadness to receive an award in time of war, associated with places we cannot go to, people we cannot see, materials that may have remained only in digital form. It is especially valuable that today we have colleagues from different institutions who co-created this project. Many hands and eyes made it possible,” emphasised Sofia Dyak, Director of the Center for Urban History, in her thank-you speech.
“Un-Archiving Post-Industry” is a project by the Center for Urban History (Ukraine) and the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) in partnership with the Mariupol Local History Museum, Pokrovsk Historical Museum, and Donetsk Regional Museum of Local History, with the support of the House of Europe and the Global Challenges Research Fund. The project digitised about 30,000 photographic negatives and 82 films, including press photo collections from the 1940s to the 1990s, company archives, family albums, home movies, and amateur films.
The project established a dialogue between generations (through interviews with former workers, engineers, photographers and amateurs who documented the industry), between different regions (stereotypically considered industrial or not), between museum institutions and archive owners, and between Ukrainian and international researchers, artists, and activists.
The project took place in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine and aimed to record unique evidence of community life in Donbas, to counteract the use of the past as a weapon, and to combat the spread of disinformation. Although part of this archive was destroyed in 2022 due to the war, digital copies remain available on the website of the Urban Media Archive of the Center for Urban History.
“This clever and multifaceted project has been a great success in preserving industrial heritage in Eastern Ukraine. With an incredible amount of digital data, the Un-archiving Post-industry project has created an excellent archive that stands out for its structure, data quality, and searchability. The open access of this archive ensures its accessibility to a wide range of users. This is even more important in the current conditions of war,” the Jury noted.
The European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award is considered a recognition of the dedication, support, and concern for the heritage and history of Ukraine and support for those who continue to defend Ukraine. The project team have expressed their belief that the bronze award plaque will help create new connections and paths – from The Hague, it was delivered to the University of St. Andrews by postal service, and from St. Andrews it was brought to Lviv in a suitcase. Lviv will not be its final stop. The Center for Urban History hosted the ceremony in Lviv with the hope that the partners of the project in Kramatorsk, Pokrovsk and Mariupol will soon be able to host the award themselves in safety.
After the ceremony, all the participants went to the shelter to the sound of the air raid alarm and continued the evening with a discussion on rethinking Ukraine’s industrial heritage.