Protecting Ukraine’s Heritage: What Heritage and Whose?

Documenting Ukraine: Bearing Witness to War
Panels and Discussions

This round table was part of the event Documenting Ukraine: Bearing Witness to War. The full program is available here.

On 7-8 February, three round tables brought together experts from Ukraine and across Europe and the United States to spotlight the insights gleaned from the multifaceted work of Documenting Ukraine and to explore some of the crucial thematic and methodological questions raised in the program’s initial months.

This first round table reflected one of the Russian Federation’s war aims being precisely the destruction of Ukrainian heritage and culture, making the understanding and preservation of this heritage a particularly urgent task. Material objects as well as intangible cultural heritage are under threat. Who decides what needs to be preserved? What is in danger of being overlooked? What resources are needed? How should we think about layers of the past being erased through selective preservation? What are the dangers at issue in approaching the past – essentializing, instrumentalizing, sanitizing?