Kateryna Iakovlenko

Researcher, Research Platform of PinchukArtCentre (Kyiv), PhD student, Lviv National Ivan Franko University

Guest, Ukraine in European Dialogue
(September – October 2017)


The Role of Witnesses in Digital Media: The Case of the War in the Donbas

Social networks promise that you can create your own story and broadcast your life online. The boundaries of personal space are erased; social networks have become a field for social activity and “history that is being created in the present”. I examine how digital media have influenced the recent political turmoil in Ukraine in general and the war in the Donbas in particular. Can we say that social networks and the Internet are the diaries of the 21st century, and do they affect the work of historians today?

In my research, I touch upon the role of witnesses in relaying historical events. Traditional media used to claim to be the only witness of events, but in today’s digital era everyone can be a reporter. How does this change perspectives on historical events? In Kyiv and Donetsk, I have witnessed and experienced these events first-hand in various capacities (as a journalist, an organizer, and a project leader). My project is a systematic review of the archives of digital media in Ukraine.