Cultural & Heritage-Led Postwar Reconstruction of Donbas

Co-sponsored with the Petrach Program on Ukraine


This roundtable discussion will mark the opening of the poster exhibit “Labor, Exhaustion, and Success: Company Towns in Donbas,” which presents the history of Donbas through the history of mono-functional industrial towns.

The discussion will address the post-war reconstruction of Donbas, focusing on the transformational role of culture and heritage. How can we apply what we learned from the experience of post-2014 reconstruction to post-2022 reconstruction? What are the shortcomings of international aid projects, and how can they engage local initiatives and focus more on institution-building? How should culture, heritage, and collective memory be considered when developing a reintegration and post-war reconstruction strategy?


Victoria Donovan (the University of St Andrews, the UK) has initiated and led several projects with the artists and researchers from Donbas. Dr. Donovan will present an overview of art activism and community engagement in Donbas after 2014. She will speak about the perceived “crisis of institutions” in the East, resulting from the further discrediting of unreconstructed Soviet-style heritage after 2014 and the emergence of DIY cultural and curatorial practices among younger generations as a form of “alternative institutionality.”

Iryna Sklokina (Center for Urban History, Lviv) has worked closely with the local historians and heritage experts in Donbas since 2013. Dr. Sklokina will present a few cases of cultural heritage reuse in Donbas before 2022, demonstrating good practices of decentralization reform, localism, and international cooperation practices.

Stephen Crowley (Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH) has studied the region through his fieldwork in coal mining communities. Dr. Crowley will speak about the regional identity and contested historical memories to be considered when developing the strategy for the post-war reconstruction of Donbas.


Sofia Dyak, Director of the Center for Urban History in Lviv, Ukraine.

Marlene Laruelle, Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the George Washington University.

Volodymyr Kulikov, visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

The poster exhibit “Labor, Exhaustion, and Success: Company Towns in Donbas” will be on display at the Elliott School of International Affairs in the 2nd Floor Atrium throughout the month of November.

Image credit: Oleksandr Kuchynskyi, from the series “De-industry?” based on the Pavlo Kashkel archive at the Mariupol Local History Museum, 2021.


Nov 08 2022


1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Nov 08 2022
  • Time: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm