Ukrainian delegates talk to the Palatinate about protecting their heritage – Palatinate

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By Emily Lipscombe

Ukrainian delegates met with Palatinate on strategies for preserving their culture in times of war at a symposium on cultural heritage management organized by Durham University’s Business School.

The symposium, which took place last month, included presentations from archaeologists, anthropologists and development specialists from the United States, Brazil, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Ukraine on the protection of sites and objects of cultural significance in the face of human and natural hazards. Specialists from Ukraine were invited to participate in a roundtable co-chaired by UNESCO Professor Robin Coningham and Dr Mariann Hardey, and spoke with Palatinate in detail on their initiatives following the event.

Ukrainian delegates included: Oleksandr Kulepin, Director of Digital Transformation for Lviv Region; Anhelina Starkova, architect and founding engineer of the House of Ukrainian Architecture; and Nazar Podolchak, Director of Science Park at Lviv Polytechnic and CEO of Lviv TechStartup School. They were joined by Jaewon Peter Chun, Chairman of the World Smart Cities Forum (WSCF) and CEO of technology accelerator XNTREE. Amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, delegates spoke to the Palatinate about existing and upcoming strategies to protect and conserve their heritage, as well as plans for Ukraine’s architectural regeneration after the end of the war.

Oleksandr Kulepin, together with his fellow specialists, was quick to point out that Russia’s goal was not only to capture land, but also to destroy Ukrainian culture. To this end, he underlined that the protection of culture is one of Ukraine’s main objectives alongside the protection of its citizens. Specializing in the digitization of art and heritage in Lviv, Kulepin highlighted the importance of the city as a cultural center for Ukraine. Not only is Lviv’s architecture culturally significant, but the city is also home to archives of immense cultural significance, including the Central Historical State Archive of Ukraine, established in 1939 to consolidate a wealth of data and state, corporate and private history.

Kulepin explained the threats facing this archive, a substantial amount of which remains in its physical form, and how he and his colleagues have sought to digitize the contents of the archive in the event of physical destruction. The mass of historical data in the Lviv archives makes this a daunting task, but also an urgent priority. To this end, Kulepin stressed the importance of assistance in the form of sophisticated archive scanners to speed up the digitization process.

The technology was also highlighted as a major asset in protecting Ukraine’s historical monuments, especially its churches. The churches of Ukraine have both historical and symbolic importance; the Ukrainian Orthodox Church having recently declared its independence from the Russian Orthodox Church. Thus, Ukrainian churches were particularly targeted by Russian rockets during the invasion; The Art Magazine recently reported that, according to the Ukrainian government’s list of cultural crimes, 144 of the 396 places classified as war-damaged were religious sites, in 24e June. Kulepin’s initiative was therefore to create 3D digital models of the most important historical churches and monuments in Ukraine, so that exact replicas could be reconstructed in case of damage or destruction.

Anehlina Starkova, who was recently working in the eastern part of Ukraine, explained in more detail the architectural destruction she had seen in the field. She pointed to the destruction of Lviv’s most modern buildings, most of which were built during the Soviet communist era. While she, too, spoke of her concerns about the “cultural genocide” of the invasion, she focused on the threat to contemporary life and the regeneration of post-war Ukraine.

Starkova is working with the WCSF organization to establish the House of Ukrainian Architecture, a structure that will use global resources and collaboration to rebuild post-war Ukraine. With a focus on sustainable values, carbon neutrality and urban safety, the project would function as a platform and library to collect methods and resources to regenerate and rebuild war-torn Ukraine. She described post-war architecture as functional in wartime and peacetime, with defensive features, as well as spaces for healing, as part of her design intentions. She also highlighted the diversity of cities in Ukraine and the corresponding need for each to have a unique reconstruction and restoration plan.

Starkova underlined, in particular, the importance of foreign aid, not only in terms of academic and financial resources, but also in providing environments in which Ukrainian architects and engineers can work safely and efficiently, away from trauma. of a war zone environment. His projects are therefore intended to be located in London and New York.

Dr. Jaewon Peter Chun, as head of WCSF and Starkova collaborator, stressed the importance of business investment intermingling with government subsidies when restoring Ukraine. Support for start-ups and local businesses, including collaborations between businesses in the UK (already a hub of Ukrainian support) and Ukrainian businesses, remained just as important as state aid and donations . Chun said the recent war has opened foreigners’ eyes to Ukraine’s cultural significance and the need to invest in its future and potential – its recent bid for EU membership being an example. concrete. It proposes a ten billion dollar investment for the architectural and structural regeneration of Ukraine, with an emphasis on strengthening technology and sustainability.

Nazar Podolchak, who is both CEO and founder of the Tech Start-up School at Lviv Polytechnic and head and founder of Lviv’s Department of Administrative and Financial Management, underlined the importance of the city as a education hub.

With Lviv Polytechnic University among the best in Ukraine, Podolchak highlighted its transnational ties and promotion of scientific and business talent. By providing an innovation system that allows business ideas to be modeled and implemented quickly under expert mentorship, Podolchak’s tech start-up is helping a new generation of businessmen, scientists, researchers and Ukrainian educators to devise new ways to protect, rebuild and revitalize a post-war nation. The Science Park, recently set up, allows a research platform to be shared, marketed and implemented in national and international markets. Thus, the rise and success of Lviv’s universities and research opportunities will be a key feature of its post-war recovery.

Image: Kitson Leighton

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