September 7-9, 2023
The third Culture Congress
The risk of losing a home paradoxically gives a chance of returning to it, rediscovering it and finding ourselves in a new context at the same time. We, as a society, woke up from the first explosions of the full-scale war to get started, inter alia, on the road to our common home, to look at it closely, cautiously, and carefully.
The war catalyzes many different processes and makes us, both as a community and multitude of individuals, more categorical, straightforward and determined where in peacetime there would be a room for doubts, discussions or naïve expectations. The proximity of death requires direct and clear answers, as palpable missiles encroach on very particular men, women and children’s quite specific life time and space. What we are experiencing now – will to destruction from the aggressor’s part and our conviction in our own victory, our fragility, survival, sacrifice, and solidarity – needs time, language, and inner courage (or preparedness) to be lived through, defined, and integrated in our biographies.
Being still inside the war, we strive to grope, find, or invent the necessary words and way to talk about what has happened to us and what is happening to us now. What is the experience of culture under threat of destruction: how do artists and institutions work, what does relocation in culture look like, what ways does cultural diplomacy operate in? Is our present-day culture a form to convey the truth and deconstruct the imperial narrative, a space to work with a trauma and heal, a bearer of collective memory, or the groundwork for coexistence? What have we lost, what have we, meanwhile, broken free from in the last eighteen months, what can we still gain? How do we reconsider our heritage, redefine our cities, rediscover true images of the Ukrainian culture’s creators, blowing distorting imperial mirrors into splinters? What powers can our newly found features such as empathy, responsiveness, self-organization, or horizontal ties, carry? What a community and what a state do we eventually want to become after the war? How would we define the role of culture in building the new society? Why is Ukraine important for global future and, particularly, for that of United Europe?
We gain our own voice now; it becomes ever louder and more confident. We are those who create our history and have the sole right of telling it. Our duty to ourselves, to those killed by Russia today and over the previous centuries, and to the rest of the world, after all, is to make UKRAINE! UNMUTED.