Dr Ludmilla Pekarska

Dr Ludmilla Pekarska
Object: Ludmilla’s book on the ‘Jewellery of Princely Kiev: The Kiev Hoards in the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’

Background information

Interview took place at the Taras Shevchenko Library and Archive, at the headquarters of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain.

Dr Ludmilla Pekarska maintains the library’s unique collection of books about Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora – which is the largest collection in Europe outside Ukraine itself. Since July 2011 she has headed an Editorial Team to produce the bi-weekly editions of Ukrayinska Dumka

Dr Pekarska spent 10 years researching and writing the book featured in the interview.  The book draws attention to the Kievan Rus, A medieval Slavic state that centered around the city of Kiev, it included most of present-day Ukraine and Belarus and part of northwest Russia.  Kievan power and influence grew steadily through the 10th and 11th century, but was later weakened by internal disputes and fell to the Mongols by 1240.

Dr Ludmilla Pekarska

Dr Ludmilla Pekarska

About Home to Home

Home to Home: Landscapes of Memory, is a cultural heritage project. Kettle Partnership (London) and the Ivan Honchar Museum (Kyiv) developed a joint project looking at the memories that individuals attach to objects. Read more

The project curators, Ihor Poshyvalio and Leah Whittingham interviewed Ukrainians in London and Kyiv each interviewee was asked to bring an object that is from Ukraine or has a memory of Ukraine attached. In London, we asked Ukrainians and Ukrainian descendents to choose an object that reminded them of Ukraine and inspired a personal story. And in Kyiv, the Ivan Honchar Museum contacted individuals throughout Ukraine, asking them to choose objects that remind them of a particular time or memory. These objects have engendered the telling of stories and through listening to these stories we explore both the history of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora community in London.

We hope to continue to collect both stories and objects and potentially see how this porject could start to form the beginning of digital archive of stories that lluminates a personal history of Ukrainian people both at home and away from home.

This partnership is supported by the Tandem Programme which is funded by the European Cultural Foundation and MitOst. This programme aims to support new, long-term creative partnerships and projects across the cultural sector through ‘real-life’ sharing and cooperation.

The experience of Home to Home. Our inital project discussions centered around how to develop a more interactive relationship between museum and audiences. Through this we came up with an idea that explores the relationship between people, objects and stories.

London/Kettle Partnership/Leah Whittingham

Ukrainian immigration to the UK dates from the beginning of the 20th century. The first documented evidence of Ukrainians in the country is a record of 100 families settling in Manchester a couple of years before World War I. The first significant group of migrants left Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution and the ensuing incorporation of the Ukraine into the Soviet Union. The second main influx came at the end of World War II, when Britain became host to many Ukrainians, mainly POWs from the Polish and German armies and displaced persons from labour camps across Europe.

With the break up of the USSR there has been a further influx of Ukrainians and the unofficial estimate is that approximately 120,000 Ukrainians live in the UK. Compared with other Eastern European diaspora communities in the UK, the Ukrainians have been relatively insular in terms of sharing their culture and as a result there isn’t a great deal known about Ukrainian cultural identity or Ukrainian history within the UK.

The Ukrainian community in London itself is a well organised community with the key hubs being – The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), the Ukrainian School, the Ukrainian Institute and the 2 Ukrainian Churches – The Catholic Church in Duke Street and the Orthodox Church in Acton.

I started the project by contacting some of these key Ukrainan organisations such as the (AUGB),the Ukrainian School and the Ukrainian Institute. These organisations proved invaluable in terms of helping me find people who would like to be interviewed. However, overall there was a great reluctance to be interviewed – in some cases it might have been not wanting re-visit or share memories but in others, I found there was a deep suspicion of why an non-Ukrainian would be working on a project about Ukraine. Over the course of the year I’ve feel I’ve finally earnt the trust of some key individuals and learnt so much more about the exprience of the Ukrainian diaspora community in London, this has developed into further projects discussions with the AUGB about working with the Schevchenk Library and Archive.

Kyiv/Ivan Honchar Museum/Ihor Poshyvalio


Contact us

For more information on the project, please either contact Kettle Partnership or the Ivan Honchar Museum