Location: Brody, Ukraine
Implementation period: April 2016 – April 2017
Coordinator: Vasyl Strilchuk
Context. Issues Addressed by the Project
Brody has been entered on Ukraine’s historic city and town register and is widely known due to its numerous monuments, prominent personalities and its preserved planning of an “ideal town” dating back to the 17th century. It accommodates 33 architectural monuments, five of which having a national significance status. A number of historic sites have no status at all and have been abandoned for a long time in a desolate condition. This unused cultural potential represents today the town’s “burden,” rather than its merit.
The project was intended to energise the Brody community within the scope of some applied issues related to conservation of the town’s historic polycultural heritage. By ‘polyculturalism’ we mean a stratal multitude of ethnic cultures and subcultures, historic epochs with their relevant architectural styles or other visual urban codes; whereas by ‘community’ we mean, above all, active representatives of the public, brainpower clerisy (educational community: teachers, pupils and students) and profile experts at the local museum, regional ethnographers, as well as religious activists and representatives of the local authorities or self-government. Our keen interest has been likewise focused on some external groups, such as tourists, researchers, potential investors, etc.
We saw the major expected practical outcome in elaborating some general proposals on the town development in the sphere of its historic and cultural patrimony’s preservation and enjoyment.
– Research into the Polycultural Historic Heritage of the Town of Brody (Potential, Problems and Perspectives) complete with a full list and description of Brody’s major monuments, indication at the main problems related to the state historic heritage registers, positive and negative experience of the societal interaction with the historic environment, as well as individual recommendations and suggestions;
– Website of the Historic Heritage of Brody project www.brodyhistory.org.ua, which contains information on all the sights entered on the state registers, information on the project, Kray CSO and the Brody Regional History Museum and many other things. The photo and video galleries are presented separately, as well as the Library section which contains digital copies of individual local history publications, guide-books, booklets, The Brodovskie Vesti magazines and a layout of the town’s historic monuments. The website informs on the actions and events held within the project framework and in the town’s cultural life;
– The Brodovskie Vesti, a corporate newspaper by the Kray CSO, 4 issues with a circulation of 1000 copies each. The publications contain news on our project and information on the town’s historic facilities and problems related to their preservation. The publication has been distributed free of charge during the cultural or educational events, guidance association meetings or other events held by the educational professionals, among the local council deputies and representatives of the authorities, NGOs or librarians of Brody District. The newspapers are available at the district library, museum, bookstore and newspaper stalls (handed out to the people who buy the local press). Electronic copies of the publication are accessible on the project’s Facebook page Town of Brody’s Community and Polycultural Heritage, as well as on our organisation’s website;
– The Training workshop cycle Historic and Cultural Heritage Revitalisation: Practical Experience, Public Involvement and Search for Resources for civic activists, authorities and businesses (approximately 100 persons). Taras Vozniak, Elena Biriulina and Oleh Rybchynskyi, renowned patrimony sector experts, who were invited, briefed the attendants on the revitalisation experience from individual facilities, places and towns in Ukraine and Europe. The workshops have encouraged the active community members to discussing the issues related to Brody and Brody District branding and promotion, which fact has been reflected in meetings of the Active Province Club;
– The Brody Quest Local History Game was included in the programme of celebrating the Brody Town Day in September 2016. We had elaborated an appropriate Quest Regulation, coordinated our work with the Brody District State Administration’s Education Department and with the administrations, teachers and pupils or students of the town schools and teachers’-training college, as well as with the Town Council. The game included a competition among 5 teams of pupils, college students and volunteers, while for evaluation purposes we invited a special judging panel. The Brody Quest format was appreciated by all its participants; and, as a result, the Education Department has later organised two more such events;
– 24 signs leading to individual historic sites and 33 information plates with the QR codes at the monuments; and
– 8 public lectures on territories of the town monuments: in the open air near some valuable historic facilities, in sacral monuments and at the educational institutions, on preserving which we wanted to draw the town people’s attention. To participate in the events, 433 persons were registered, while in fact they were joined for discussions by many active passers-by. Later the popular public lecture format has been adopted by the Brody Local History Museum jointly with the District Library.
Our project has culminated in drafting an action plan submitted for reviewing by the Brody Town Council with the goal in mind of its further utilisation for conservation of the town’s historic and cultural heritage.
Organisational and Partner Network Development
The work which has been conducted in the heritage sector, as a rule, does not “spring up” fast, but we can be proud of the animation among the event participants (judging by the questionnaires filled out by the training session or lecture attendants and comments made on the social media pages). We have identified a general growing interest in the heritage agenda on behalf of the public of various age categories (for example, the number of museum excursion requests has gone up). Public opinion is gradually formed as to the need for preserving the town’s historic patrimony: there are some cases appearing that the town residents bitterly condemn with a lot of public response private encroachments on the cultural monument integrity, which forces the town authorities to influence the owners.
On the whole, the Kray Association has strengthened its professional role in the issues related to the local historic and cultural heritage preservation; our recognisability has been on the rise, which motivates our organisation members to keep on abreast of the regional public life. Our organisation has expanded its cooperation network with the civic activists, found new partners and takes part in various events or trainings held in our town.
We are grateful to the Brody Town Council, which has supported our initiative from the very beginning, also in co-financing, and has adopted a relevant programme. The administration representatives and deputies have been engaged in the project events, as well as in discussing and addressing some individual issues.
Information support to the Kray CSO has been provided by the local mass media: The Golos Vozrozhdenia and The Brody Vechernie newspapers have been bringing their coverage of our events and published more local history materials (which may be seen as a project side effect). The Brody TV and Radiobroadcasting Company has covered the project-related events on its TV and radio air and provided an online access to the video versions of all the project’s public lectures.
A prominent role in the project implementation has been played by communication with the Cultural Management Centre (Lviv) and mutual consultations with the CHOICE project members, such as “Kremenets Environmental League” and “Starokostiantyniv Non-Indifferent”.
Our further plans will prioritise revitalisation of a key cultural heritage facility in the town, i.e. the Brody castle, with its possible future museumification. Jointly with the Town Council and the Brody Local History Museum, we look into a possible revitalisation of the market-place vaults.
For more information about the project, the city of Brody and its monuments, please, visit brodyhistory.org.ua.