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Admission is free and open to current USC students only. Space is limited and reservations are required. RSVP beginning Monday, February 3, at 10 a.m.

In advance of their conversation about the arts in Ukraine—and about displacement, loss, and cultural resilience in times of war—three contemporary artists from Ukraine will lead creative workshops, giving participants a chance to interact and learn from them firsthand.

> Essayist Sasha Dovzhyk will lead a critical reading workshop using U.S. news coverage of Ukraine to show how democratic values, human rights, and language itself are understood—and misunderstood—by observers based outside of Ukraine. She will share how she grapples with complex issues related to postcolonial Ukrainian identities in her essays.

> Artist Marina Malyarenko will lead a hands-on workshop to make postcards using the traditional Ukrainian folk painting technique Petrykivka. The style originated in the eastern Ukraine village of Petrykivka, and is recognized by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage of Ukraine.

> Poet Iryna Starovoyt will lead a letter-writing workshop. Participants will write letters to their future selves that reflect on their aspirations, values, and identities, and explore themes in Starovoyt’s work including memory, forgetting, and cultural inheritance across generations.

If time allows, students will be able to participate in more than one workshop.


Sasha Dovzhyk is a Ukrainian writer, editor, and cultural manager. She holds a PhD in English and comparative literature from Birkbeck, and has taught at Birkbeck and UCL SSEES, worked as a special projects curator at the Ukrainian Institute London, and edited three books. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Guardian, New Lines, Index of Censorship, CNN, and others. She edits the London Ukrainian Review. Having lived in London for nine years, she has recently moved back to Ukraine to help set up INDEX: Institute for Documentation and Exchange. 

Marina Malyarenko was born in Halych, an ancient city in western Ukraine full of medieval ruins and prehistoric artifacts reclaimed by nature, and is based in Santa Monica. Early in her life, Malyarenko learned the craft of Petrykivka, a traditional Ukrainian folk art decorative technique that originated several hundred years ago. The distinctive technique involves painting flower designs on the walls of houses in central Ukraine. Malyarenko has said, “I use the same traditional technique and tools to paint my modern interpretation of this art form... I put my heart and soul, symbols, and ideas into my drawings, believing that this energy will warm and protect those who have a piece of that love in their homes.”

Iryna Starovoyt is a poet, essayist, humanist, associate professor of cultural studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University, and recurrent visiting fellow at St. John’s College, Oxford. A member of PEN Ukraine and PEN International Writers for Peace Committee, she has authored three volumes of poetry. A Field of Foundlings is her bilingual book, published in the U.S. and translated by Grace Mahoney. Starovoyt's poetry has been anthologized, translated into several languages, set to music, embroidered on canvas in Lithuania, and fired in ceramics. She is on the board of the annual Lviv Book Forum, Culture Congress, Drahomán Prize, Light of Justice Award, and Women in Arts Prize, and served as the head of the jury for the transnational literary prize UNESCO's City of Literature, based in Lviv since its inception.

Related event:

Voices of Freedom, Voices of War in Ukraine: Readings and Conversations
Wednesday, March 5, 2025, at 7 p.m.
Friends of the USC Libraries Lecture Hall, Doheny Memorial Library 240
For more info, click HERE.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices. Organized by Robert Labaree (USC Libraries), Sophie Lesinska (USC Libraries), Colleen McQuillen (Slavic Languages and Literatures), Kelsey Rubin-Detlev (Slavic Languages and Literatures), and Andy Rutkowski (USC Libraries). 

Photo courtesy of Marina Malyarenko.


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