Archiving against Erasure | Workshop at Spennymoor Town Hall | Friday 26th May 2023
A free heritage event in Spennymoor Town Hall explored cultural links between County Durham and Ukraine’s industrial history.
Durham and Donbas in Focus: Archiving against Erasure featured Ukrainian museum professionals who discussed their experiences of saving vital historical objects and records in the face of the advancing Russian conflict, including Anhelina Rozhkova from Pokrovsk historical museum and Yevneheniia Kalugina from Sloviansk Museum of Local History.
The event was organised by Redhills, the charity responsible for Durham Miners Hall, and the University of St Andrews, which is exploring the industrial history and heritage of the Ukrainian East and the UK, questions of heritage management and manipulation and the role of the industrial past in forming community identities and politics.
The event was open to everyone interested in attending, where they looked forward to talks and workshops, including hands-on access to archive material and digital heritage projects from the UK and Ukraine.
Dr Victoria Donovan from St Andrews University said: “Anhelina and Yevheniia will share their experiences of working in museums where local heritage and vital historical objects and collections are under threat by the Russian invasion. Many museums from the Ukrainian East have now been destroyed, looted or displaced because of Russia’s war. Our research project has helped connect Ukrainian artists and archivists with heritage professionals and local communities from across the UK with events in Scotland and Wales – the Durham event will bring an altogether different but complementary perspective thanks to the groups who will join us for the day.
Among the North East heritage organisations represented on the day, was Amber Film and Photography Collective, who discussed their work and historic documentation of the region’s communities and Industries, which has taken place for over 50 years, along with an insight into their revered education programme working with post-industrial communities in our region. Amber also discussed the risk to this continued work and the exhibition of their amassed archive the AmberSide Collection, brought about by the recent closure of Side Gallery and Cinema, following funding losses and the cost of living crisis.
Bryan Dixon of Amber said, “We are privileged to be part of this event to explore the historic and contemporary cultural links with the Donbas along with respective preservation issues and the importance of safeguarding such vulnerable heritage for future generations.”
The event took place on Friday, 26 May, from 10 am – 4 pm. Attendees had the opportunity to visit the Durham Mining Museum and Spennymoor Town Hall Art Galleries as part of the day.