Exhibitions at the TH Wildau: “Ukrainian Academy: past, present and future. Resultful, resilient and revived”

On November 9, 2023 a series of exhibitions, dedicated to the Ukrainian Academy, were opened at the Library of the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau (TH Wildau). The scope of the exhibition “Ukrainian academy past, present and future” was to inform German audience about achievements of researchers and inventors born in Ukraine, show the resilience of the Ukraine’s academy now and to look forward at how it will be revived. The exhibition series have been opened for general public until December 20, 2023 as well as online. Author: Anna Grebinyk

The education and science are among the most potent means to change the world. These are also some of the most peaceful activities one can ever imagine to be engaged in. It seems so until the existential war knocks on the door of your home. If someone came to kill you, there is nothing to negotiate. All you can do is to defend yourself. If you are brave enough. Ukraine is brave enough. russian military aggression is violating human rights and is breaking international law with an imperialistic aim to cancel Ukraine, seize its territory and rule Europe and the world. My mentor Prof. Dr. Marcus Frohme once pointed out: “War is in some ways the antithesis of science. In German “Science” – “Wissenschaft” contains the word “create” – “erschaffen”, which means the creation of knowledge. War is the opposite. If libraries, universities and schools are hit, collective knowledge is destroyed. The death of people always means the destruction of individual knowledge.” And here I am – a Ukrainian and a scientist, who would like to increase in the East Germany the awareness of the Ukrainian culture and its democratic spirit that enables the unprecedented full-scale resilience of Ukrainians.

Earlier this year I was honoured to be awarded the TH Wildau Research Prize 2023.  I decided to use it to organize the exhibition series “Ukrainian Academy: Past, Present and Future. Resultful, resilient and revived”, which include:
  • “50 Inventions Bestowed by Ukraine to the World” – this exhibition presents the achievements of Ukrainian science and inventors who were born in Ukraine. There is hardly anybody who is not using WhatsApp or has not heard about The Big Bang theory, but what do they have to do with Ukraine? Professional illustrators followed the footsteps of Ukrainian inventors and created 50 artworks highlighting the outstanding discoveries and inventions that arose from the ingenuity of the researchers and engineers, surgeons and explorers of Ukraine. This exhibition was organized by the Embassy of Ukraine in Berlin in 2015 and can be visited online here (virtual tour) and individual posters, including explanatory texts.
  • Our new exhibition “Ukrainian Academy at wartime”, which can be visited online here, shows what it really means to continue teaching and carrying out research in wartime, as well as the brave fight for freedom of Ukrainian academics. All people in Ukraine, including researchers, are in a survival mode, but they are finding ways to continue their work. In spite of so many considerable challenges of the ongoing war, such as the lack of human capital, damaged infrastructure and constant risk of bombing, Ukrainian schools resumed education within 5 weeks, many of Ukrainian universities – within 2 weeks after the start of the full-scale invasion.  The exhibition “Ukrainian Academy at wartime” consists of three parts:
    • “Unissued Diplomas” that honor the memory of 20 Ukrainian students, who lost their lives as result of russian war against Ukraine. These students used to spend their days in study halls. They had favorite classes and those they dreaded weekly. And how scary it was for them to even think of failing a midterm. But after February 24 2022, everything changed for Ukrainian students. Classrooms turned into bomb shelters and battlefields. Now, diplomas of those 20 and many more boys and girls will never be issued. Because russia took their lives in its attempt to take Ukraine’s freedom.
    • 24 photos present the damages of Kharkiv and Kyiv universities – 2 out of 3798 education Ukrainian institutions that have suffered bombing and shelling. The aggressor says it is only military objects of our country that are struck. However, russian troops are continuing to destroy schools and universities, kindergartens and orphanages. That is the brutal truth of ongoing russian war in Ukraine. “If I, as an attacker, target top universities like Taras Shevchenko or Karazin, then with that I’m aiming at scientific heart and the scientific identity of a nation,” – said Prof. Dr. Marcus Frohme in his opening speech.
    • 18 Posters demonstrate how the non-stop work and mobilized resources made it possible to not only continue education, but also saving lives. This part of the exhibition highlights Ukrainian academy’ resilience in facing the war challenges and its contribution to fight for the nation’s freedom. And now after the 21 month of the full-scale war, Ukrainian academic system is carrying on. This capacity of teachers and scientists to deliver education and carry out research in these seemingly impossible circumstances proves again and again Ukraine’s strong democratic will and bravery.
On November 9, 2023 the opening welcome event took place at the TH Wildau Library, where Prof. Dr. Ulrike Tippe, the president of TH Wildau and Alisa Podolyak, the Counselor of the Embassy of Ukraine in Berlin, welcomed the guests. Prof. Dr. Marcus Frohme and I explained the exhibition’s motivation, aimed to increase the awareness of the Ukrainian national idea and its resilience. Live piano music and vocals by Sascha and Prof. Dr. Alina Nechyporenko filled the library with Ukrainian spirit.
Later, after visiting the exhibitions, the guests were invited to the TH Wildau student club, where topics of Ukrainian-German cooperation transformation in wartime and how to support and rebuild academia in Ukraine in future were discussed. The guests were offered the authentic Ukrainian food.

I would like to thank TH Wildau, Embassy of Ukraine in Berlin, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), German-Ukrainian Academic Society, Berlin Science Week as well as the whole organizing team and many helpful colleagues from the library, communication and event organization units at TH Wildau and DESY, whose generous support made these exhibitions possible.

The exhibition materials, both digital and in print, are available upon request.

Read more at the MAZ article in German.

Слава Україні!