Projects:   Cultural heritage

NGO Union of Ukrainian Women at the All-Ukrainian Scientific Conference dedicated to the 195th anniversary of Hanna Barvinok's birth

On May 26-27, 2023, the All-Ukrainian Scientific Conference dedicated to the 195th anniversary of Hanna Barvinok's birth, "Showing Your People as in a Pure Mirror: The Life-Creating Phenomenon of Hanna Barvinok," was held in Chernihiv Oblast, co-organized by the All-Ukrainian Union of Ukrainian Women.

Hanna Barvinok (Oleksandra Bilozerska) was a talented Ukrainian writer, author of works on folk life. She began her literary career in 1858 with the stories "Every cloud has a silver lining" and "Autumn Summer," published in the almanac "Hata." The key themes of her works were family relationships, family troubles, the hard life and everyday life of rural women. Examples include "House Disaster," about family despotism, and "Father's Mistake," about the drama of a forced marriage. In her stories, Oleksandra Mykhailivna reflected her spiritual state, emotions, feelings, and experiences, so researchers have brought the writer's work closer to the "philosophy of the heart." Borys Hrinchenko called Hanna Barvinok "a poet of women's grief," and Ivan Franko rightly considered the writer "the foremother of Ukrainian literature."

The conference was co-organized by: NGO "Union of Ukrainian Women", Mykola Gogol Nizhyn State University, Department of Education and Science of the Lviv Regional State Administration, Ivan Franko Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, P. Kulish Regional Historical and Memorial Museum-Reserve "Hanna's Pustyn", Center for Regional Study of Polissya Culture.

The event was held under the patronage of the Commissioner for the Protection of the State Language Taras Kremen and the Chernihiv Regional Military Administration.

The conference lasted for two days. The first day was held at the Mykola Gogol Nizhyn State University and was devoted to the scientific component - plenary presentations and section meetings.

At the opening of the conference, Orystlava Sydorchuk, Head of the Union of Ukrainian Women, delivered a welcoming speech: "Most of the writer's works are unexplored, and there are very few scientific studies that would summarize the peculiarities of her work and identify the place of Hanna Barvinok in the literary environment of the time. And the reasons are the same. The Soviet government concealed the works of Oleksandra Kulish. Unfortunately, the works of one of the most interesting figures of the Shevchenko era are still little known to the modern reader, who has a vague idea of the writer. That is why today's event is important for the scientific, educational, cultural, literary, and the entire community of Ukraine, whose cultural and historical heritage has been deliberately destroyed throughout history. I thank the organizers for the opportunity for scholars to listen and share their research, to expand the knowledge base about this talented personality, and for the opportunity to gather here at Mykola Gogol Nizhyn State University, one of the oldest educational institutions in Ukraine, known far beyond the borders of our country."


During the plenary session (moderated by Alla Shvets, Deputy Head of the All-Ukrainian Union of Historians), the general tone and main focus of the conference was determined by the reports of leading scholars: Professor Vasyl Yaremenko - "Memoir and Epistolary Heritage of Hanna Barvinok", Professor Olena Ivanivska - "Oleksandra Bilozerska-Kulish: In Defense of Ukrainian Identity", and Professor Yevhen Nakhlik - "Hanna Barvinok (Oleksandra Kulish) and Ivan Franko in Mutual Characteristics and Assessments".

The conference also featured a presentation of Hryhoriy Samoilenko's monograph Panteleimon Kulish and Hanna Barvinok: Fate, Ukraine, Love (Motronivsky's period of life and work) with the participation of scholars from various institutions. The discussion was moderated by Alla Shvets.

The conference was divided into three sections:

  • Creative horizons of Hanna Barvinok
  • Hanna Barvinok's intellectual environment. Honoring and popularizing her figure
  • Problems of reception and contactological aspects of Hanna Barvinok's life work.

The organizers and participants of the conference created an unforgettable atmosphere of human communication and intellectual dialogue. The first day ended with a city tour dedicated to the history of Nizhyn University.

The second day of the event was spent in Hanna Barvinok's small homeland, Motronivka village, in the Regional Historical and Memorial Museum-Reserve of P. Kulish "Hanna's Desert" and solemnly honored the memory of Hanna Barvinok at the writer's grave.

"In the footprints of Panteleimon Kulish, Hanna planted periwinkles, recognizing him as a great Ukrainian from a young age. But behind every great man there is a woman. Today we are talking about her, the Ukrainian Oleksandra Bilozerska, the great Hanna Barvinok. And all the beautiful periwinkle wreaths from Lviv are in her honor," said Oreslava Khomyk, Honorary Chairman of the Ukrainian Women's Union.


Alla Shvets, Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Women's Union, emphasized the historical significance of Hanna Barvinok for Galicia, and in particular for the history of the founding of the Ukrainian Women's Union: "In her honor, in 1910, during the writer's lifetime, the Hanna Barvinok Circle was created, on the basis of which the largest women's organization, the Union of Ukrainian Women, was founded in February 1917, which is, in fact, considered the historical successor of the Hanna Barvinok Circle. The close cooperation and sincere friendship between the first founder of the women's movement in Galicia, Natalia Kobrynska, and the famous writer of women's destiny, Hanna Barvinok, showed how strong this connection was and what significant achievements and joint publishing projects it culminated in."

The tour of the museum left the guests with the warmest impressions and admiration for the Nizhyn region and its people.

The museum also hosted a roundtable discussion titled "The Fate of Our Women Is Now at a Turning Point": the National and Cultural Rank of Ukrainian Women of the Past and Present. It was attended by Orystlava Sydorchuk, Chair of the Ukrainian Women's Union, Oreslava Khomyk, Honorary Chair, and Alla Shvets, Deputy Chair of the Ukrainian Women's Union.

We are grateful to the organizers for their selfless dedication and support of this scientific event of national importance, and for the high level of organizational support of the conference. Only through joint efforts in these difficult times can we develop science, support each other, and popularize the glorious names of the pantheon of Ukrainian ascetics of word and thought!