Liberation and Ukraine : a talk and exhibition (17 and 18 November)

The Liberation Literature Lecture, which has traditionally focused on France, will this focus on Ukraine.  This post provides details about the talk and an accompanying exhibition which we warmly invite local Ukrainians to co-curate with us.

The Liberation Literature Lecture is an annual event hosted by Cambridge University Libraries which has as its main themes the political, cultural and artistic life of countries under, or emerging from, occupation. The lecture’s topic is inspired by the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection, which includes some 3000 books and pamphlets published in France between August 1944 to the end of 1946.  Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey, the sponsor of the lecture, proposed this year that the focus should be on Ukraine as the country fights to liberate the areas illegally invaded and annexed by Russia.  The speaker will be Dr Rory Finnin, of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies, and the topic will be Volia: Defiant Freedom and Liberation at the Centre of Ukraine’s National Identity.

“In this presentation, Rory Finnin explores the concept of volia, or defiant freedom, in Ukraine’s modern history and culture. With particular attention to poetry, and with a view to the Euromaidan Revolution and Russia’s ongoing war of neo-imperial aggression, he explains how a politics of universal democratic freedom evolved over centuries to pose powerful alternatives to aristocracy to Ukraine’s west and autocracy to its east.” [from the talk’s blurb]

The Liberation Literature Lecture is traditionally accompanied by a display of books from the Liberation Collection.  This year, we are focusing the exhibition of course on Ukrainian books, to celebrate Ukraine and its literature and history.  Library staff have put together a longlist of 36 books, chiefly donations and largely published in the 20th century, and are inviting local Ukrainians (especially those who are here as guests due to Russia’s invasion) to select their favourites and to write a little about their favourite of the books.  Their choices and texts will decide and feature in the exhibition.

The talk will take place on Thursday 17 November at 5pm in Clare College, across from the UL.  More information can be found here, where there is a link for booking tickets.  Attendees will then have a chance to look at the exhibition.  The books will be put on show again on Friday 18 November in the UL itself, in the Milstein Room, from 3pm to 6.30pm.

Here are the relevant links about taking part in the exhibition:

Please do share these with Ukrainians you know in Cambridge and its environs!  Thank you.  And here are the covers of the 36 books.

Mel Bach

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