The exhibition consists of text messages that have been illustrated.
The exhibition consists of text messages that have been illustrated.
Photo: Marie Lowrie

Messages from Ukraine


How do ordinary Ukrainians experience the ongoing war? That is the subject of the exhibition Messages from Ukraine, which was opened on 8 March in the foyer of the University's main building in Vasaparken. With short quotes from young Ukrainians, illustrated with black and white drawings, the very first weeks of the war are depicted.

The origin of the exhibition was an international course for young civil servants given at the University of Gothenburg, explained Professor Gregg Bucken-Knapp during his opening speech.

Over the years, the course has had many students from Ukraine. So when I, as course director, heard the news last year that Ukraine had been invaded, I was naturally concerned for their safety. I emailed them to find out how they were doing and got short messages in response: Some were abroad, others displaced within Ukraine, a few more had stayed to resist.”

Collaboration with Estonian illustrator

Gregor Bucken-Knapp has previously collaborated with Estonian illustrator Joonas Sildre.

Together with some of the Ukrainian civil servants, we discussed whether we could do something more lasting with their text messages. The result was the publication Messages from Ukraine, where a number of short texts were illustrated by Joonas. It’s this publication that’s now also become an exhibition.”

Nataliya Berbyuk Lindström, Associate Professor in Communications at the IT Faculty, then shared a research project where 60 university employees in Ukraine were interviewed about their experiences.

”During the pandemic, they learned, just like us, to use digital technology. That knowledge really comes in handy now. But the war has also led to a completely new trust between university management, teachers, and students, where everyone is trusted to do their best.

"A new kind of closeness" 

Lisa Churkina, one of the young civil servants who contributed to Messages of Ukraine, also appeared.

The war has led to me changing and learning to appreciate things that were previously taken for granted, such as being able to sit in a cafe or just have a conversation with the neighbour. The war is terrible in every way, but it has also created a new kind of closeness between people.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Carina Mallard cutting a blue and yellow ribbon.

By: Eva Lundgren

About the exhibition

The exhibition Messages from Ukraine is based on a publication by the same name, created by Gregg Bucken-Knapp, Professor in Public Administration, and the Estonian comic artist Joonas Sildre.

The exhibition will be shown as follows:

  • University of Gothenburg main building in Vasaparken: 8 March to 10 April
  • Domkyrkoplan: 12 April to 10 May
  • Faculty of Humanities: 11 May to 1 June
  • Economics Library:  September
  • Department of Applied Information Technology: October
  • Biomedical Library: November

The exhibition was opened on 8 March by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Carina Mallard and is a co-arrangement between the International Centre and Jonsered Manor, University of Gothenburg.