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PPV #29: What Shall We Do With These Buildings: Kharkiv Fundraiser and Preview Screening

Wednesday 4 May


What Shall We Do With These Buildings: Kharkiv Preview Fundraiser and Film Screening

Location: The Christopher Ingold Auditorium, UCL Department of Chemistry, 20 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AJ

A fundraising preview screening of a film shot just months before the invasion in Ukraine, followed by a discussion with members of the film production, academics and invited guests from the Ukrainian architecture community.

This event is organised by The Bartlett School of Architecture in collaboration with PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical: Politics and Aesthetics in the Global East), an art and research platform based at the FRINGE Centre, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

The film 'What Shall We Do With These Buildings?' is set in the city of Kharkiv, situated 30km from the Russian border. The city is the former capital of Soviet Ukraine. Soviet architecture is everywhere; the city's built environment is composed of the patrimony of this defunct regime. What should be done with these buildings? Should they be preserved, destroyed, repurposed? What power do they hold over the way people think and interact with their environment?

In trying to answer these questions, the film collects a diverse set of voices, from people who use these spaces every day to those who visit them only to tear them down. Interwoven within this patchwork of opinion is another kind of exploration. Dance runs through the film in playful counterpoint, providing another language to articulate the ways in which buildings move bodies.


Jonathan Ben-Shaul

Jonathan is a movement and theatre director from London. Previously he studied English Literature at Cambridge University, and he graduated from L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq this summer. Since then, he has taught at Kharkiv School of Architecture, where he taught movement and dynamic sculpture to first year students and completed a residency in collaboration with the Literature Museum. He works internationally, having toured the east coast of the US, and brought theatre pieces to Norway and to the cellar of the National Theatre of Iceland. At the moment, he works with Akimbo Theatre Company and helps run an annual lantern parade in the town of Tonnerre in Burgundy.

Ievgenila Gubkina

Ievgenila is an architect, historian, educator and curator of architecture and art projects. She is a co-founder of the NGO Urban Forms Center and the avant-garde women's movement 'Modernistki'. Her work specialises in architecture and urban planning of the 20th century in Ukraine, and a multidispinary approach to heritage studies. Her first book 'Slavutych: Architectural Guide' was published in 2015 by DOM Publishers in Germany and was dedicated to the architecture of the last Soviet city of Slavutych, built after the Chornobyl disaster for workers of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. In 2019, after many years of research, her second book 'Soviet Modernism. Brutalism. Post-Modernism. Buildings and Structures in Ukraine 1955–1991' was published by Osnovy Publishing and DOM Publishers. In 2020 she curated the 'Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Architecture' multimedia online project. After the Russian war against Ukraine started in 2022, she was forced to leave Kharkiv and temporarily moved to Latvia.

Michał Murawski

Michał Murawski is an anthropologist of architecture and lecturer in Critical Area Studies at UCL's School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES). His first book, 'The Palace Complex: A Stalinist Skyscraper, Capitalist Warsaw and a City Transfixed', was published by Indiana University Press in 2019. He is now working on a book about architecture, politics and violence in post-Soviet Moscow. Michał is Director of the FRINGE Centre at SSEES and Co-Convenor of PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical: Politics and Aesthetics in the Global East), an art and research platform based at UCL. More information about Michał’s research and writing can be found on his website:

Anka Kamyshan

Anna Kamyshan is the director of the Department of Conceptual Development and Research Projects at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, and the author of the ‘Glimpse into the Past’ installation on Victory Avenue in Kyiv. She worked at the Rotor Center for Contemporary Art in Graz (Austria), curated a number of artistic and architectural projects, including the Milan Triennial exhibition project. She graduated from the Art College named by Ivan Trush in Lviv, Kharkiv University of Architecture, studied philosophy and social theory at the University of Manchester. Also she graduated from the interdisciplinary Institute of Media, Architecture and Design ‘Strelka’. At the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, she and her team are engaged in the in-depth study of the Babyn Yar territory and its development projects.

Mariia Rusanova

Mariia is an architect, an educator and a PhD student at the Kharkiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. She was born and educated Kharkiv, where she gained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with honours in architecture and urbanism. Her research interests include modernism, its political, social and cultural significance, and its heritage preservation in Ukraine. Her recent articles include “Promoting heritage of the Newest Ukrainian architecture: from Eclecticism to Constructivism”, “Complex of Freedom Square in Kharkiv – chrestomathy of strategies for preserving the authenticity of avant-garde architecture”, and “Innovative concepts in the Kharkiv projects of J. Steinberg of the capital period”.

Make a Donation

Please consider donating to Evacuate Kharkiv (headed up by Igor Kliuchnyk, one of the actors in the film) and Kharkiv School of Architecture. Your donations will contribute to evacuation efforts and humanitarian aid for people of Kharkiv, and help KSA secure new premises and teaching infrastructure for its faculty and students as they navigate the current challenges of war and the future project of reconstruction.

Image: Film still from 'What Shall We Do With These Buildings?'. Louis Norris and Daiana Sheludkevych, cinematographers for 'What Shall We Do With These Buildings?'.

Register for the event here


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