From the war to the Faculty of Arts: The academic community welcomes three experts from Ukraine

They miss their family and watch their native country being destroyed by the Russians from afar through the media. Nevertheless, thanks to an offer from Masaryk University, they decided to come to Brno and continue their research and teaching at the Faculty of Arts. Yana Dmyterchuk, Stefania Demchuk, and Oksana Yuriyivna Stupak will join the faculty from the first day of April.

5 Apr 2022 Markéta Stulírová

Oksana Yuriyivna Stupak during a meeting with Professor Milan Pol. Photo: Martin Indruch

Oksana Stupak came from the Donetsk region with her two children and is now a member of the Department of Educational Sciences at the Faculty of Arts of MU. "In 2014, I had to move to Kharkiv because of the disputes in eastern Ukraine, but I returned to continue rebuilding my city," recalls Oksana Stupak. After Russia invaded Ukraine, she left her country with her children. "It's hard for me to talk about it because my parents stayed in Sloviansk in the Donetsk region. I think the current situation in Ukraine is very difficult - for our people and the economy. Many of my colleagues and friends had to leave their homes and move to new places, but many did not leave and volunteered to help the army and the people who remained in difficult conditions. We all hope that the war will end soon," says a Ukrainian woman. She adds that she still thinks about the fate of her relatives who stayed in Ukraine.

Oksana Stupak first worked at the Donbas State Pedagogical University and, from September last year, started working at the Department of Pedagogy and Psychology of Preschool Education at the Faculty of Education of the Dragoman National Pedagogical University. "From October 2021 to February 2022, I implemented the project Modernization of educational courses with interactive digital tools for students of pedagogical disciplines, together with Markéta Košatková, assistant professor at the Faculty of Education of Masaryk University. We received a grant for the project, and so my cooperation with your university began," Stupak explains her work so far. "The only problem I see in my work is my lack of Czech. So I am using English for now, and I have already started to learn Czech. I am very grateful to the Czech government, all the people, and Masaryk University for their support of the Ukrainian people," adds the Ukrainian.

“I'm trying to take this as a chance to meet new people and build a good network that will bring Ukrainian students even closer to their European peers”

Stefaniia Demchuk
Ukrainian newly active at the Faculty of Arts MU

Stefania Demchuk joins the faculty of the Department of Art History of the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University. Until recently, she taught at the Department of Art History at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. "When Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, one of my colleagues working at Masaryk University, Professor Matthew Rampley, suggested that I become a research fellow at the seminar - to be safe and to complete my research. Given our common interests and the capabilities of the Faculty of Arts, I accepted this generous invitation and applied for a research fellowship," Demchuk explains. At the Department of Art History, she will continue her research on the culture of memory and its implications for early modern art in the Netherlands. "I would like to observe how art historians have attempted to examine images to revive memories or how they have analyzed the mechanisms of shaping national memories into monuments and other forms of commemoration. This is where my two interests intersect: Dutch art and art historiography, including Central and Eastern European art," Demchuk explains her intention.

Stefania Demchuk is originally from Kyiv. "My mother and grandmother were born in Kyiv, so seeing Russian troops destroying my home and the home of millions of people makes my heart bleed. But I believe in our army, and I am confident of our victory. For centuries Russia has tried to force Ukraine to remain its colony, and now it will be over."

Demchuk is trying to make the best of the current situation. "Of course, I miss my hometown, and I miss my husband even more, who had to stay in Ukraine, but I'm trying to take this as a chance to meet new people and build a good network that will bring Ukrainian students even closer to their European peers."

Ukrainian Yana Dmyterchuk will be working at the MU Faculty of Foreign Languages Cabinet. Together with the head of the department, Eva Rusínova, she will be featured in the accompanying program of the exhibition East of Brno, currently hosted by the MU Faculty of Arts Reading Room.

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