I have a degree in Graphic Design & Visual Communication / Management (Kyiv Academy of Managerial Staff), and started one in Political Sciences but could not finish due to the war. For the past ten years I have been involved in politics as a political activist, and in 2019 co-founded the NGO Design for Ukraine. As part of my work with the NGO, we have been discussing plans for a Ukrainian Design Museum and a Ukrainian Design Center for the past four years. We are supported by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and by the recently founded Ministry of Design. However its developments were interrupted by COVID-19. Since all museums were already closed, it did not seem a good time to realize the opening of a new one. However we have 4 years of research work for the development of the physical collection for the museum, which is ready.
“The discussions on open source, the commons and public domain, which are so essential to the Open Design course, were quite the thought-provoking experience. I have to admit that – due to our particular history of misappropriated and stolen authorship, such concepts can be challenging to embrace. “
Our research has shown that the historical legacy of Ukrainian Design — the loss of Design items and lack of influential authors — has heavily been impacted by procedures of the Soviet Union removing many of Ukraines most talented scientists, authors, designers and so forth into labor imprisonment at Sharashkas: Special Design Bureaus in Russia, where they were forced to make contributions to the Soviet economy. These were often falsely assigned to popular Soviet artists and scientists. The Ukrainian public only learned about this after the fall of the Soviet Union (in 1991). There are many other ways by which the totalitarian style of the Soviet’s regime has negatively impacted aspects of ‘creativity’ for the later development of the Post-Soviet states. However after a few years into independence there almost was a boom in Creative Design and Art. One of the main goals of the museum is the reconstruction of history and the item-collection, with the goal to provide clear proof that the lack of design from the early 20th Century is not due to a lack of Ukrainian talent but due to the deliberate political incisions.
The Open Design Course gave me the space to continue working on this project from afar. We have made the decision for now to create the museum as a virtual online museum: first with a smaller website-based collection, then as a bigger animated virtual museum. We are currently working on 10 interviews with some of the most famous Ukrainian Designers also engaging in debate on Ukrainian identity. Like that, once the war ends we can start creating the actual museum. The virtual museum also allows Ukrainians from all over the world to connect with their history and heritage. During the Open Design Course I managed to process all the data from our research so far and made a video presentation as a base for the virtual museum.
The discussions on open source, the commons and public domain, which are so essential to the Open Design course, were quite the thought-provoking experience. I have to admit that – due to our particular history of misappropriated and stolen authorship, such concepts can be challenging to embrace. From our point of view, we have a stronger need to reconstruct and safeguard authorship, creative and private ownership and other protective rights. But it was certainly very inspiring to learn about these developments and the potential that comes with them.