«Writings From the War» is a non-commercial cultural research project run on a voluntary basis to collect eye-witness reports on the current war, starting with russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
This project has been carried out since March 2022 in collaboration with the University of Alberta’s Kule Folklore Centre, where the testimonials are archived at the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives, both in the language of the original and English translation.
The project’s archiving coordinator Alex Averbuch periodically deposits firsthand testimonials transmitted to the project team from various hiding places; from shelters, train stations, and refugee camps; from besieged cities.
A portion of the files have been catalogued and integrated in the archive, and may be accessed online. Another portion, with the Kule Centre’s generous support, is being translated and gradually uploaded to the online database.
We are working to establish an archive of testimony on the Russian-Ukrainian war at the Kule Folklore Center at the University of Alberta. The purpose is to provide a basic source for researchers, academics, students, journalists, artists, and any others who are interested in this subject.
We are also actively engaged in disseminating the collected testimony in social networks so that as many readers as possible from around the world can find out about the war crimes of the russian forces and the russian federation itself.
The mission of Writings from the War is to collect, preserve, and disseminate these testimonials, both in the language of the original and English translation, so as to provide a documentary source for researchers, academics, students, journalists, artists, and the public in general. There are testimonials by soldiers, volunteers, doctors, drivers, teachers, animal rights activists, cooks, artists, and scientists — people of all professions; by adults and children, displaced persons, rescuers and the rescued — in short, anyone interested in sharing their experience with the world. This is a panoramic picture of the wartime «everyday,» reflecting private experiences during this catastrophe. All the testimonials have been provided to the project team by the witnesses themselves, and every story has a title, and a record of the person behind it.
The credibility of the testimony
Only verified testimony is added to the archive. Respondents fill in a form that guarantees that the testimony they are provided is accurate and is based on their own personal experience.
The full name of the respondent is temporarily kept secret to ensure their safety.
The «Writings From the War» project is a non-profit initiative that is operating on a volunteer basis. The translators, journalists, editors, SMM managers and coordinators are aware of the value of their efforts and do not receive remuneration for their work. Still, we do need funding for ongoing costs, such as the development and maintenance of our site, translations and edits of testimony, and the travel costs of reporters.
At this time, we have two sources of funding. The first is donations from our readers through the FundRazr crowdfunding platform. Those who are interested in supporting our initiative can donate any sum that suits them.
The second source is grant funding. We are very grateful to the Shevchenko Scientific Society for providing this support.
In 2022 the project received a Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies’ Bohdan Medwidsky Grant of $ 1000 to use on translation of the testimonials into English.
We report on our current expenses once a month.