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Investigating children’s books in the Russia-Ukraine war

AUFF-Ukraine research fellow Nadiia Pavlyk is part of a new AUFF NOVA project "PUBLISH: Children’s Books in the Russia-Ukraine War." Initiating the project with PI Birgitte Beck Pristed from Aarhus University on a delegation trip to Ukraine, Nadiia Pavlyk and the team will study wartime children’s books that voice underrepresented child experiences of war and migration.

The Danish-Ukrainian delegation visiting the Council of Europe Office in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 2024.
Nadiaa Pavlyk presenting the PUBLISH project in March at the Ukrainian Scholars Day, Copenhagen. Credit: The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.
Birgitte Beck Pristed in Ukraine, April 2024. Credit: Nadiaa Pavlyk.

Just after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Nadiia Pavlyk came to the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) as an AUFF-Ukraine fellow in April 2022. Now Nadiia Pavlyk is onboard a new AUFF NOVA research project at Aarhus University, "PUBLISH: Children’s Books in the Russia-Ukraine War" that aims at studying contemporary Ukrainian and Russian wartime children’s books that voice otherwise underrepresented child experiences of war and migration.

Creation and collaboration amid destruction and war

The “PUBLISH” research project is interdisciplinary in scope as it brings together a team of researchers from the humanities and social sciences with expertise in publishing studies, non-formal youth education and children’s book studies. The team will document the publication of such books as a creation process amid destruction, and develop a conceptual framework for interpreting possibilities and strategies of the independent publishers.

Delegation trip to Ukraine with The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters

The new "PUBLISH" project was initiated on a field trip to Ukraine in April, a trip that was part of a larger delegation with the President of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters Marie Louise Nosch and three researchers: Inga Kapustian (University of Southern Denmark), Birgitte Beck Pristed (Aarhus University and member of The Danish Young Academy), and Nadiia Pavlyk (Aarhus University). The main aim of the delegation trip was "to demonstrate to Ukrainian scientists and research institutions our support, readiness, and desire to support the development of Ukraine," outlines head of the delegation, Marie Louise Nosch, President of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

In-depth interviews and bringing back research material

During the trip, the joint Danish-Ukrainian PUBLISH project team, Nadiia Pavlyk and Birgitte Beck Pristed, established new networks with scholars and with several Ukrainian research institutions. In Kyiv, they held meetings with the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Council of Europe Office and the Danish-Ukrainian Youth House. In Lviv, they visited both the private Ukrainian Catholic University and the State University, and in Ivano Frankisk, they visited the Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University.

The trip further enabled Nadiia Pavlyk and Birgitte Beck Pristed to conduct in-depth interviews with the directors of some of the leading Ukrainian children’s book publishers Svichado (видавництво «Свічадо») and The Old Lion (Видавництво Старого Лева - ВСЛ), brought some 30 children's books about the war back to Aarhus University as research material and visited publishing houses, bookstores, and book cafes in Kyiv and Lviv.

Lasting networks in wartime

On top of the research scope of the trip, AIAS AUFF-Ukraine fellow Nadiaa Pavlyk highlights her meeting with two other AUFF-Ukraine fellows that was hosted at AIAS together with Nadiia immediately after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war:

“It was a great pleasure to meet other former AUFF-Ukraine research fellows - Sophia Opatska, Vice Rector for Strategic Development, Ukrainian Catholic University, and Anastasiia Zymaroieva, Head of the Ecology Department at the Polish National University, who both continue their research cooperation with Danish institutions.”

Ukrainian Scholars Days at the Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen

The PUBLISH project was first presented at the Ukrainian Scholars Days organised by the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in March (more: https://www.royalacademy.dk/da/Aktuelt/USD-4). The Ukrainian Scholars Days bring together both Ukrainian and Danish researchers at regular meetings every six months in Copenhagen, and from these network meetings at least two Danish-Ukrainian research projects ("PUBLISH" and "Plants for Peace") have grown.


Nadiia Pavlyk, 2022-2023 AIAS AUFF-Ukraine research fellow
E-mail: pavnad@cas.au.dk
School of Culture and Society, Global Studies
Aarhus University