UKRAINE LAB – an online residency for six emerging writers from Ukraine and the United Kingdom








Artistic programmes

About the project

The Ukrainian Institute London in partnership with PEN Ukraine and the Ukrainian Institute will run UKRAINE LAB, an online residency for six emerging writers from Ukraine and the United Kingdom (or displaced by the war). We will support them developmentally and financially to produce creative nonfiction pieces tackling global challenges through the prism of Ukraine. This project is supported by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute as part of the UK/UA Season of Culture 2022 

The ongoing successful resistance to Russia’s war of aggression on an unprecedented scale has made the value of Ukrainian knowledge and experience undeniable. The urgency to learn from Ukraine is now existential for the rest of the world. Ukraine Lab presents such an opportunity.

Conceptualised in 2021, the project has been redesigned because of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The deadline for applications is now 30 May 2022. Please see the call for writers below.


Ukraine has been often called a laboratory when it comes to many challenges facing humanity today, be it ecological emergencies like the Chornobyl catastrophe, Kremlin-led digital disinformation campaigns, or the impacts of modern war. Ukrainians have responded to each of these issues with resilience and creativity and turned Ukraine into a treasure-trove of cultural resistance strategies. Learning with and from Ukraine is crucial for tackling global challenges in the areas of environment, security, and disinformation in the twenty-first century.  

Structure of the residency

Educational part  

During the online residency’s educational part, participants will learn about Ukraine’s experiences of cultural resistance from world-leading experts. Three thematic online seminars include:  

  • After Chornobyl: on the cultural landscape of the post-nuclear age (Tamara Hundorova)
  • War and Lies: on the Kremlin’s disinformation campaigns (Peter Pomerantsev)
  • Theatre of War: on artistic responses to the war trauma (Olesya Khromeychuk)
  • Pscyhodynamic workshop: on non-verbal representations of the UKRAINE LAB themes (Khobir Wiseman-Goldstein)
  • The British Library workshop: on the Ukrainian collections (Katie McElvanney)


Creative part  

During the residency’s creative part, the participants will work in three cross-cultural writing pairs. Guided by the UKRAINE LAB curator (Sasha Dovzhyk), they will develop their creative pieces through peer-review sessions and workshops with professional writers from Ukraine (Iryna Shuvalova) and the United Kingdom (Julia Bell). Their texts will be visually interpreted by the photographer Mstyslav Chernov, published by our literary partners in Ukrainian (Krytyka, Korydor, Tyzhden) and English (openDemocracy, MIR, The Ecologist), followed by a bilingual anthology.

English is the working language of the residency. The creative nonfiction pieces will be originally written in the writers’ first languages (Ukrainian and English) and then translated professionally. All workshops and peer-review sessions will be held in English.


Each UK-based writer will be paid a fee. The participants are expected to work approximately 3 days per week for the six weeks of the residency. Provisional dates of the online residency will be 4 July – 15 August 2022.

Eligibility criteria

  • Fluency in English
  • Two or more publications (online or in print). These could include short stories, essays and other forms of creative nonfiction. NB: since the residency is aimed at emerging writers, authors who have already published a book will NOT be considered
  • Demonstrable interest in cross-cultural dialogue and the UKRAINE LAB themes (environment, disinformation, modern war through the prism of Ukraine)
  • The UK-based writers should be residents of the UK

How to apply

Candidates should complete the online application form, attaching their motivation letter and a sample of writing by 30 May 2022. Please address any questions to the UKRAINE LAB curator Sasha Dovzhyk at

For the call for Ukraine-based writers, please visit the website of the Ukrainian Institute and PEN Ukraine.

British selection committee

  • Olesya Khromeychuk, Director, Ukrainian Institute London 
  • Sasha Dovzhyk, Special projects curator, Ukrainian Institute London 
  • Anastasia Denysenko, Head of Literature Programme, Ukrainian Institute 


The head image uses Oleksandr Khvostenko-Khvostov’s set design for Mob (adapted from Upton Sinclair’s novel They Call Me Carpenter), 1924. Mystetskyi arsenal, Kyiv, Ukraine.