In 2022, Ukraine and the UK will mark 30 years of diplomatic relations. In celebration, the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute are teaming up to organise an exciting bilateral, cultural collaborative project  the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture 2022. Running from May to November, the UK/Ukraine Season 2022 will assemble a diverse group of artists, creators, and educators from both countries to take a closer look at our cultures, our planet, our relationship with digital technology and the shape of the future that awaits all those engaged in cultural production.

These are exciting times in both Ukraine and the UK. The Ukrainian arts and creative sectors are undergoing vibrant transformation and the UK continues to set the pace globally in cultural innovation. These, combined with a newly dynamic political relationship between the two nations sets the stage for unprecedented opportunity for cultural exchange and creative partnership.

Certainly, UK/Ukraine Season of Culture 2022 is set to kick off at a difficult moment in history: cultural-political processes point to significant social change on the horizon and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made things any easier. But UK/Ukraine Season of Culture 2022 is energized by the challenge, with a theme that signals our willingness to meet it head on  Future Reimagined. We see the event as a jumping off point to take on the major personal and societal challenges and opportunities that link our two nations. With our audience along for the ride we’re set to imagine our creative, shared and very human future.

UK/Ukraine Season of Culture 2022 plans to ask difficult questions: what effects, good and bad, do digital technologies have on the arts? Is digital innovation the “saviour” of culture or just another overhyped panacea? Is there any fair, inclusive way to balance active engagement in our local communities that doesn’t ignore global expertise? What role must arts and culture play in responding to the ongoing climate crisis? How will artists and cultural players adapt to the uncertain environment that more and more defines their creative space? 

UK/Ukraine Season of Culture 2022 does not intend to answer these questions for all time. But it will ask them, again and again. It’s a chance to explore and engage creatively with an audience ready to join in the exploration. To put in the work to understand one another better and emerge as two nations better prepared to face the future before us — imagined and reimagined.

How Will the Season Be Delivered?

Our matchmaking sessions and grant opportunity programme are open to both UK and Ukrainian artists and organisations, enabling a valuable exchange of experience and co-creation toward something bold, fresh, and truly inspiring. 

We see UK/Ukraine Season of Culture 2022 as an opportunity to showcase the UK in Ukraine and Ukraine in the UK — bridging the geographical distance between our nations with the best in music, theatre, cinema, publishing, fashion, the visual arts and the full range of creative sectors. Audiences will be able take it all in via innovative offline, online, and blended formats — briefly, applying the new norm of our day-to-day interactions.

Installation fragment at SWAP:UK/UA residency exhibition at YermilovCentre, Kharkiv 2019 © Kyung Hwa Shon. He Needs My Eye Looking At Him. He Needs Me To Prove He’s Alive