CultuROM, a New Roma Arts Project #RenaissanceSupports

The Roma Program of the International Renaissance Foundation launched the CultuROM Educational and Art Project with the purpose to educate the audience about the Roma art, making sure the information presented is accessible and interesting.

The project participants are researchers, scientists, cultural managers and project curators, of both Ukrainian and Roma origin, coming from a wide range of backgrounds: literature, visual arts, theater, cinema, and music. It is expected that as a result of the project implementation, several intellectual products will be created, including analytical materials, articles and webinars. The project consultant is Natalia Zinevych, historian, senior research fellow at the Institute of Ukrainian Archaeography and Source Studies named after M.S. Hrushevsky in the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Ms. Zinevych took a deep interest in the Roma studies and researched the Roma culture for many years.

“The CultuROM project is a unique initiative in the Ukrainian cultural and intellectual space. The project aims to present the aesthetic richness of Roma artistic practices, and to launch an important discussion about the Roma art and the role it played in shaping the cultural reality of Ukraine,” said Sergiy Ponomaryov, Roma Program Director of International Renaissance Foundation.

As for the name of the project, “CultuROM” is an allusion to the Latin Cultura, which incorporates a wide range of meanings and has an interesting etymology. Literally, the meanings of the Latin termcultura are conveyed in the modern Ukrainian language by the words “cultivate”, “educate”, “create”, “form”, “develop”, and “respect”. “All those verbs combined, in fact, reveal quite well the essence of the act of culture. In Latin, such a combined action conveyed an absolutely positive meaning, whereas we, through this act of culture, are trying to promote unity, mutual respect and tolerance in our society,” said Radoslava Kabachiy, CultuROM project manager, manager of the International Renaissance Foundation’s Cultural Initiatives.

The “Dream Team of the project” are researchers who have volunteered to participate in the project and have been working in research groups for several months:

Kateryna Gladka, graduated from Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko and the Ukrainian Catholic University majoring in Journalism. Kateryna is a co-author of the following books: “Heavenly Hundred” and “Dobrobats” (Dobrobats are voluntary military units) (published by Folio). Katerina is a winner of the essay competition about Kyiv “How Not to Love You…”. Ms. Gladka is a prize winner in the Open Eurasia Literary Festival, 2nd award in the nomination “Essays”.

Anastasia Yevdokymova, post-graduate student of the Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, curator of the educational program “Gymnasium” of the contemporary art festivals GOGOLFEST, head of the reading promotion department of the Ukrainian Book Institute, expert of the “Osvitoria” non-governmental association, teacher of the Ukrainian literature in the project “All-Ukrainian School Online”, and critic of literature and media.

Dmytro Zozulya, studying for a master’s degree at the Institute of Philology of the Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko, majoring in “Literature and Arts Studies and Western European Language”. Dmytro is a winner of the International Ukrainian-German Prize named after Oles Honchar in the nomination “Short Story” (2019).

Janusz Panchenko, ethnographer, specialist in culture and language of Roma-Servians and Wallachians, head of the NGO “Society of Gypsies of the Southern Region “Romano Than”, social educator, voice actor, poet, author of a textbook for Roma children.

Eduard Pap, grew up in the famous Pap family of Roma musicians. Studied at Uzhgorod State Musical School named after D.E.Zadora and at Uzhhorod Department of Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts majoring in Musical Art. Mr. Pap is a group leader in the groups “Playing Musical Instruments – Fundamentals” and “Piano” at the Transcarpathian Regional Center for Children and Youth Creativity “PADIYUN”.

Eva Raiska (Marianna Maksymova), graduated from the Department of French Language and Literature of Drohobych State Pedagogical University. Writer, reporter, cultural manager, coordinator of the festival “Month of Literary Readings ” in Lviv. Finalist of the competition “Crimean Figs” -2018. One of the authors of the anthology “Crimean Figs / Qirim Inciri”.

Petro Rusanenko, graduated from Kyiv National University of Theater, Film and Television named after Karpenko-Kary with a diploma of “Theater and Cinema Actor”. Petro currently studies at the Central European University and works as an actor (Theaters “In Pechersk” and “Actor”). Petro is a curator and manager of art projects, a theater and film producer.

Natalie Tomenko, a student of the Central European University in Vienna in the field of Cultural Heritage, co-founder and creative director of the Roma Youth Organization “ARKA”.

Anastasia Kholyavka, art critic, graduated from the Lviv National Academy of Arts. Anastasia researched the design of the subject-spatial environment of psychiatric institutions.

Viktor Chovka, journalist, head of the NGO “Dignity”. Victor worked as a journalist and host of national minority programs, in particular, Romano Givipen program, on the state TV channel UA: ZAKARPATTYA. In 2019 he created his own television project “Romano Love” (“Roma Word”) on TV 21 Ungvar.

“Ultimately, the CultuROM project is about the intellectual journey that promises to be fascinating, and I sincerely invite everyone to join us: follow the project events and help us with your own critical reflections and comments,” – said Sergiy Ponomaryov. You can respond to this call by subscribing to the project’s Facebook page ( and be the first tofind out the most exciting information.

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