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Research at St Andrews

Darya Tsymbalyuk


Research overview

My research focuses on human-plant relations in oral histories of displacement from Donbas, Ukraine. My thesis engages with theorical frameworks of cultural memory, critical plant studies, migration studies, ecocriticism and Slavic studies. Focusing on the narratives from Donbas, it explores ways in which cultural memory studies can be challenged by the Anthropocene imaginary, as well as made aware of its own limitations (such as anthropocentrism), and how some of the key concepts of cultural memory can be applied to understand phenomena and relations beyond the human. It also offers an approach of studying displacement as a multispecies event. In addition to oral history and literary analysis, I use critical-creative methods such as drawing as part of my research. 

My research is funded by the School of Modern Languages and the Douglas and Gordon Bonnyman Scholarship.

I am a co-author (with Victor Zasypkin and Julia Philipieva) of an art project Donbas Odyssey and together with a team I am working on an animation film Displaced Garden, which explores stories of displacement of plants and humans from Donbas, Ukraine.

In 2019 I co-coordinated (together with Dmytro Chepurnyi) Donbas Studies Summer School: The Plant Gave Us Everything, a part of Dr Victoria Donovan's GCRF funded project De-industrialization and Conflict in Donbas: Capacity building in Ukraine to make Donbas (mono)towns inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Since 2018 I have been a graduate assistant of the Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and East European Studies (CRSCEES). 

In 2019 my work with oral histories of displacement through research and Donbas Odyssey was chosen by the University of St Andrews as a winner of the Public Engagement Newcomer Award and a Highly Commended for the Public Engagement Innovation Award. 

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