At the time of the opening of FORMAT23 the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have raged for 385 days. The impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has undoubtedly made a global impact. Following hot on the heels of the largest pandemic in living memory, the impact of such violence and destruction upon a European country may take years to be fully realised.
This project examines the personal impact on some of the people who fled their homeland for the United Kingdom. Many Ukrainians will have faced the prospect of their sponsorships coming to an end after six months. They will have to find new accommodation, learn the English language, find work, schools for children, care for family members, deal with the trials of English of bureaucracy and get to know a new culture. I have even met Ukrainians who returned home despite the dangers that this posed to meet with loved ones who they have not seen for almost a year. And they miss their homeland with such an acute sense of loss. It is these stories that are often overlooked in the media coverage of the conflict.
This project was initiated with the aim to allow Ukrainian displaced people to tell their story. I would accompany the story with a photograph I made of them, with them, and for them. The guidance was that they could write whatever they wanted. It was their choice. You will read statements that refer to experiences that we never thought we would see the like of again in the West. Whilst we should never overlook the many conflicts that rage in other parts of the world, it is this one that brings war so close to our own doorstep.
The project has been made with the kind support and guidance of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain.