2023 Annual Bohdan Medwidsky Memorial Lecture

Kule Folklore Centre in partnership with Alberta Society for the Advancement of Ukrainian Studies hosted the 2023 Annual Bohdan Medwidsky Memorial Lecture on April 14, 2023

15 March 2023


Canadian Ukrainian Ethnicity on the Move

Presented by Dr. Andriy Nahachewsky - Director Emeritus of the Kule Folklore Centre

April 14, 2023 | 3pm MDT
BUS 3-05, School of Business, University of Alberta

Ethnic identity – often expressed with the metaphor "roots" – is attractive for many because it conveys an impression of permanence and stability in a too-rapidly changing world. Ukrainian Canadians have often been described as an unusually visible and "successful" ethnic group over the last 130 years. However, drawing on my recent ethnochoreological research, I illustrate how Ukrainian Canadian ethnic expression does not necessarily rely on stability to flourish, but rather has been shifting in multiple important ways. Indeed, perhaps counter-intuitively, changes in content, symbolism, and intensity have been powerful facilitators of the continuing relevance and vitality of the Canadian Ukrainian community. The current "6th wave" of Ukrainians arriving in Canada since the current Russian invasion and war will test this claim as never before.

Dr. Andriy Nahachewsky was Bohdan Medwidsky's first PhD student. He is Huculak Chair Emeritus at the University of Alberta, having served for 15 years as Director of the Kule Folklore Centre. He was also the founding Curator of the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives, a large multimedia repository. His research interests and publications deal with Ukrainian traditions in the twentieth century, material culture, the Ukrainian Canadian experience, immigration stories, ethnic dance, ethnographic methodology, and graffiti. Active for decades in Ukrainian dance as a performer, choreographer, adjudicator, and historian, his insider/outsider viewpoint is also strongly enriched by international perspectives in ethnochoreology. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Ukrainian communities in eleven countries. He now lives in Brussels, where he continues observing Ukrainian Canadian culture, with a view from a distance.

Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky (1936-2021) was the founder of the Ukrainian Folklore Program, Kule Folklore Centre (KuFC), and the Ukrainian Folklore Archives at the University of Alberta. Without his foresight, perseverance, and wisdom, KuFC and many other Ukrainian Canadian organizations would not be where they are today.

Photo credit: Yevshan Ukrainian Folk Dance Ensemble 15th Anniversary Programme, Saskatoon, 1974

View the poster in PDF here


See the full presentation on our Youtube channel below: