Kule Folklore Centre

Fall 2021

Fall is upon us and staff and students from the Kule Folklore Centre reflect on the past spring and summer.  In the meantime, despite continuing COVID-19 restrictions, we carry on with wonderful projects pivoting between online and in-person workshops, events and teaching.

We are pleased to welcome two new graduate students and two interns to our Centre. And we are saying goodbye to a graduating MA student and a valued research assistant.

We have seen many changes to the University structure in the past few months and are adjusting to being part of the new order as a Centre in the faculty of Arts and the newly formed College of Social Sciences and Humanities.  We are excited to share with you what we have been doing over the past few months.

Jelena Pogosjan
Director, KuFC

Spring & Summer Updates

Gushul Research Project, Coleman, Alberta

In June, 2021 a Kule Folklore Centre research team spent an unforgettable week in beautiful southern Alberta working at the Crowsnest Museum in the town of Coleman.  

The museum houses a unique collection of photographs and letters from the Thomas and Lena Gushul photographic studio. The group worked in the museum's archives and went through hundreds of photographs and letters to collect materials for our future exhibit. The team also enjoyed the almost two-hour walk from Coleman to Blairmore on a trail Lena Gushul used to walk nearly every day.

Our exhibit will showcase the Gushul’s life stories, their photography, their achievements and their challenges. We cannot wait to share our findings with our colleagues and the community.

Jelena Pogosjan, Lynnien Pawluk, Maryna Chernyavska and Maria Mayerchyk outside of the Gushul Artist Residence, Blairmore, Alberta – the photo studio of Thomas and Lena Gushul

Jelena Pogosjan, Maryna Chernyavska and Maria Mayerchyk go through files at the Crowsnest Museum, Coleman, Alberta

Trapped in the Archives of Repression: Personal Letters in ex-KGB Archives: Summer Institute 2021

A two week summer institute for students entitled, “Trapped in Archives of Repression: Personal Letters in the Soviet Security Services Archives,” was organized by the Kule Folklore Centre in collaboration with the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta from June 7-18, 2021.   

Three Zoom presentations were open to the public and included talks by Andriy Kohut (SBU): "State Branch Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine", Jars Balan (CIUS): Studying Ukrainian Communities in Canada: Where to Start?”, and Serge Cipko (CIUS): “Letters from Ukraine to Canada: Some Examples and Observations.” 

The students found the institute both
challenging and informative. One of the students wrote in their report: “The information that was collected is extremely important, especially from a research and educational perspective, as it provides a wealth of insight into the internal operations of the Soviet secret police, and in general, a vivid and unparalleled perspective of wickedly callous bureaucratic operations that directly impact real, living people. The information contained is not only relevant for the study of the Soviet Union, but offers a wealth of insight into a type of systemized “evil” that may be reflected upon any apparatus of societal control globally.”

Letters from the Security Service of Ukraine Archives

Chapters & Verses is now available in Ukrainian

Chapters & Verses, a documentary that tells the story of the remarkable life of Wasyl Kuryliw, is now available with Ukrainian subtitles. The film was originally released in English in 2017. Directed by Wasyl’s daughter, Oksana Kuryliw, and produced by her and her husband John Leeson, the film is a beautiful story of a family, community, and larger-than-life personality who touched many lives.

Wasyl and Anna Kuryliw Endowment at the Kule Folklore Centre has supported dozens of students since its establishment in 1989. We are grateful and honoured to be part of this stage of the project by providing Ukrainian translation for the subtitles. 

Both English and English with Ukrainian subtitles versions are available on the film’s website: This new version will make the film and the remarkable story of Action Bill more accessible to people in Ukraine.

Did you know that the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives houses the Kuryliw family collection? To see personal documents, photographs, letters from Wasyl to his future wife Anna, Ivan Franko poems handwritten by Wasyl – follow the link:

Documentary poster for Chapters and Verses: Action Bill's Walk through Life
Community Based Research-Creation Project
Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn and Eric Fincham working with 5000 printing blocks

During the past year, the Kule Folklore Centre has supported a community based research-creation project initiated by graduate student and well-known Ukrainian Canadian artist Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn. Having salvaged over 5000 printing blocks from the Ukrainian Voice newspaper offices when they closed their doors in 2018, Larisa has embarked on a project that will remediate the blocks as a unique, interactive mosaic. This past summer marked the first phase of the project. Larisa worked together with archivist Eric Fincham and several volunteers to scan and catalog each block with related metadata for archival purposes. With additional support from the Shevchenko Foundation Veterans Fund and SUS Foundation, Larisa is now ready to collaborate with fellow UAlberta alumna and mosaic artist Theodora Harasymiw to produce a mosaic/visual legacy with the blocks that will honour and tell the story of the Ukrainian press in Canada. 

Our Team

Natalia Khanenko-Friesen, Huculak Chair

Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen wears two hats at the University of Alberta. She serves as a Director of Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, and when she is not performing these duties, she teaches courses in folklore, Ukrainian Canadian culture and works on her projects as a Huculak Chair in Ukrainian Culture and Ethnography.

In her capacity as a Huculak chair, in May-June 2021, Dr. Khanenko-Friesen redeveloped and offered the online course SLAV 399 Early Ukrainian Canadian Culture (Spring 2021). The course was attended by students from the U of Alberta and beyond, including a student from the Russian Federation. Dr. Khanenko-Friesen developed the course to include a Community Service Learning component (CSL). Students enrolled in this course learned about the evolvement of the Ukrainian Canadian community in the early 20th century and the role the Ukrainian traditional culture played in this process. In addition, students collaborated with the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine (IEU) and wrote their final course papers on topics of their choice as submissions to the IEU. 

In June, Dr. Khanenko-Friesen engaged with young anthropologists in Ukraine to discuss the formation of a professional network of anthropologists and ethnographers in Ukraine, titled <Антропологія UA>. The group has been meeting regularly to plan activities for 2021-2022 academic year. 

The first round table “The Presence of Absence: On Anthropology in Ukraine,” was hosted on June 15, 2021. Webinar participants commented that this was a much-needed event, as it had offered an opportunity for Ukrainian cultural anthropologists, ethnographers and folklore specialists to discuss the current state of affairs within the emerging anthropological research in Ukraine. Dr. Khanenko-Friesen collaborated on this event with Drs. Oksana Kis, Maryna Hrymych and with Nataliya Bezborodova, a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Alberta.

In August 2021, Dr. Khanenko-Friesen coordinated the work of the panel “Transatlantic Letter Writing in Diaspora-Homeland contexts: Meanings and Interpretations,” hosted at ICCEES 10th World Congress. This panel was organized by Dr. Khanenko-Friesen for ICCEES Congress 2020 but due to the Pandemic, the event was moved to the summer of 2021. Drs. Jelena Pogosjan, Mattheas Kaltenbruenner and Natalia Khanenko-Friesen presented their work in the area of transatlantic personal letter writing.

Throughout the summer, Dr. Khanenko-Friesen has been working in partnership with Emine Ziyatdinova, London based photographer and sociologist, on their book Homecoming: Crimean Tatar stories on collective and post-collective farming in Soviet Ukraine. The co-authors are working on the collection of Crimean Tatar oral history interviews to be published in Ukraine in 2022. 

Maryna Chernyavska, Archivist

Maryna has been busy managing numerous projects at the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives and the Kule Folklore Centre. In addition to co-coordinating the Indigenous Ukrainian Relationship Building Initiative, leading the SUCH Network, and supervising archival and library projects, Maryna presented at several conferences in the spring and summer, among them “Going with the Flow: The life of the folklore archives in the pandemic” at the conference of the Folklore Studies Association of Canada, and “A (not so) radical idea of slow folklore archiving” at the congress of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore. 

Together with Nadia Zavorotna, Maryna was a compiler of Томас М. Приймак: Ілюстрований бібліографічний покажчик, published by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and CIUS Press, and contributed an article on the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives to the special issue of Народознавчі зошити [Ethnology Notebooks] dedicated to Roman Kis.

Maria Mayerchyk, Project Archivist

Maria spent part of her summer in Ukraine, supported by the Iwanciw Ukraine Travel Grant from CIUS, where a launch of new issues of the Feminist Critique journal was held. In particular, two special issues of the journal - “Breaking with Transition: Decolonial and Postcolonial Perspectives in Eastern Europe” and “Queer and Feminist Studies in Eastern Europe” - were presented at the venue of the Zboku initiative and Re-Sew cooperative in Kyiv on August 26, 2021. She had the privilege to serve as editor-in-chief of the journal.

As a guest editor, Maria has been working on the Narodoznavchi zoshyty [Ethnology Notebooks] special issue entitled “Studies of Integral Culture: Local, National, Global,” which is prepared in memory of Roman Kis, Ukrainian ethnologist, philosopher and linguist who passed away in December 2020. The journal is scheduled to be released this year.

On July 26, 2021, Maria presented a paper “Queer feminist artivism in Ukraine” at the Engaging struggles across the global South and East Online Workshop, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany.

Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn, Graduate Student

Larisa is in her final year of her PhD program in Media and Cultural Studies. Her primary focus is on the remediation of the 100 year old Uncle Shtif comics published by the Ukrainian Canadian cartoonist Jacob Maydanyk in 1930. The intent is to apply research creation as a method of contextualizing the content for a contemporary audience. 

In that same vein, Larisa has also embarked on an additional research project which will remediate the printing blocks from Ukrainian Voice newspaper to create a large interactive mosaic. Over the summer of 2021, funding by the Shevchenko Foundation Veteran's fund and the SUS Foundation enabled the first phase of cataloguing and organizing the blocks. The second phase of research creation will commence this fall. 

Olga Zaitseva-Herz, Graduate Student

Olga has been working on her dissertation and preparing her research for the next stage, studying the materials on Ukrainian Canadian music and preparing the methodological part of her study. Furthermore, she has collaborated with the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa to organize the digitization of the archive of Ukrainian Canadian songs collected in main Ukrainian settlements on Canadian prairies by Robert Klymasz in the 1960s. The process of digitization became possible with the generous support provided by CIUS.

Olga has started writing a musical theatre play based on the true stories of early Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. This piece will include song arrangements of the traditional melodies she collected in Canadian archives. For this play, she will use the songs in oral tradition brought by Ukrainian immigrants from the home country and the newer ones they composed in Canada.

Nataliya Bezborodova, Graduate Student

Nataliya enjoyed assisting Natalia Khanenko-Friesen in teaching SLAV 399: Early Ukrainian Canadian Culture. This class was online, and had weekly synchronous sessions with the course students. With the granted Open Studies option and online format, the course had a few participants from various fields and expertise in addition to the University of Alberta students, and one of them was an academically trained Ukrainian ethnographer who currently lives in Bashkortostan, Russia. Nataliya also assisted Dr. Khanenko-Friesen in her work on a letter writing project & Ukrainian Canadian diaspora project, and worked on theoretical material for her dissertation on the presence of religion in the public domain. 

Nataliya is located in Newfoundland, and walking, hiking and riding about many of the beautiful and breathtaking locations were an important part of her summer 2021.

We said goodbye to:

Ashley Halko-Addley

After four years with the Kule Folklore Centre, first as an MA student and Research Assistant, and then as Cultural Heritage Specialist, in May 2021, Ashley Halko-Addley moved to Prince Albert, SK to take a job with Saskatchewan Parks. In her position as Park Program Coordinator, she is responsible for planning, coordinating, and implementing educational, recreational, and interpretive programs and special events at provincial parks across the North Region of the province. Ashley is settling into her new life and enjoying being close to lakes, hiking trails, and her family again.
Katya Chomitzky

Katya received her Master of Arts degree with a specialization in Media and Cultural Studies in the department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies. She defended her thesis on the use of traditional Ukrainian embroidery in modern transnational culture. Katya sent special thanks to her co-supervisors, Dr. Micah True and Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen, and recognized the knowledge she attained working at the Kule Folklore Centre. Katya is currently pursuing a PhD in Folklore at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, USA.

We also bid goodbye to Sara Barnard, Young Canada Works Library Assistant; Tyler Chawner, SLIS Practicum Student; and Darya Chykunova, Young Canada Works Project Archivist.

Welcome to:

Dmytro Yesypenko, Graduate Student

Dmytro Yesypenko is doing his PhD research on the image of past epidemics in Ukrainian and Polish literatures and folklore in the Transnational and Comparative Literature program at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta. He is enthusiastically involved in the activities of the Kule Folklore Centre as a Research Assistant. In particular, Dmytro contributes to the project of publication of Thomas and Leena Gushuls' letters and works with the Mykhailo Bilas' archive.

Victoria Kostyniuk, Graduate Student

Victoria Kostyniuk completed a BA at the University of Alberta, majoring in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies with a focus in Slavic Studies, and minoring in Christian Theology and Ukrainian Language. She is now pursuing an MA in Transnational and Comparative Literature. Her thesis explores how Ukrainian church halls developed into and remain staple heritage spaces for Ukrainians in Canada. She is working as a Research Assistant at the Kule Folklore Centre.
Emily Villanueva, Archives Intern

Emily Villanueva is an Archives Intern at the Kule Folklore Centre and the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives. She is graduating from the University of Alberta with an MLIS and an MA in Digital Humanities, where her thesis research focused on identity and information practices in virtual weight loss communities. Prior to graduate school, she obtained a BA with Distinction in Anthropology from MacEwan University.

Brandon Karashowski, Library Intern

Brandon Karashowski is the new Library Intern for the Kule Folklore Centre and will mainly work with a new system to make library collections more accessible to our users. The rest of his time will be spent helping out with various duties and projects that require an extra hand.


Welcome Dmytro, Victoria, Emily, and Brandon!

Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives Updates

Ukrainian Diaspora Composers Collection

The Ukrainian Diaspora Composers collection consists of articles about Ukrainian diaspora composers researched, written, and translated within the Ukrainian Diaspora Research Project conducted by the Ukraine Millennium Foundation. The Composers of the Ukrainian Diaspora Research Project was initiated in 2001 when Pittsburgh musicologist Taras Filenko, PhD, approached Ukraine Millennium Foundation president Gordon (Bud) Conway, offering to research and author the project. 

Phase One, completed in 2021, contains articles on 21 composers of the Ukrainian diaspora. The collection can be accessed here:

The image is of Stefania Turkewich-Lukianovych who is featured in the collection.

UCAMA Collections Update

Maria Mayerchyk, Project Archivist, continues processing the UCAMA archival materials and putting them online. The following new collections have been published to date:

Oleh and Bozhena Iwanusiw collection; Michael S. Kucher collection; Dmytro Kupiak collection; George Kowalsky collection; Gregory Turko collection; Julian Bucmaniuk paintings of the Kazymyra family collectionJaroslaw Iwanusiw collection; Parasia and Wasyl Iwanec collection; Michael Luchkovich collection; Peter John Lazarowich collection; Mychailo Holynsky collection; UCAMA memorandums collection; Bill and Michelle Tracy Kalyna Country collection; Kost' Telychko collection; Peace River Country collection; John Yaremko and Mike Kotyk collection; Ivan Keywan collection; Shevchenko Scientific Society in Edmonton collection; Ukrainian National Hall collection.

Maria shares the following information about one of the processed collections she found impressive. The John Yaremko and Mike Kotyk collection consists of papers accumulated over the years by John Yaremko (born in 1892 in Bukovyna region) who owned a farm near Rycroft, Alberta in the Peace River district. The documents were preserved by his nephew Mike Kotyk (also Ukrainian pioneer) and Kotyk's daughter Rose Kotyk who donated the materials to UCAMA through Aleksandr Makar. Usually, materials of this kind rarely get into the possession of archives. The documents, mostly letters and tax payments, show Yaremko’s struggle with poverty, warm family relationships with his nephew, as well as support and betrayal of neighbours. By the 1930s the letters stop.
Rose Kotyk’s memoirs written in 2003 reveals the astonishing story of John Yaremko, who was hospitalized from his farm in the mid-1930s, and until his death in the nursing home in Barrhead, AB in 1987, had never seen his farm again. The whole story can be found here:
Top right-hand image is of John Yaremko. Bottom right-hand image is a tax receipt from John Yaremko.
French interviews from the Local Culture Project are now available in ERA A+V
The University of Alberta Archives houses French interviews conducted during the 2003-2005 Local Culture and Diversity on the Prairies Project. This summer, Luc Fagnan, the Archives Intern at the University of Alberta Archives, worked hard to add 50 recordings to the Kule Folklore Centre’s Local Culture Project collection that is accessible through the university’s media streaming repository ERA A+V. 

The Kule Folklore Centre is proud to have contributed to making these valuable materials publicly available online. Click here to check out French interviews of the Local Culture Project.
Image from the Thérèse Brousseau collection, BMUFA, Local Culture Project collection.
Indigenous Ukrainian Relationship Building Initiative

This academic year, the programming of the Indigenous Ukrainian Relationship Building Initiative of the Kule Folklore Centre and the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre is focused on land and land-based practices. We have planned a series of three events. The first event, on September 15, discussed what Indigenous land-based practices and relationships existed here before Ukrainian settlers immigrated to the prairies. Chelsea Vowel moderated the discussion of the distinguished presenters who included Dr. Elder Francis Whiskeyjack, Chief Greg Desjarlais, Dr. John-Paul Himka, and Matt Hiltermann. The recording of the event is available here.

The second event will take place again online on October 20. Lindy Ledohowski will facilitate a discussion between Myrna Kostash and Chelsea Vowel. Chelsea Vowel will speak about what social and legislative forces impacted Indigenous peoples and Ukrainian settlers within a prairie-specific context, and how these forces influenced land-based practices and relationships. How does this colonial history continue to influence relationships to land today?

Myrna Kostash will speak about what she learned from re-examining her grandparents’ lives in the course of writing her forthcoming book, Ghosts in a Photograph: A Memoir. Her forebears were part of the first wave of immigration from Galicia in the early 1900s and had varying experiences as settlers in Alberta. More than a century later, Kostash brings her own perspective as a writer and granddaughter. Register here

We have also launched the website for the initiative! To learn more about our past and future events, check out 

The beautiful logo seen above was created for the Indigenous Ukrainian Relationship Building Initiative by Sharon Rose Kootenay, artist of Metis and Ukrainian ancestry. Read about the process of the logo design and its meaning here: 

Register here
Folklore Lunches
Folk Songs of Ukraine poster

Previous Lunch

On September 24, 2021 the Kule Folklore Centre had its first Folklore Lunch of the season. The ZOOM presenter was Marichka Marczyk, an ethnomusicologist and singer with the Ukrainian Canadian musical groups Balaklava Blues and Lemon Bucket Orkestra. She has a degree in Ethnomusicology from the National Academy of Music in Ukraine.

Marichka spoke about her digital music archive project "Folk Songs of Ukraine" - an online encyclopedia of audio recordings collected by folklorists in Ukrainian villages.

The website can be reached at

Upcoming Lunch

On Friday, October 15, 2021 Iryna Voloshyna, a PhD student at the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington and a Fulbright fellow will deliver a Folklore Lunch ZOOM presentation entitled “Belief and Faith Healing in the Time of Covid-19 - Return of the Legend: Anatoly Kashpirovsky’s Treatment of COVID-19.” 

The tensions between western scientific and alternative medicine become more palpable during times of uncertainty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a period of confusion, evoking mistrust of conventional medicine which has been unable to fully protect people from the new disease. This has pushed some to seek help and comfort elsewhere. Iryna will discuss how people in post-Soviet countries and post-Soviet immigrant communities resurrected their faith and trust in the once forgotten Anatoly Kashpirovsky, a psychotherapist and charismatic leader legendary in the USSR in the 1980-90s.

Image of Iryna Voloshyna above

Register here
Sustainable Ukrainian Canadian Heritage (SUCH) Program Updates
Educational opportunities for community archives and archivists

The SUCH Program has partnered with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Archives Committee to offer a series of educational opportunities to community archivists and other caretakers of Ukrainian Canadian heritage collections. The September workshop on electronic records management was instructed by Olena Kit, the UCC Archives Committee member. The recording of the workshop is available here: 

In October, the Kule Folklore Centre is hosting a Digital Preservation workshop by the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Canadian Heritage Information Network.


This three-day workshop will outline best practices for preserving digital information, and will be useful to curators, collection managers, conservators, archivists and other personnel responsible for the preservation of digital assets, particularly in smaller institutions. More information:  

In November, Andrew Chernevych, the Archivist at the Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, a member of the UCC Archives Committee, and alumnus of the Ukrainian Folklore program, will deliver a workshop on managing a volunteer program in archives. Click here to register for the Archives Volunteer Program: Principles, Design, Workflow.

Register here


Providence Church Goods fonds

This past summer, a SUCH grant was awarded to the Ukrainian Cultural and Education Centre to process archival materials donated to Oseredok by Jacob Maydanyk – the owner of the Providence Church Goods store, and a renowned artist. Olesia Sloboda, Curator of Collections at Oseredok, processed the materials. The finding aid that she created is now available on SUCH-Network: 

If your organization would like to apply for a SUCH grant to process an archival collection housed at your organization, find out more about the application process and requirements here:

Promin' digitization project

Another project recently supported by the SUCH Program is the digitization of the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada's (UWAC) magazine Promin. This collaboration became possible with support from Larisa Sembaliuk-Cheladyn. Eric Fincham has digitized all issues of Promin using the large overhead archival scanner located in the Kule Folklore Centre. He is currently generating metadata for every issue of the magazine from the year 1960 until the present year. The plans are to make the issues searchable through the use of optical character recognition software. It is hoped that by the end of this project, all issues of Promin from 1960 until present will be both available and searchable online in PDF format.

In addition to the Peter Arabchuk Endowment Fund, the purchase of the scanner was supported by the Ukrainian Pioneers Association of Alberta.


Scanner with Promin cover

Friends of the Ukrainian Folklore Society AGM

This is the official note that the Friends of the Ukrainian Folklore Centre's Annual General Meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on October 27th, 2021. The virtual business meeting will include the AGMs for 2019 and 2020. Click here to RSVP.
RSVP here


Hands on History Festival

On September 11, 2021 in honour of the 130th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada, the Basilian Fathers Museum of Mundare, Alberta held the “Hands on History Festival.”  Staff and Students of the Kule Folklore Centre set up two of their exhibits – “Journey to Canada” and “Making a Home” for the event.

L-R: Dmytro Yesypenko, Olga Plakhotnik, Maria Mayerchyk, Lynnien Pawluk, Maryna Chernyavska, Eric Fincham at the Hands on History Festival

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Вовка боятися, в ліс не ходити
If you're scared of the wolf, you'll never go into the forest

-In memory of Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky
Listen to Dr. Nahachewsky explain this proverb
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Kule Folklore Centre

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