UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Stories Half Shared

28 May 2024, 11:00 am–12:00 pm

A photo of 3 women of different generations

Memory, Postmemory, and Narrative Biography Construction in the Postwar Ukrainian-British Diaspora, an Overview. A SSEES Research Student seminar with Laura Osadciw

This event is free.

Event Information

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Masaryk room
UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton street

Violent, and often distressing, the experiences of the two million or so Ukrainians who were displaced as a result of the Second World War did not always lend themselves to fireside stories. In many cases they became half-shared anecdotes, only hinting at the experiences that had gone before, fragments of larger pictures which removed more difficult, troubling, or traumatic elements. For some, these barriers were more easily broken down, with stories shared at social gatherings, around the dinner table, and with pride and expression in the past, in Ukraine, and in the ties to one's homeland that continued to tug. For others these experiences and identities were entirely invisible, stories of silence which left in their wake a new set of questions, interpretations, and uncomfortable reserve.

In this presentation I will put forward the broad overview of my research into this postwar group, exploring the ways in which this first generation of Ukrainians chose to share their stories, and the impact of these initial narrative decisions on the later generations of both their families, and the Ukrainian diaspora as a whole.

Considering memory, postmemory, and narrative co-creation, I will question the role of storytelling in history, and how this generation of Ukrainians who settled in Britain after the Second World War offers valuable insight into the role of narration in identity construction and reconstruction, and the experiences of later generations as they grapple with their own history.


Laura is an MPhil Candidate at The School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL. Her research explores the Postwar Ukrainian British Diaspora and the intergenerational impact of their storytelling, silence, and cultural engagement. More broadly, she is interested in the role of memory and storytelling in history, and the place of postmemory here. Before this, she completed an internship with the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and has worked with several museums in curation and display creation. She received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from King’s College London.

Image credit: Private collection