Workshop #1.

Ivano-Frankivsk Takes Off

Lead by:

Anna Balazs (Budapest, Manchester)


August 12-20 / 9 days


Ivano-Frankivsk International Airport

A number of participants:


What is the workshop about?

In the time of decommunization and naton-wide social transformation, my workshop invites the citizens of Ivano-Frankivsk to look at a piece of the Soviet urban heritage with new eyes. Exploring the history and the future potential of the local airport, we ask how elements of the Soviet past are reinvented among the radically different conditions of the present.


Ivano-Frankivsk International Airport is one of the Ukrainian regional airports built in the Soviet times with the aim to support the peculiar dynamics of movement within the Soviet republics. Ivano-Frankivsk has a specific history of mobility: as the centre of oil and gas production, it was a strategic city closed to foreigners, but open to professionals from all around the Soviet Union who came here for a training in oil extraction.


Today the specific educational role of the city is still in effect, constituting Ivano-Frankivsk as a destination for international exchange students. Besides incoming movement, the city is also a place of outward migration: as more and more people leave to work in Western Europe, new patterns of family relationships and economic remittances rewrite previous social structures in the place.


The introduction of visa free regime to the countries of the European Union in the summer of 2017 presents a new stage in the European integration of Ukraine and the mobility of Ukrainian citizens. The airport is a symbolic place to talk about how Ivano-Frankivsk enters the global arena, and what is that specific quality the city has to offer to the outside world. Instead of asking the usual question of what can we learn from Europe, the workshop wants to show a segment of the unique spirit of Ivano-Frankivsk by rediscovering a forgotten element of the urban heritage together with the local residents.

An action plan:

Every day we will start with a Research Breakfast in one of cafés in the city centre. We need to find out what can we do at the airport itself, but for team breakfasts the city would be more friendly location that everyone can easily reach. We'll discuss our findings from the previous day, and how to go further. Brainstorming and methodological problems (how to analyse interviews, how to create a visual narrative etc.). Then everyone goes to do their job for the day, equipped with knowledge and strategy.

Day 1

Getting to know each other

Site visit to the airport

Creating a plan together

History Working Group: interviews with people connected to the airport in any way (former workers, tourism officials, pilots), maybe library research

Future Working Group: interviews with people using the airport

Visual Working Group: photographic material and publication design

Scheduling the tasks


Day 2-4

Organizing and scheduling interviews

Collecting interviews

Library research

Transcribing them in Ukrainian and English

Putting together the story of the airport: finding main themes and keywords

Day 5-7

Working on the publication: themes, stories, quotes, visual material, design

Preparation of the guided tour

Day 8-10

Guided tours

Final performance

Distributing the publication


The workshop explores the history of Ivano-Frankivsk Airport with the participation of local students and shares the knowledge with the citizens of Ivano-Frankivsk in the form of guided tours and a printed publication. Outcomes:

  • Producing new knowledge about a specific urban locality

  • Drawing attention to a unique urban object of Ivano-Frankivsk

  • Generating new dialogue in the local community about the Soviet urban heritage, the future of the city and urban space in general

  • By involving local students in the workshop, we are showing new examples of thinking about the city, and new theoretical and methodological approaches of urban activism. Sharing our experience with the young generation will hopefully inspire personal trajectories and local urban development in unexpected and creative ways.

We'll be happy to see:

15 young enthusiastic people with free time from the field of Humanities, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Media, Tourism, Culture, Design, Architecture, Geography, Painting – or anyone who is interested in urban space and local history of Ivano-Frankivsk.

We especially welcome graphic designers to our team.
The main tasks – research and graphic design, without which this project is impossible.
It is necessary to have a good understanding of English, 4 hours of free time on weekdays and the whole day on weekends.
We will work on a shared location, prepare a print edition, develop a tour, take interviews and do other interesting things.

The amount of happiness per day:

4 hours per day


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