How We Stay Together

An art project aimed to create a space of trust, safety, and mutual support, where every person feels free and comfortable to express themselves.

11-30 October 2022
1 Event
Jam Factory Art Center Mekhanichna St./ 5, Lviv


We invited families with children aged 10-13 to joint art practices designed to restore warm family communication disrupted by the war. We have created a safe and comfortable space where adults and children could be together, discuss worries, and emotions, and learn more about each other through play and artistic forms.

Our classes combined theatrical and art practices. We started each meeting with a check-in and collective active training by Nina Khyzhna to set up and launch teamwork and feel the state of each participant. Then, trainings were flowing into theatrical exercises: creating individual, paired, and group sketches, presenting one’s family story, and turning everyday stories into theatrical flexible scenes. Participants worked here as a team, got to know each other, and interacted through theatrical practices. Day-to-day activities focused on outlining their state first, manifesting themselves, and then paying attention to the other, their inner world. The proposed exercises did not deal with war, but its shadow marked all areas of our lives; therefore, the context of war constantly appeared in the stories by adults and children.

Art classes took place mostly after theater classes and covered various techniques. During the first session, participants created a picture of a river or another body of water on a fabric poncho. Linocut was the main art practice to the group devoted most of its time to. Such a class, which involved a focus on individual work and gave satisfying tactile sensations, aptly complemented the moving and conversational theater classes and provided the participants with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with an artistic technique unusual for them. Throughout the project, the participants worked on a shared linocut where they visualized a collectively written poem:

Кожного люблю
Це місце вже як дім
Стою перед тобою
Торкаюся душі
– Можеш любити?
– Роз’єднує час і відстань

– Зіприся на плече
З тим, кого любиш –
В безпеці

[I love everyone
This place is like a home
I am here in front of you
Enraged and
I touch the soul
!”Can you love?
!”Breaks apart time and distance
!”Lean over shoulder

With the one you love-
Staying safe


Participants went through many communication-focused activities during classes. Unexpected discoveries between children and parents became the most valuable moments. As one of the participants noted at the last class, “I discovered a lot of new things about my own son.” The situations were special indeed, since the children talked about their parents, for example, filming their video portraits, and it was clear how attentive they are to the feelings of their relatives, how they note what is important and valuable for them, what traits of character and behavior they highlight. The group created a number of linocuts during the project, a jointly written poem, artistically designed texts about their own family, a collection of colored ponchos, and short videos, where parents and children present each other, self-made postcard books. We collected all the works created in an exhibition during the last days of classes.


The war destroyed our normal life and ties, so every day we are trying to realize new measures of (in)security while meeting different environments. A positive environment reveals our bright sides giving us the strength to move on. Even in the darkest times, we are able to build such environments in places we are compelled to stay – under new conditions and in novel places, among people and processes we don’t know. We also need support and mutual understanding from close people, especially relatives and especially during war. The accelerated global pace as it is has become even more rigorous over the past four months. The number of vital things we do now is both inspiring and incredibly exhausting. Due to constant fatigue, we communicate less with close people, who also go through the effort of resisting daily concerns, and communication becomes more formal with a feeling of increasing distance.

This art project allows for recovering or improving warm mutual contact among family members experiencing communication crises. The war deprived us of free time and filled in the space of thoughts and emotions, causing constant tension. In their struggle for life, volunteer work, relocations, and search for work and resources, many families face a lack of communication between parents/guardians and children. Through theatre and visual art practices, and art therapy, with the participation of a psychologist, the participants will have the opportunity to engage with their family, talk about their feelings and experiences, and support each other.


Iryna Harets

Iryna Harets is a Ukrainian playwright, curator, author of educational and theatrical projects. In her work she is interested in social theater, psychology, contemporary drama and literature.

Iryna has experience in working with different groups of people to resolve conflicts and improve communication. Iryna’s latest project is the documentary theater “The Role of Women in War”, which became an emotional and psychological support for displaced women. By the means of art, Iryna works with real stories and facts to solve social problems.


Nina Khyzhna

Nina is a director, performer, teacher and choreographer. She worked in Ukrainian (Kyiv, Kharkiv) and European theaters (Poland, Slovakia, Austria). Today she collaborates with independent theaters “Theatre of Beautiful Flowers”, “Theatre Nafta”, “Varta”.

Nina works in the field of physical theater, performance and documentary. She is also leading a laboratory for performance, theater and body-oriented practices. In her work, Nina uses art to create a safe space for dialogue and explore the themes of equality, tolerance and safety.

Yuriy Kruchak & Yulia Kostereva

Artists, in addition to artistic and curatorial practices, are the founders of the Open Place platform. The mission of this initiative is “to create connections between the artistic process and different layers of society.” Their work is based on interaction, co-creation and intersection of artistic, social and political processes.

In their many projects and workshops, artists often engage communities to explore their problems and find solutions.

Rostуslav Kuzyk

Poet, performer. Co-founder and participant of the poetic and visual project “Elements”, as well as the literary group “Gran”. In the project, Rostyslav held several workshops for the group to create a joint poem.


“MagiC Carpets” is an international art platform created in 2017 that gives evolving artists and curators an opportunity to start their own “magical trip” by collecting local stories all around Europe and telling them in other countries through their art.

Jam Factory Art Center became a member of “MagiC Carpets” in January 2020.

For further information, visit this page.

The project “MagiC Carpets” is co-financed by the EU Program “Creative Europe”.


Yuliia Kostereva
Yuliia Kostereva
Yurii Kruchak
Yurii Kruchak
Iryna Harets
Iryna Harets
Nina Khyzhna
Nina Khyzhna
Rostуslav Kuzyk
Rostуslav Kuzyk

Project curators

Bozhena Pelenska
Bozhena Pelenska
Anna Gaidai
Anna Gaidai
Liuba Ilnytska
Liuba Ilnytska

Project Manager

Sofiia Korotkevych
Sofiia Korotkevych

Communications Manager

Mariia Shvets
Mariia Shvets

Supported by:

MagiC Carpets
MagiC Carpets
Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union
Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

Related Projects