How did the war affect the cultural leisure of young Ukrainians?
In the course of 2022, the cultural leisure of Ukrainians has undergone drastic changes. For a significant part of the population of Ukraine, cultural services have become unavailable: the number of events has decreased, there have been fewer active cultural figures and institutions. Despite the challenges and difficulties of the war, both the sphere of culture and Ukrainian society mostly adapted and resumed their activities. Nowadays, an important task is to study the changes in the cultural practices of Ukrainians during the war. The focus of our research in this direction is one of the most active groups of the population of Ukraine – youth (age group from 18 to 35 years old from different regions of Ukraine). It is the youth who mostly consume various cultural products and adapt to new conditions faster. Therefore, one of the important tasks today is to involve young people in cultural life and in the process of restoring Ukrainian culture and bringing new meanings to it. At the end of December 2022 – the beginning of January 2023, we at the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, together with the international project U-Report, investigated how the war affected the cultural leisure of young Ukrainians, who has an actual demand for cultural services, and what level of readiness to participate in cultural events and, in general, the process of post-war reconstruction of Ukrainian culture. So what are the conclusions? The free time of Ukrainian youth before the war was mostly passive. Students for whom self-development was more important stand out. It is worth noting that various forms of cultural leisure were not the main forms of youth recreation. Currently, the most popular among young people is visiting cinemas, bookstores and museums, exhibitions, and the least – libraries. In general, more than 70% of young people visit cultural institutions at least once a year or more often, mostly women. In general, a higher level of visits to cultural institutions is observed in large cities, where the offer of services is higher. Common obstacles to attending cultural events for young Ukrainians are general fatigue, lack of funds and time. At the same time, the absence of nearby cultural institutions and the lack of interesting cultural events are also added for the residents of rural areas. Read also: Ancient museum, “kamasutra” and a showcase with balloons: an exhibition of modern art has opened in Khanenki Most often among the types of cultural leisure, young people today choose watching movies, visiting festivals and theaters. At the same time, among women, the level of interest in various cultural events is higher compared to men. In general, young people are characterized by a low interest in official cultural events, in particular in commemoration of historical events and figures, as well as sports events. The Internet and social networks are the most common and effective channel for disseminating information for today’s youth. In general, less than half of young people are satisfied with cultural leisure in their locality. The types of cultural events that young people are currently satisfied with include movies in cinemas, film clubs, and theater performances. Read also: Ukrainian cinema in 2022: without Russia, with victories and open questions For the purpose of determining the most popular cultural services among young people, a cultural needs satisfaction matrix was formed, where a zone of cultural needs deficit was established, i.e. those that are the most desirable, but unsatisfied for young people . It includes festivals, cultural and historical excursions, comedy concerts, evenings, art exhibitions, public lectures. In 2022, more than 70% of the surveyed youth began to attend less cultural events and institutions. At the same time, interest in self-education and various social and charitable projects has increased among young Ukrainians. It is likely that cultural leisure and social activism became important factors of adaptation to the conditions of war. The war did not significantly affect youth demand for online cultural products. The only group that showed more interest in online cultural events is the rural population. Obviously, interest in online events is due to low accessibility to various cultural events among this group. More than 60% of respondents claim that Ukrainian culture is currently in a good or satisfactory state. And more than 90% of Ukrainian youth are confident in the restoration of Ukrainian culture. The majority of young people believe that most cultural institutions need state support, in particular, libraries, archives, museums and theaters. Read also: Ukrainian theater abroad: performances and projects that create an impression of Ukraine Currently, more than 20% of young Ukrainians participate in volunteer projects in the field of culture. However, almost 45% of them do not participate in such events, but have a desire to join. That is, the youth have a request to participate in volunteer cultural projects and, accordingly, it is the youth that can be involved in various activities related to the reconstruction and development of Ukrainian culture. Consequently, the leisure time of Ukrainian youth has undergone significant changes. Despite the decline in attendance at cultural events as a result of the war, the results of the survey show that the demand for cultural leisure among young people is quite high and it helps to adapt to the hardships of the war. However, for the Ukrainian sphere of culture and creative industries to work successfully, it is necessary to overcome many challenges and solve a number of urgent tasks. For example, it is important to balance access to cultural services for consumers in different regions and settlements of Ukraine. In particular, there is a shortage of cultural events in rural areas. At the same time, young people are an important component in the cultural reconstruction of Ukraine, and it is already important to develop a strategy for the recovery of Ukraine with a high level of involvement of this group. Cover photo: Dykiy Teatr / Facebook Read also: Important premieres in 2022: how Ukrainian theaters worked miracles under fire
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