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Unbelievable in Ukraine

Maker Faire Producers Talk from Kyiv About This “Strange Day”

Svitlana Bovkun and Yuri Vlasyuk are wonderful people who have been organizing Maker Faires in Ukraine in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Lviv, and Odessa. In this interview, they share with us this “strange” day when Russia began to invade Ukraine.

Video interview with Svitlana and Yuri
Yuri and Svitlana at Maker Faire Kyiv
Yuri and Svitlana at Maker Faire Kyiv

“This situation is tough,” Svitlana told us. “So we are not okay. We’re not calm. We’re thinking about leaving Kyiv for the moment.” They are staying for the night but thinking of moving their children out of Kyiv and closer to Poland.

Yuri said that the “idea of building community and of producing Maker Faire was to spread the trust inside the communities.” Their goal was to change the culture, which Svitlana described as characteristic of the Soviet era: “very low trust, low initiative, low ideas rate.” She added: “at the same time, we are very hungry for ideas, startups new forms of education, especially because schools and teachers are still old school.”

Yuri said that the basic message now is “stay calm and help the army.” Yuri and Svitlana are grateful to the other producers of Maker Faire who have reached out to them, as well as the maker network they helped to build inside Ukraine.

Seeing the photos below from Maker Faires in Kyiv helps keep in mind that many people, many makers are deeply affected by this act of aggression. We will keep them in our hearts and minds.

Gallery of Photos from Maker Faires in Ukraine

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty

Jennifer Blakeslee keeps the Global Maker Faire program running smoothly and has been a maker at Maker Faire since 2011. Among other things, she really likes to travel, write, cook, hike, make big art, and swim in the ocean.

View more articles by Jennifer Blakeslee