Europe is a network of border peoples and identities. In essence, living on the borders of cultures, languages ​​and peoples, their friction and interaction has shaped modern Europe and, in many ways, Western civilization. is a platform that addresses the problems of small, border or stateless peoples, their languages ​​or cultures that have not created a state or become part of another country and are losing their identity through globalization. We want to preserve and pass on this incredible heritage in the form of cultural and educational products.

The proposed project of the media school "Border Stories" is the first joint attempt of the University of Saarland, the Black Sea University and the project to create a format of cooperation that will combine scientific and cultural research (teaching and personal creative projects) and present them to the public audiences in popular media product formats.

The project is implemented with the financial support of the EVZ Foundation and the MEET UP! German-Ukrainian youth meetings.

About the project
Project idea
Goal # 1

The humanities produce a lot of material, but it is mostly of interest to academics. And this despite the fact that these studies are often unique histories of border identities, languages ​​and peoples.

Such research can be of much interest to a much wider audience if it is covered through the prism of human stories and presented in interesting formats and with the help of modern media.

Goal # 2

The pandemic has severely limited our opportunities for research and meetings. Therefore, this project is also an attempt to find a form of work and cooperation that would allow universities to work on local topics that are part of a large joint project and issues. In this way we will cooperate, share experiences, solve problems together.
Search for new forms of international scientific and cultural cooperation in a pandemic

Goal # 3

We want students' research to be continued, developed or supplemented in the form of documentaries, exhibitions, articles or other cultural products.
Thus, Border Stories is a project of joint scientific and cultural research in the form of an international media school for students of Ukrainian and German universities studying border thinking and border identity. Participants implement individual or joint projects (in small groups of 3-4 participants from both countries) with the support of a group of teachers and consultants.

The project addresses the problems of border or stateless peoples, their languages ​​or cultures, which are losing their identity due to globalization processes. Also, the project updates the topic of finding acceptable formats of scientific and cultural research during the pandemic.

The result of the project will be media products created by the participants - thematic landing sites, the content of which will be the results of joint research and / or creative projects.
Saarland University
Saarbrücken, Germany
Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University

Mykolaiv, Ukraine

Borderland platform
(Equites Fund)

Teachers, staff and 40 students from both universities are involved in the project. Also, a service group of the project was formed, which included third-party specialists and consultants who help students create media products (journalist, photographer, director, sound director, designers, editing directors).
Project participants
The project was implemented in 4 stages in the period from September to December 2021.
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
14 - 17.09.2021
Presentation of the project and acquaintance of participants

27.09.- 10.11.2021
Work in groups. Research.
Search for ideas
11.10.- 18.11.2021
Production of sites based on own ideas and research
Finalization and presentation of results
02.12- 04.12.2021
/Stage 1
At the first stage, we presented the project, introduced students from both countries and conducted introductory workshops from teachers of participating universities. Then the students were offered master classes by a media editor, reporter and film director, where they outlined the basic principles of storytelling and examples of how to work with history in different media formats.
/Stage 2
In the second stage, students have already started looking for stories and topics for their own research. After identifying the topics, international groups were formed and they jointly developed selected ideas. Also, the project was joined by a service group - a number of support specialists (photographer, sound director, storyteller, landing site designer, editing director), who advised and helped students implement their projects.

In addition, students had small budgets for research trips to gather information, photos, videos, and audio material. All this work took place against the background of weekly academic meetings with teachers and mentors.
/Stage 3
At the penultimate stage, students designed the results of research and collected material in the form of a one-page landing site. To do this, the project uses the platform
The students were assisted in creating the pages, but despite the warnings, they did a great job with the platform and the design of their own projects.
The presentation of student projects took place in the format of an international conference with the participation of teachers, mentors, team and project partners. Students presented their own personal or group projects and received feedback from professionals and colleagues.
/Stage 4
During the project we formed 9 groups, which implemented 10 group and individual projects.

Geography of participants, teachers and students: Germany, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, Austria, USA, Jamaica.

During the project, students made short trips to study selected topics and collect material in Ukraine, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and France.

And we are glad that all the groups successfully coped with the task and created 10 wonderful works, designed in the form of landing sites. These include cross-border, cultural and linguistic research and analytics, travel projects, family investigations and even film!

Berehove/Beregszász – Transcarpathian Landscape of Hybridity
by Aida Amiraliyeva

Bulgarian Minority in Ukraine. Сultural bridge between two countries
by Victoria Kramarenko and Julia Grek

CHOR-NO-BYL. Border experiences on the way to the Exclusion Zone
by Alina Kovalchuk, Arina Pidhurska, Jordi Bakker, Tetiana Voronova, and Victoria Karakatsii

(Everyday) Border Crossing
by Adèle Robart, Jeanne Le Chanony, Jessica Nouguier, Tetyana Ziuz, Oleksandra Korzhan, Valeriia Kozheko

Crossing Borders Through Time
by Max Molz & Daniel Riesco

Poland as a Transit Zone for Labor Migration.
A Ukrainian-German Project in the Polish Borderlands
by Victoria Sharmanska, Iryna Svyrydovska, Vladyslava Nikolaichuk, Lukas Redemann, Laura Mattausch

Borderline stories: The Stories of Migration of Ukrainian People during XX-XXI centuries
by Kseniia Markova, Oleksii Kravchenko, Valentyna Sydorova, Victoriia Galynkina, Natalia Tsviakh

A family story at the French-German border.
The story of Monique H., and her families life at the French-German Border.
by Panice Kahl

Linguistic borders: Between East and West of Ukraine
by Veronica Rohova

Linguistic Landscapes in the Greater Region Borderlands. Constructed vs. lived reality
by Irina Rehberger, Ann-Sophie Seemann
My individual project on the Hungarian minority in Ukraine is anchored with the project on the Bulgarian minority, presented by Julia Grek and Viktoria Kramarenko, students of Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University of Mykolayiv.

The fieldwork took place from October 28 to 30, 2021 in the city of Berehove (Beregszász), located in western Ukraine near the border with Hungary. I traveled to the border area, investigated the city of Berehove from hybridity perspective, conducted interviews, collected photo and video materials, and crossed the Ukrainian-Hungarian border on foot. Thus, this trip
expanded my understanding of the Homi K. Bhabha’s Third Space Theory and broadened my knowledge of border studies.
In 1986, an accident at one of the reactors at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant resulted in major radioactive contamination in the area. More than thirty-five years later, fascination for the disaster is still great both in Ukraine and the rest of the world. This story follows five students from Ukraine and the Netherlands in their attempts at crossing geographic and cultural borders during a fieldwork trip to the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. Fascinated by the Zone’s relative inaccessibility and interested in the daily lives of people working and living there, they plan to interview re-settlers living in the Exclusion Zone. After weeks of online preparation, the team gets together in person in Ukraine to arrange the final details of the trip. They overcome major setbacks on the day before departure and travel to Chornobyl, where they get stranded at the checkpoint that provides access to the Zone. Unable to reach the re-settlers they had planned to interview, it seems like the project has failed, but what the team doesn’t realise, is that in a weird turn of events, they have now become the protagonists in a borderland story of their own.
The common project “(Everyday) Border Crossing” regroups students from Saarland University in Germany and students from Black Sea National University in Ukraine and aims to illustrate lived experiences in borderlands and in border crossing. On the one hand, student from Saarland University focused on everyday border crossing at the German-French-Luxembourgish border and, on the other hand, the student from Mykolaiv focused on border crossing in Ukraine.
Living and studying in the Greater Region, we wanted in our part of the project to depict everyday life in this region, as we know and experience it. As students of the Master in Border Studies, border crossing is part of our daily life. We wanted, therefore, to represent our reality as crossborder students and the reality of the everyday life of the people from this region. Thus, we decided to tell our own story as border commuters by filming a short road trip in the border region and by interviewing people of the region.
In this common project, it was shown that our borders are very different. Weastern European
borders result from a long lasting European integration process but are being taken for granted.
The chance to exchange freely with neighbouring countries is amazing and can change from one day to the next, as it was seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our project is comprised of a creative video essay examining the recollections of Helmut Molz growing up in Saarland after the fall of the Third Reich accompanied by a short landing page. The video is a photo montage shot as a documentary backed by the vocals of an interview with Helmut. The visual style, influenced by Maus by Art Spiegelman and the films of Ken Burns, is lightly satirical, with photoshops of all the people as animals, giving the interview some subtext based on animal stereotypes.
The ambient score, composed by Max Molz, works to accompany the unique, humorous visuals with tones influenced by contemporary music such as Django Reinhardt. Overall, the project aims to enhance the interview with visuals meant to accompany the wry narration of Helmut as he explains his views on subjects such as the Maginot Line, the changing point of view of Germans with the French, and his failed career as a boxer in France.
The landing page includes historical references as the video is divided into three stories – “The Priest,” “The Maginot Line,” and “The Boxing Affair” – and explains our influences and the ideas behind some of the concepts. Overall, we aimed to create a memorable, fun, and multimedia project behind one man’s account of changing borders.
Two German students from Saarland University in the Greater Region and three Ukrainian students from Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University in Mykolaiv researched on Ukrainian labor migration to Poland and to Germany. We approached Poland as a Transit Zone for Ukrainian labor migration from two different borderlands: at the Ukrainian-Polish border in Rava-Ruska and at the German-Polish border in Frankfurt (Oder) and Słubice. By investigating two common border regions of Poland, our project has tried to understand the challenges and further impacts of Ukrainian labor migration in Poland and its neighboring countries. What does the migration do to the country and its society? How do Ukrainian migrants perceive Poland? Does it become a new home or just a Transit Zone towards other countries? We tried to find answers to these questions by conducting interviews in the border region. The interviews were filmed and later integrated in a short, documentary styled film which was then included in a landing page. The landing page presents additional material such as photos, facts about labor migration in Poland and the concept of a Transit Zone, which was at the heart of our project.
Our topic is called Borderland stories: The stories of Migration of Ukrainian People during 19-20 centuries. This topic tells us about the migration of Ukrainians in different years. We studied the meaning and types of migration. First of all, migration is the relocation of people from one region (state) to another, sometimes in large groups and long distances. But here are the reasons for migration, we have identified: economic, social, cultural, political, military. According to these data, we have revealed the stories of our friends and relatives who have encountered this. In conclusion, we can say that our research is dominated by economic and political reasons. Each student had his own history format. Kseniia Markova has a video interview format with a resident of Germany. The video lasts almost 10 minutes. This video highlighted the state of the guest before and after the migration, and the features and difficulties in the new country. Oleksii Kravchenko worked on an article. The article covered the life of the family on the border of Ukraine and Poland during the Second World War. Victoriia Galynkina has an interview format. It was the labour migration of Ukrainians in the 1990s that was considered. Natalia Tsviakh found information from her old relatives, one was a senior physician at the headquarters of the Left Bank Front of the UPR Army, and the other was an economist and Natalia wrote a short article. They have invested heavily in the history of their families, who are proud of them. Valentyna Sydorova's story is a bit sad for Ukraine. Valentyna wrote an article about how life has changed in the east due to the occupation and how people who have been forced to leave their homes live.
The Franco-German border has been the scene of many tragic conflicts, it has been for centuries the meeting point of French and German cultures and languages, but its dialect and traditions are now disappearing. Around the French town of Sarreguemines, near Saarbrucken in Germany, there are still people belonging to the older generation. Who experienced both the Second World War and the opening of the borders. A generation for whom the German dialect "patois" was the language of everyday life, but whose grandchildren speak only French. This project aims to tell a personal story, to give an insight into the life experience, identity, and language of the inhabitants. It was therefore decided to interview an inhabitant of Sarreguemines, who is now ninety-three years old. The one-hour interview gave a very personal view of life along the border. The content was condensed into an article, illustrated with family photos and a historical timeline. It covers almost a century: the family's past, her childhood, the traumas of the Second World War. But also, the constitution her family and life in the peaceful times since. The interview showed that there has always been close contact with the Germans and a border that has always been blurred. Another finding was the importance of the German dialect in her life, up to the present day. Finally, on the difficult subject of 'identity', her answers made it clear that, for her, national categories have never been so important
From this interactive podcast you will get to know more about the linguistic content of Ukraine, dominating and minor languages or phenomenons existing here, see the examples of described speeches and learn the conclusions based on the comparison between eastern and western sides. The main peculiarity of the content is that you are free to choose your own path of material walkthrough - it is up to you whether to hear everything or pick only a couple of topics, come back later to another part or move forward to the final part.
The Greater Region borderland is a very good, enriching and unique example for studying the use and the visibility of different languages as well as their dominance in public spaces. Public spaces are represented through signs. The meaning of signs is constructed in, with and through languages. Our project is embedded in theoretical concepts both linguistic and cultural. We focus on two research questions: (1) How do the linguistic landscapes represent, structure and negotiate space in the Greater Region and how does this change with national borders? (2) To what extent does the language use on written signs in the public space correspond with the language use of the citizens living in the Greater Region? How does it shape citizens’ perceptions? On the one hand, we write and visualize a borderland story about our experiences during our fieldwork by highlighting some language particularities based on our photographs. On the other hand, we talked to four people living in the Greater Region about their language use and perceptions in this area. We took pictures from written signs mainly in border cities, such as Echternach and Echternacherbrück, Saarbrücken and Sarreguemines, Esch-sur-Alzette, Belval, Athus and Rodange. For the purpose of providing a greater variety to our research, we also travelled to the German city of Trier, which provided a uniquely English loaded linguistic landscape and therefore added another aspect to our research on the linguistic landscapes in the Greater Region.

Ukraine is a hospitable country that can become a home for everyone. In our project, we wanted to reveal in detail the topic of national minorities who have lived in our country for many years and consider themselves to be its citizens. The reasons for these people moving to our territory are different: someone escaped from violence and war in the country, someone looked for a better life, and someone came here by accident. Nevertheless, nowadays they live here and consider themselves to be true Ukrainians, despite their origin.
For our study, we chose two regions – Kirovohrad and Odesa. It is no accident that we mentioned these two regions because that is where our Bulgarian friends and family members live and come from. Thanks to their help we were able to find a lot of useful and interesting information.
Summing it up, the way modern Bulgarians appreciate Bulgarian and Ukrainian culture at the same time is an answer to the question of how one can live at the intersection of two vivid cultures and save their authenticity. The cultural bridge between these two countries is definitely noticeable. We’re proud to have Bulgarian roots and be a part of this culture.

Our team
Prof. Dr. Oleksandr Pronkevych
Project Manager
PMNU Mykolaiv
Завдяки цьому інтерактивному подкасту Ви зможете дізнатись більше про лінгвістичний склад України, її основні мови чи феномени або існуючі мови національних меншин, побачити приклади розглянутих виборів та дізнатись про винесені з порівняння Східної та Західної України висновки. Основною перевагою контенту є вибір способу вивчення наведенного матеріалу - лише від Вас залежить, чи прослухаєте Ви подкаст повністю або оберете всього пару категорій, повернетесь до початку чи якомога швидше оберете фінальну частину.
Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner
Project Manager
Saarland University

Dr. Alina Mozolevska
Head of the academic part of the project
PMNU Mykolaiv
lskra Constantin
Project initiator
Equites Fund
Tobias Schank
Coordinator and project administrator
Saarland University

Eva Nossem
Academic Project Leader
Saarland University
Yaroslav Cherepushko
Head of media and service group
Equites Fund
Clayton Johnson
Video- and audio editor, sound technician
Saarland University
Tetiana Koliesnechenko
Media editor

Marco Kany
Saarland University
Vladislav Robski
Film director, scriptwriter

Dr. Tetiana Ostapchuk
PMNU Mykolaiv
Klaus Heissenberger
Saarland University

Dr. Lisa Johnson
Saarland University
Dr. Andrea Wurm
Saarland University