Documentation by Nic Finch

UPDATE: 2018 Enthusiasm Events in Scotland
Victoria Donovan, Simon Gore and I are doing a series of talks, discussions, screenings and workshops in Scotland this week, discussing ‘Enthusiasm’, a project around the themes of revolution, migration, culture at Merthyr Tydfil last July.

More info and how to book here:

Byre World, St Andrews University, 2 May, 7pm

Princess Dashkova Centre, Edinburgh University, 4th May 5pm:
“Enthusiasm”: Exploring memory and migration in Hughesovka-Stalino-Donetsk through word, image and music

Edinburgh Ukrainian Club, 4th May, 7.30pm

For more information on the project please read on.

A project by Victoria Donovan and Stefhan Caddick.

Enthusiasm is a migration story spanning Merthyr Tydfil and Ukraine; the 1860s to the present day. This innovative, interdisciplinary one-day arts event brings together musicians, members of the community, archivists and historians to take a radical look at a little-known historical episode that links Merthyr and the South Wales Valleys to the Donbas in Ukraine and asks how the legacy of this past continues to resonate in our social, cultural and political landscape today.

Enthusiasm took place on Saturday 1st July 2017, with the exhibition continuing until Thurs 3rd August

Redhouse, Old Town Hall, High Street, Merthyr CF47 8AE


In 1869, Welsh industrialist John Hughes founded the mining town of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, initiating a wave of migration from South Wales to Eastern Europe. 1917 and the approaching Russian Revolution saw the hasty exit of the industrialists who had followed Hughes, fearful of the revolutionary ferment. 100 years later, in the present day, Ukraine and the Donbas are once again at the centre of a violent conflict that has led to the internal displacement of over a million people.

Enthusiasm brought to life some of the elements of this fascinating and timely story, via film, music, image, food and discussion.

Enthusiasm included:

  • Talk and reading by Dr Victoria Donovan (Lecturer in Russian, University of St Andrews)
  • Performance of a selection of migrant letters by local and diasporan voices.
  • Exhibition of historic photographs of Donetsk from the Glamorgan Archives and contemporary images by Ukrainian photographer Alexander Chekmenev
  • A programme of workshops and activities
  • Screening: Enthusiasm: The Donbass Symphony (1931) by Ukrainian revolutionary film maker Dziga Vertov with a new original score performed live by composer Simon Gore.

View a pdf of the full programme for the day here: ENTHUSIASM Programme

Sound, film and image credits:
Enthusiasm Trailer (above) features a short excerpt from a new, live soundtrack by composer Simon Gore and clips from Dziga Vertov’s 1931 film ‘Enthusiasm: The Donbass Symphony’ (courtesy Austrian Film Museum). The full, hour long performance will be premiered at Enthusiasm in Merthyr Tydfil on 1st July 2017.

Image below: still from Dziga Vertov’s Enthusiasm: The Donbass Symphony (1931) (from the collection of the Austrian Film Museum. Frame enlargement Georg Wasner)

Project Partners:
University of St Andrews, Glamorgan Archives, Russia 17, PEAK: Contemporary Art in the Black Mountains, Redhouse

With thanks to Lesley Hodgson and all the volunteers at Focal Point in Merthyr, for her invaluable advice and encouragement with this project. You can find out more about Focal Point’s work on their Facebook page.

More about Enthusiasm

Media Coverage

BBC World Service video review by Irena Taranyuk (in Ukrainian) Ukrainian review by Irena Taranyuk: http://www.bbc.com/ukrainian/features-40549137 A Google Translation is available here: https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fukrainian%2Ffeatures-40549137&edit-text=&act=url [...] Read more about Media Coverage

Enthusiasm: Call for Participants

Calling all bakers/cooks/brewers/foodies! Enthusiasm is in part going to look at the ways in which cultures adapt and evolve as a result of migration - a kind of cross pollination of different traditions. One way in which this happens is via food, which we would like to incorporate into the event (in a very relaxed way). We would really like to hear from people who have recently moved to south Wales, their descendants, or people who have lived here all their lives, and who would be interested in contributing to the event.   We are looking for: People who would like to share food traditions from their home countries - e.g. bread-making, festive food, food decoration or f [...] Read more about Enthusiasm: Call for Participants