Presentation of the special book “Ukrainian Minstrels

Presentation of the special book “Ukrainian Minstrels

On 13th 2017, on the International Day of the Blind, a presentation of the book “Ukrainian Minstrels” took place in Chernobyl History Workshop. The book was created within the project "Raising of chances for getting education for young people with disorders of sight".

“Ukrainian Minstrels” is a book about the history of the Ukrainian kobza playing, about the life, laws, wisdom of the kobza players and lyrist, about the artistic phenomenon of folk singers, as well as the persecution of blind kobza players by various regimes: Polish gendarmes, Turkish janizaries, Moscow church, royal power and communists. The uniqueness of the book "Ukrainian Minstrels" is that it is published in accordance with the requirements of universal design: on the pages of the book, the story of kobza playing art is printed in an enlarged ordinary print and in Braille. This technology allows reading the text for people with normal eyesight, as well as for visually impaired and completely blind book lovers. In addition, the book contains special illustrations of Ukrainian folk instruments: designers have developed a tactile image of kobza and bandura, so all readers will be able to find out how the ethnic instruments look like by touch and by eyesight. For those who are more likely to perceive the information by hearing, the authors of the project offer an audio version of the book "Ukrainian Minstrels", which can be downloaded using a special QR code.

Dr. Wolfgang Moessinger, Consul General of the Consulate General of Germany in Donetsk (office in the Dnieper), who participated in the event, emphasized the importance of the project for the development of inclusion in Ukraine and for the cooperation of German and Ukrainian public organizations: “Today's event is definitely unusual. It combines Ukrainian traditions with modern methods. On the one hand, it strengthens the self-esteem of the visually impaired people who can see themselves as successors of kobza players. On the other hand, it practically helps to cope with everyday life in new ways and gives new forms to social entrepreneurship”.

During the presentation of the book, the quiz “Kobzari – a link between the past and the present” was held, attended by students of the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and students of the upper grades of the V. G. Korolenko gymnasium. The participants of the quiz answered the questions about kobza playing, about the bonds between kobza players and Kharkiv, which musical instruments sounded, detected by touch the objects carried by kobzar players.

The publishing of “Ukrainian Minstrels” is a unique event in Ukraine. The book will be interesting for a wide range of readers. The combination of tactile illustrations, embossed text with contrasting visual book content symbolically unites and even brings together sighted and blind readers – this can be considered inclusion through culture.

The book was developed by Gwara Media, a public organization “Right of Choice” and is printed in Braille by the enterprise “Sotsintel” and the printing establishment “Madrid” in collaboration with the International Education Center, Dortmund, under Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany financial support.