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Bark and Butterflies


Coventry School of Art and Design, Heritage Lottery Fund.




Wolfram Spyra, Roksana Vykyaluk


Using an inherited family war time diary this project explores the use of memoir and family myth in the creation of performance/installation.  The research process is based on a field trip to Siberia retracing the steps of a wartime journey to a forced labour camp narrated in the diary. This project is conceived as an artistic intervention by a successor generation into the continuing legacy of a potent family story.

Research objectives included:

  • Translate and publish diary
  • Conduct background research into memory, identity and performance
  • Retrace wartime journey narrated in diary
  • Produce performance/installation material and documentation


The impact of this project lies in an evolving programme of public engagement with the history of the Gulag during the second world war locally, nationally and internationally through exhibitions, school visits and presentations.

Events to date:

  • Coventry Peace Festival November 2013
  • Klangland Sonic Art Festival, Kassel, Germany, April 2014
  • Kunst am Spreeknie Festival, Berlin June 2014
  • Kresy-Siberia conference, Warsaw September 2014.
  • Bishop Ullathorne School, Coventry, May 2014, Reepham Primary school, June 2014

Feedback from teachers and parents about the school visits are similar. Most striking anecdotes came from parents whose report that their children recounted the story from start to finish at home.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023