The Force of Breath:
Resilience in Ukraine

The Workshop

Scholar/Activist Katja Kolcio brings decades of experience focusing on somatic research and transformative healing to her work in Ukraine. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has propelled Kolcio’s recent movement-based programs, which were developed over 7 years in solidarity and collaboration with Ukrainian war relief workers, therapists, and soldiers. She will share some of these methods and insights in this workshop.  

Some of the questions she explores are:

• What is the role of the body in social transformation?

• How do people maintain a sense of self and agency when surrounding social forces discourage, suppress, or even attempt to erase one’s humanity?

• How can we use movement to address challenges that confront us in the world?is space to add more details about your site, a customer quote, or to talk about important news.

About Katja Kolcio

Katja Kolcio, Ph.D. RSME, is Associate Professor at Wesleyan University in Dance, Environmental Studies, Russian East European and Eurasian Studies, and the Center for the Study of Public Life. Kolcio is a dancer and activist who researches the relationship between body, social change, and resilience.

Beginning in 2014, Kolcio began a collaboration with the Ukrainian NGO Development Foundation to develop a program in somatic methods for psycho-social resilience called The Force of Breath, working with the Ukrainian National Guard, Armed Forces, the newly formed Ministry of Veterans Affairs, and psychologists working in war relief. In 2017 Kolcio was recognized by the National Guard of Ukraine with an award for this work.

In 2020-21 the United Nations funded the expansion of the program, titled Vitality Project: Donbas where it served 1,600 people in the zone of conflict in its first year. To date, 2,000 Ukrainian National Guards have been trained in the program. In October, 2022 the program was published as a book, The Force of Breath: Somatic Methods for Psychological Recovery/ сила дихання: психологічні засоби відновлення, by Volyn National University, Ukraine. Kolcio is currently working with the Development Foundation, renamed Community Self-Help, to meet the severity of the current context.

Kolcio’s guiding premise is that all art is political, and dance can change the world.

Kolcio’s publications include The Force of Breath: Somatic Methods of Recovery/СИЛАДИХАННЯ: психологічнізасобивідновлення (2022 Volyn National University, Ukraine); Movable Pillars (2010 Wesleyan University Press, CT),“Somatics and Political Change: Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity” (2016 Contact Quarterly); “Faking It: The Necessary Blind Spots of Understanding” (2009 Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies); essays “Ukraine, A Utopian Mindset” (2014 Huffington Post); “Strength and Artistry in Ukraine” (2022 Hartford Courant); and interview “The History and Evolution of Ukrainian Identity” (2022 The Conversation/The World).

Jamestown Ukraine Relief Project

P.O. Box 36
Jamestown, RI 02835

An IRS 501(c)3 organization.

© Copyright 2022, Jamestown Ukraine Relief Project. All rights reserved.

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