International Women’s Day: Dr Darya Tsymbalyuk

An interview with Dr Darya Tsymbalyuk, Tutor in the School of Modern Languages, about her experiences and influences as part of International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8 March 2022.

What was your childhood ambition?

All my childhood I was studying visual arts, and always wanted to keep doing arts when I (eventually!) grew up.

What inspired you to get involved in your research? 

I never ever expected myself to do a PhD to be honest. In 2015 together with two colleagues from Ukraine, Julia Filipieva and Victor Zasypkin, I started working with displaced persons in Ukraine, and then I came to St Andrews for my MA degree.

Dr Victoria Donovan encouraged me to continue working with the interviews I conducted with displaced persons in Ukraine as a researcher. These stories are so precious and gentle that I keep working with them many years after, currently not only as a researcher but also artistically – making an animation, Displaced Garden, together with a great team in Ukraine.

Is there a particular woman who has positively impacted your career?

Besides my brilliant mom, who is currently sheltering from missile attacks in Kyiv and who has been my role model – even in the shelter she keeps being a caring and engaging teacher for kids – my PhD supervisor Dr Victoria Donovan had a great impact on me.

She had incredible faith in what I was doing, and trust in my unusual, nonlinear ways of conducting research. I would have never been able to come so far without her support and the freedom she gave me.

Whose voice would you like to amplify this International Women’s Day?

I would love to amplify the voices of many incredible women in Ukraine, whose lives are terribly affected by the war against Ukraine.

Our producer for the Displaced Garden animation, Yulia Serdyukova, and film director Katia Voznytsia really taught me a lot about horizontal filmmaking and ethical teamwork.

I am very attached to the documentary material the film is based on, and always make sure people’s testimonies are treated with kindness. Yulia and Katia keep inspiring me in the delicacy and depth with which they work with these stories. It is one of the best experiences of collaboration I have ever had.

Back to International Women’s Day in St Andrews.