Storytelling in Western Ukraine

Storytelling in Western Ukraine

In May and June 2019, Associate Professor Deni Chamberlin led students on a three-week study abroad opportunity organized by Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and LAS Study Abroad.

Through Storytelling in Western Ukraine, students gained hands-on multimedia experience while exploring Ukrainian culture through a video and short documentary course (JL MC 390: Storytelling Workshop in Ukraine).

Each Iowa State student was paired with two Ukrainian counterparts from the School of Journalism at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. They spent four days in a mountain village where they did their reporting, followed by another five days at the university where they logged video, edited all the visuals and wrote their texts. They also attended the Lviv Media Forum.

Program Goal

  • To produce stories about rural life and traditions in Ukraine with a variety of reporting tools that best tell the story.
  • To work collaboratively with translators and team members to produce stories in a foreign setting.
  • To have an immersive experience in a foreign setting where you will learn how to adapt to a culture that is different from your own.
  • To develop the ability to look at your experiences and life in the U.S. from a viewpoint that is informed by a more global perspective.
  • To be exposed to trends and techniques that journalists and communicators use in a number of countries throughout Europe and Asia.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate a mastery of using cameras by producing publishable images and videos for an online class publication.
  • Demonstrate the ability to create compelling photos and videos that focus on human interest topics.
  • Demonstrate an ability to think as a visual communicator by finding stories, pitching them and completing packages that include photos, text and video.

Published Work

The students’ work was published on a Ukraine-based website called Reporters, which focuses on the stories of individuals in times of socio-political change through literary reporting.

Their work can be found here:

About Lviv, Ukraine

Lviv is the largest city in western Ukraine and the seventh-largest city in the country overall, with a population of around 730,000 as of 2016. Lviv is one of the main cultural centers of Ukraine, and survived Soviet and German occupations during World War II largely unscathed.

More Info

Contact Deni Chamberlin,, to indicate your interest in participating in a similar future opportunity.