Web Developer for the Contemporary Ukraine Research Forum

Contemporary Ukraine Research Forum

In January 2014, I joined the Contemporary Ukraine Research Forum website as web developer. At that time, the project was brand new. I was hired to build their website at the recommendation of Dr. Geoffrey Rockwell, director of the Kule Institute for Advanced Studies (KIAS) and project sponsor at the University of Alberta.

The Research Forum is a collaborative international academic project with participants from several universities in Edmonton, Canada and Lviv and Kyiv, Ukraine. It formed to “share, discuss, explore, reflect upon, develop, and transform understandings about the EuroMaidan in Ukraine” (About).

The Contemporary Ukraine Research Forum utilizes WordPress as its content management system, with the install hosted and supported by the University of Alberta’s Arts Resource Centre. As the site developer, I have:

  • Advised on and implemented the website’s page structure
  • Implemented the site’s menu and sidebar structure
  • Implemented social media integration
  • Implemented third party commenter login
  • Provided guidance to the Project Coordinator, including blogging best practices
  • Provided technical assistance and account management for project members
  • Contributed blog posts as ‘Contemporary Ukraine Research Forum’ to model blogging, provide informational updates to site visitors, and to assist the Project Coordinator
  • Developed user guidelines and documentation
  • Monitored site traffic and user behaviour via Google Analytics
  • Conducted general site updates and user experience improvements
  • Improved site SEO (using WordPress SEO by Yoast widget), including post-by-post and page-by-page optimizations
  • Participated in monthly meetings via international video conference as a resource to academic project participants
  • Live-tweeted the project’s inaugural International Video Conference (June 26, 2014) to @EuromaidanForum. I have Storified this event here.

The Contemporary Ukraine Research Forum ended in its current form on July 1, 2014.

*On November 21, 2013, mass protests began in Kyiv, Ukraine’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) to demand closer ties between Ukraine and Europe. The protests, which quickly came to be known as the Euromaidan, have had a major impact on Ukrainian society. Though the Euromaidan protests concluded in March 2014, they have had a ripple effect in the social and political spheres. In recent months, Ukraine has seen a regime change, police violence against protestors, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the secession of entire regions of Eastern Ukriane, and pro-Russian social unrest, to name a few. David R. Marples has a good overview chronicling the Euromaidan from November 2013 through February 2014 here.