Retreat Programme for Ukrainian Media Professionals 2022

Lviv Media Forum, supported by the Prague Civil Society Centre, has launched a program of retreats for Ukrainian media professionals. From July to October 2022, they organized 10 retreats.

The purpose of the retreat project in the Carpathian Mountains was to address the challenges faced during wartime. Research conducted by the Lviv Media Forum revealed that 36% of Ukrainian media professionals require psychological support. Since February 24, 2022, editorial teams in Ukrainian media have been working under extremely difficult conditions, including personal safety threats, financial instability, long working hours, and psychological pressure. All of these factors contribute to professional burnout. However, media professionals often ignore their exhaustion fueled by the sense of responsibility towards their audience.  

Retreat Programme for Ukrainian Media Professionals 2022

"The goal of the retreat is to improve the psychological and emotional well-being of journalists and help restore their inner balance. We chose the Carpathian Mountains as the location for this retreat project because we believe it can help participants shift from survival mode to relaxation mode, even if only for a certain period," says project manager Liubov Lehkobyt.

"We also realized that besides experiencing the culture and nature of the Hutsul region, the opportunity to exchange experiences and communicate with colleagues is an important part of the recovery process. During times of war, many lack this informal interaction and support."

From mid-July to October 2022, a total of 10 eight-day retreats were organized. To participate, applicants needed to have at least two years of media work experience prior to the full-scale invasion, as well as frontline or similar experience. In total, 700 applications from journalists across Ukraine were received.  

Retreat Programme for Ukrainian Media Professionals 2022

Residency Program

The retreat program included a combination of cultural and educational activities. Participants had the opportunity to relax at the "VODAclub" complex in Bukovel, watch and discuss the film "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors", go on mountain hikes, experience rafting, visit the Kosiv Bazaar, and explore several museums.

The educational aspect of the program included a session "How to Get a Grant for Your Media Project," where media professionals received guidance on donor support. Participants also had free time every day for relaxation, communication, or attending to urgent work tasks.  

Retreat Programme for Ukrainian Media Professionals 2022

Results in Numbers and Facts

To ensure safety, the Lviv Media Forum cannot disclose the names of the participants and can only provide general data.

Here are the results:

  • 120 professionals, including journalists, editors, photographers, and media managers, attended the retreats.
  • The participants came from more than 35 cities across Ukraine, including Kyiv, Kherson, Kharkiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Odesa, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, Kryvyi Rih, Bakhmut, Severodonetsk, Bucha, and more.
  • Over 100 media outlets benefited from recharged employees, including national, regional, and niche media.  
Retreat Programme for Ukrainian Media Professionals 2022

After each retreat, participants were asked to share their thoughts on the project. Here are a few responses:

  • "For me, it wasn't easy to let go of the situation and try to relax and recharge. Though, I left feeling a bit sad, like a child leaving camp, but with new strength and energy that I gained in the Ukrainian Carpathians," TSUKR, Sumy.
  • "Thanks to the Lviv Media Forum, we had the opportunity to participate in a one-week retreat in the Carpathians. During this time, we developed a content plan, defined our identity, generated numerous new ideas, created characters, and even built a website. It was a retreat that we could rely on and take a deep breath," War. Stories from Ukraine, Kyiv.  
Retreat Programme for Ukrainian Media Professionals 2022
  • "I visited the Carpathians for the first time. Yes, it was sad knowing that some of us may never see it again. It was nerve-wracking because I had such an opportunity while my friends were about to leave for the frontline. But now more than ever, you realize that you have to seize every opportunity and not postpone things for later. This trip introduced me to amazing people. I hope we'll meet again in the liberated territories," NikVesti, Mykolaiv. 
Retreat Programme for Ukrainian Media Professionals 2022
  • "At first, I decided that I didn't need it. Then I thought, maybe someone needs it more? Then I thought that relaxation was not a priority at the moment. And then I submitted the application and forgot about it. Now I can compare myself before and after. I arrived with tense shoulders, trying to force myself to relax them. But even in my dreams, I kept pulling my shoulders up to my ears. In the first few days, I had to force myself to do something.

Now I'm on the train home being that person who had a great time today dancing in the streets with people who have become very close in just a week. The war hasn't stopped. But could I recharge? Yes, I could," 1+1, Kyiv.  

Retreat Programme for Ukrainian Media Professionals 2022

The Lviv Media Forum team's plan is to continue implementing the retreat project for journalists. If you have any questions or partnership proposals, please write us at