LV Latviski

Joyful Christmas and a successful New Year 2019!

Photo by Sandis Laime, Siberia 2004.

11.00 on Tuesday 18 December will see the launch of Latvia’s National Encyclopaedia’s electronic site – a high-quality general-knowledge and information online resource in the Latvian language, accessible free of charge – at Bebrene Manor in Bebrene Parish. The authors of the volume of the National Encyclopaedia and the electronic site are also ILFA researchers – Dace Bula, Pauls Daija, Eva Eglāja-Kristsone, Benedikts Kalnačs and Rita Treija.

Thanks to the support of Latvijas Televīzija (Latvian Television), the event will be streamed live on the and portals. Read more...

Ilze Šarkovska-Liepiņa, ILFA researcher at the Department of Theater, Music and Cinema delivered a presentation at the International Musicology Conference "National Identities – European Universality. Music and Music Life in Central and Eastern Europe (1918–2018)”. The conference was held in Warsaw from 30 November to 1 December, organized by the Polish National Centre for Culture, Polish Composers’ Union, Institute of Musicology of the University of Warsaw, and “Waves Bratislava” (Music Festival & Conference).

World War I, and in particular the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the revolution in Russia, led to the emergence (or re-emergence) on the map of Europe of nine new countries. Poland regained its independence. The other new sovereign states were: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. What was the significance of the new political situation for the development of music and musical life in those countries? Did the freshly regained independence have impact on the music of composers from this region of Europe? Do national differences still exist in music a hundred years later, or have they all dissolved in the melting pot of European universalism? The jubilee year of 2018 provides an excellent opportunity for a debate on these questions. Ilze Šarkovska-Liepiņa held a lecture "Searching for National Identity: Choir Movement and Song Festivals in Latvia", devoted to issues of genesis and development of the Latvian professional music culture through the prism of the choral music and song celebrations. Read more...

Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia has released a Dr. art. Arnolds Klotiņ'š scholarly monograph "Music in Latvia during The Stalinist Post-War Decade" ("Mūzika pēckara staļinismā: Latvijas mūzikas dzīve un jaunrade 1944. līdz 1953. gadā" LU LFMI, 2018).

This work consists of a broad introduction followed by two parts that match the chronology events – Part I looks at the closing stages of the Second World War and the first two years that followed (1944–1946), while Part II deals with musical life and creative work at the height of the Stalinist totalitarian regime (1947–1953).

On 29 November 2018, the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS) held its annual Autumn General meeting. The Autumn General meeting elected, by secret ballot, nine Full members, sixteen Corresponding members, four Foreign members and one Honorary member. ILFA Leading researcher Pauls Daija has also been elected as a Corresponding member. Read more...

Anna Bērzkalne

Rita Treija's study "Anna Bērzkalne" (Rīga: Zinātne, 2018; 304 pp., ill.) has been released by the publishers "Zinātne". The new book is the fifth publication in the series "Folkloristikas bibliotēka" ("Library of Folkloristics") issued by the Archives of Latvian Folklore, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the university of Latvia. The monograph is in Latvian, but an extensive English summary is provided.

Anna Bērzkalne (1891–1956) was an important figure of interwar period Latvian folkloristics and also one of the most educated women of her time. She was a dedicated folksong researcher and the founder of the Archives of Latvian Folklore (1924) which she led during the first five years. As with many other intellectuals of 1920s and 1930s, her name was silenced during the Soviet times. Only in the 1990s, after Latvia had regained its independence, was Anna Bērzkalne's professional legacy reintegrated into the disciplinary historiography. Over the past few years, her performance in folkloristics has been studied with greater diligence through several research projects carried out by the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia.


The "History, Memory and Archives: Sensitive issues" ( was a conference dedicated to the Centenary of Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and ultimately also Poland. It was the interim conference for the SIEF WG on Archives, in collaboration with the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore and the Nordic-Baltic Tradition Archives Network. More than 30 presentations analysed the ethical, sensitive and delicate issues in archival research and folklore research and publications in general. The Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art was represented by Baiba Krogzeme-Mosgorda (The Memory Album Collection in the Archives of Latvian Folklore: Creation and Presentation), Rita Treija (Personal Archives to Build a Disciplinary History), Māra Vīksna un Elvīra Žvarte (Diaries in the Archives of Latvian Folklore), Justīne Jaudzema (Interpretation of Archive Materials: Making a Song Repertoire), Elīna Gailīte (The Role of Harijs Sūna in the Development of the Choreography Genre at the Archives of Latvian Folklore) and Sanita Reinsone.


The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters in the Folklore Fellows' Communications series has released its book No. 315, "Visions and Traditions. Knowledge Production and Tradition Archives". This volume contains 18 scholarly articles that in various ways discuss the political, methodological and ethical aspects of how tradition archives have been – and are – involved in the production of knowledge (see the contents). The book was prepared by international editorial team: Lauri Harvilahti (Finland), Audun Kjus (Norway), Clíona O'Carroll (Ireland), Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch (Finland), Fredrik Skott (Sweden) and Rita Treija (Latvia).

Among the authors, there is Sanita Reinsone, leading researcher of the Archives of Latvian Folklore, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia.


With the funding of Latvian Council of Science, ILFA launches a two-year long research project on the disciplinary history of folkloristics after World War II. Following the long term research strategy of the Institute, it extends the previous successful research grant funded by the Latvian Council of Science – study dedicated to Latvian folkloristics in the interwar period. Reflecting on current disciplinary legacy, the project’s team simultaneously considers the development of Latvian post-war folkloristics both in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic and within the Latvian exile community.

Through simultaneous and joint research of both historical directions, the project is designed to generate and disseminate novel insights into Latvian post-war folkloristics, based on a variety of methodological approaches. Read more...


The internationally acclaimed scientific journal Letonica (indexed in Scopus, ERIH PLUS and EBSCO) invites contributions of scholars of folklore and related disciplines. The theme of the next issue will be about diverse relationships of traditions and state power in disciplinary history since 1918, especially during the Cold War period and the following decades. All papers will be blind peer-reviewed. Journal style and additional information is available here.

Please send the title and short description of your intended article to the editor of the special issue Toms Ķencis by the end of this year. The deadline for articles is the 1st of March, 2019.

Traditions and Power

Organized by the Archives of Latvian Folklore, the annual scientific conference commemorating the Father of Latvian Folksongs, Krišjānis Barons, was held on last two days of October. Critically celebrating the Centenary of Independent Republic of Latvia, the multidisciplinary conference was dedicated to relationships between traditions and power, with an emphasis of less-researched years of the Soviet occupation (1944-1990). The conference featured 20 presentations, including also a plenary lecture on "Traditionality and the Language of Ontological Insecurity" by sociologist Mārtiņš Kaprāns and a guest lecture from Estonian researcher Ave Goršič titled "Presented by the Fourth Estate: Folklore and Traditional Culture as a Tool for State and Ideology".


The conference "Back to the Future. Central European Avant-Garde Reclaimed" on 16th–17th November 2018 will be the next step of the international project "Reclaimed Avant-Garde” that has been developed by The Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute since 2017. In London, we will analyse the visions and projects of the historical Central-European theatre avant-garde that have not been completed, yet still may serve as a starting point for the future. The "theatre of the future"" was an obsession of avant-garde theatre artists, who intended for their work to be further developed by future generations. We know that these dreams never came true as many projects of the ‘theatres of the future’ were strictly utopian. Through a selection of case studies, we will consider those projects that still have a potential for contemporary theatre.

The conference will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Poland’s independence, as well as the independence of many Central-European countries involved in the project. One of our aims is to ask about independence in arts and art of independence. The programme includes conference sessions and a special panel discussion with two outstanding contemporary theatre artists Alvis Hermanis and Katie Mitchell.

The conference will be attended by our leading researcher Edīte Tišheizere.

Programme and more information here.

Emily Beyer is a US Fulbright Student Scholar who is affiliated with our department from September 2018 – June 2019. She will be working on intersecting projects in scholarship, translation, and creative writing.

Audun Kjus and Fredrik Skott will deliver a guest lecture entitled "Collection and dissemination: digital archival strategies" at the Archives of Latvian Folklore of the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia (ILFA) at 3 pm on Tuesday, 16th october 2018.

Digital technology is opening new possibilities for tradition archives, both for disseminating old materials and for collecting new documentation. Fredrik Skott and Audun Kjus have been leading the development projects, and They will share experiences and insights from these projects (both success and failure) and discuss pros and cons of different digitalisation strategies. Read more...

Simo Laakkonen, researcher from Finland, University of Turku, will deliver a guest lecture entitled "The Long Shadows: Global Environmental Impacts of WWII" at the Archives of Latvian Folklore of the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia (ILFA) at 1 pm on Wednesday, 10th october 2018.

What is the place of the Second World War in local, national or global environmental narrative? Up to day it seems that while this war affected nearly everything in the world, it did not affect the nature, the environment or our understanding of related issues. The presentation approaches these questions from historical and cultural point of view and argues that we need to address the Second World War and environmental issues together in order to understand both of them. The Second World War was not fought in all countries of the planet but its environmental consequences were of global scale. The presentation aims to provide an overview of the main environmental impacts of this war. Simo Laakkonen is an environmental historian and senior lecturer of landscape studies at the University of Turku, Finland. The presentation is based on his long-terms studies of the environmental history of the Baltic Sea and international publications that he has edited on militarized landscapes of World War II and the Cold War.

Contact information: