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The 12th International Conference of Young Folklorists "Beyond the Field: Fieldwork in the 21st Century" will take place from 13 to 15 September at the Conference Centre of the National Library of Latvia. More than 30 young representatives from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria and India will participate in the conference.

Guest lectures will be given by Ulla Savolainen, lecturer at the University of Helsinki, on "The Field of Memory Culture: Ingrian Finns' Historical Experiences through Multiple Media and Times" and by Klāvs Sedlenieks, Associate Professor at Riga Stradiņš University, on "In Search for Unknown Unknowns. Why Fieldwork is still the Way!"

The conference programme and abstracts can be found at:

Everyone is welcome to attend!


The latest thematic issue of the English-language humanities journal "Letonica" is dedicated to women's contribution to Latvian culture and society, looking at it from the perspective of history, art history and literary studies. The issue is part of the Latvian Council of Science's fundamental research project "Women Agency in Latvian Culture and Society (1870-1940)" (No. Lzp-2020/1-0215), which aims to reflect on women's contributions through the prism of biographical research, thus achieving a deeper and more nuanced understanding of history.

The introduction and the nine scholarly articles in the issue focus on agency. Women are not only active, rational subjects who want autonomy and self-realisation, fighting against dominant norms and institutions that oppress them and systematically limit their possibilities, but they also accept these norms. This reveals the multifaceted, complex and contradictory features of women's agency, which cannot be imagined outside the established gender hierarchies and institutional and structural contexts since historically specific relations also condition the ability or inability to act.


The Institute for Literature, Folklore and Art (ILFA) at the University of Latvia has recently become a Cooperating Partner of the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH-EU). This partnership marks an important milestone for ILFA as the first research organization from the Baltic States to join DARIAH.

DARIAH is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) that aims to empower research communities by providing them with digital methods to create, connect, and share knowledge about culture and society. With 20 member states and one observer country, DARIAH has also established a network of cooperating partners in non-member countries, and ILFA is now a proud addition to this network.

ILFA is renowned for its innovative research and collaborative networks in cultural studies and humanities. Additionally, ILFA develops digital resources for humanities and art studies and actively promotes digital humanities in Latvia. ILFA's cooperation with DARIAH will grant them access to valuable data and tools for humanities research, strengthen their participation in international digital humanities networks, and contribute to the development of digital humanities in Latvia.

Through its partnership with DARIAH, ILFA aims to further strengthen its research capabilities, expand its international collaborations, and promote the development of digital humanities in Latvia. DARIAH, on the other hand, values ILFA's expertise in crowdsourcing and looks forward to leveraging their experience for their own initiatives. This collaboration not only benefits ILFA and DARIAH but also enhances the digital humanities landscape in the wider Baltic region.

Learn more about ILFA's participation as a Cooperating Partner on the DARIAH website.

On 17 May 2023, Lois Kalb will visit the ILFA and give a public lecture, “Uncommonly Modern: Property, Intimacy and Mass Housing in Late and post-Soviet Riga (1970-2000)”. Lois Kalb is a PhD researcher at the history department of the European University Institute in Florence. She is interested in the urban political economy of late Soviet mass housing districts. Her current project lays at the intersection between history and anthropology and looks at the changing relations between forms of property, intimacies and social life of mass housing districts in Riga over the course of the late Soviet period and the transition period of the 1990s.

In this lecture, she will present parts of her current PhD project on mass housing and urban social change in late and post-Soviet Riga, over the course of the 1970s, 80s, and 1990s. “I look at the transforming dynamics between large-scale political and economic processes, the urban built environment and everyday social life. By looking at different aspects of mass housing districts, such as housing maintenance and repair, housing distribution and family life, I search for emergent property relations.” The lecture will put forward some tentative findings of what such property relations can tell about the post-socialist transition in Riga, about housing privatization and people’s everyday lives becoming more private over time.


The latest thematic issue of the humanities journal "Letonica" is dedicated to art research and is a collaboration between the Art Academy of Latvia and the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia.

This issue of the journal features publications by Art Academy of Latvia doctoral students and academic staff, which reveal the diversity of research topics in art studies today and provide a glimpse into the future of this research - both in dissertations in progress and in other research topics that will hopefully be fully developed in the coming years. The thematic diversity of the articles confirms the significant contribution of the Art Academy of Latvia to cultural and artistic research, in which traditional analysis based on extensive archival studies is complemented by a modern methodology rooted in the use of critical theory and related to current societal issues of the time.


For the third consecutive year, doctoral students in humanities and social sciences and PhD candidates are invited to apply for the scholarly and creative conference "Day of Aspiring Scholars", which, for the first time, will take place in a hybrid format: the papers will be read in person, but a live internet broadcast will be provided, as well as the opportunity to submit pre-recorded poster presentations.

The aim of the conference is to promote academic growth of future researchers by supporting networking and solidarity. Unlike previous years, when the conference did not have a unifying theme, this year the theme of the conference is creativity in scholarship.

This theme allows highlighting creative and interdisciplinary approaches in research, thus not only creating a space for an exchange of ideas, but also supporting innovative research. Applicants are invited to reflect on what are the main unexpected obstacles encountered while developing doctoral work, and how these obstacles can be overcome using interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, or experimental approaches, collaboration and/or various creative solutions.

The organizers encourage participants to present not only academic papers but also – to prepare interdisciplinary and creative presentations. When creating the program, applications for both academic papers and artistic performances will be considered, emphasizing those that have been developed both individually and collaboratively, and blurring the line between creative self-expression and research.


The 12th International Conference of Young Folklorists "Beyond the Field: Fieldwork in the 21st Century" will take place from 13 to 15 September 2023. Since 2010, conferences have been held alternately in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, and in 2022 for the first time in Finland. It brings together young researchers in the field from the region.

Students, recent graduates and all those who consider themselves young folklorists are invited to participate. Please send a topic proposal and abstract (up to 350 words) by 15 May (extended deadline) to

Conference working language: English.

The 12th International Conference of Young Folklorists is organised by the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia, The Archives of Latvian Folklore.

Read more: here


With the aim to strengthen and develop the humanities in Latvia, a new project of the National Research Programme "Digital Humanities" called "Towards Development of Open and FAIR Digital Humanities Ecosystem in Latvia" or DHELI is being launched at the beginning of this year, with funding from the Science Council of Latvia. The project is coordinated by the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Arts of the University of Latvia with Dr. philol. Sanita Reinsone as its lead, and involves representatives from the National Library of Latvia, Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Latvia Institute of Latvian Language and Livonian Institute, Rēzekne Academy of Technologies, Riga Technical University.

Digital Humanities (DH) is an interdisciplinary area of research that blends fundamental and applied research methods to address questions within the humanities, social sciences, and arts. This field employs computational methods and uses digital resources and tools for data processing, analysis, and visualization. A prime example of the practical application and wide usage of DH is language technology, showcasing the significance of a well-established digital humanities infrastructure that not only supports researchers but also benefits a wider audience.

The DHELI project builds upon the outcomes of the National Research Programme project "Digital Resources for the Humanities: Development and Integration," which was completed in October 2022. This was the first inter-institutional and interdisciplinary project in Latvia devoted to digital humanities and received an exceptional evaluation from international evaluators, affirming its remarkable impact and successful results.


Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia (ILFA) is looking forward to the SIEF2023 Congress “Living Uncertainty” which will take place in Brno in June next year!

Together with colleagues from the University of Tartu and the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, we are organizing a panel on folklore revivals in non-democratic contexts. We welcome scholars to submit paper proposals on the uncertainties and strategies of people practicing folklore under strong governmental control of public expression during the second half of the 20th century.

The Call for Papers is open until 10 January 2023!

Please share this information with scholars who do research in this field and would be interested in presenting and networking.

The panel is organized within the research project “Folklore Revival in Latvia: Resources, Ideologies and Practices” implemented in 2022–2024 and funded by the Latvian Council of Science (Project No: lzp-2021/1-0243).

Dedalus Books Ltd has published an anthology of Latvian women's short fiction, compiled and foreworded by Eva Eglāja-Kristsone, senior researcher at ILFA.

This anthology spans more than a century, from the end of the 19th-century to the present day.

It is a period marked by change, war, occupying regimes, and renewed freedom. Much of the early work written by Latvian women writers such as Anna Rumane-Kenina, Angelika Gailite, Anna Brigadere, Alija Baumane, and Mirdza Bendrupe is realist in nature, depicting an upheaval of mores and relationships forged not through tradition, but the pangs of love and passion.The Soviet era brought strict censorship to all forms of the arts, including literature.Despite this, authors like Regina Ezera were able to push their craft deeper into the psychological analysis of their characters. On the other side of the Iron Curtain, US-based Latvian exile writer Ilze Skipsna forged ahead with her own version of the psychological short story.

The work of authors such as Andra Neiburga, Gundega Repse and Nora Ikstena in the late 80s and early 90s heralded a new era of female writers in a country yearning for its freedom which it finally achieved. Authors who appeared after the millennium like Inga Abele, and Inga Zolude, who have shaped and continue to shape contemporary Latvian literature, round out this collection.

The stories have been translated by Ieva Lešinska, Žanete Vēvere, Māra Rozīte, Laura Adlers and Susan McQuade.

More information here.

The Archives of Latvian Folklore of the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Arts of the University of Latvia has developed a digital, online game "Reassemble a Folk Song!". The game is based on a puzzle principle, where the text of a folk song has to be "broken" into pieces. The game is available for everyone after registration at

Folk songs are one of the cornerstones of Latvian culture. For centuries, they have been considered to be a source of national ideas, history and values. The collection of folklore, and folk songs in particular, in the 19th century was not only a documentation of folk self-expressions, but an important event on the difficult path towards development of the nation. The collection consisting of almost 219,000 folk song texts was gathered and organised by K. Barons at the second half of the 19th century. Collection is stored in the Dainu Skapis (Cabinet of Dainas), which has now become a symbol of Latvian traditional culture. Since 2001, the Dainu Skapis has been included in the International Register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.


The 45th issue of the humanities journal "Letonica", which brings together research on various topics related to Latvian culture, is now available.

The issue is introduced by an article by philosopher Jānis Taurens on postcolonial feminism in the prose of Inga Gaile. The geopolitics of the Karosta in the prose of Andra Manfelde is the focus of literary scholar Maija Burima. Literary scholars Zanda Gūtmane and Jānis Oga discuss, respectively, the narrative of Holocaust trauma in the prose of the 1960s and the memory and literary legacy of Ēvalds Vilks.

Ethnobotanist Daina Roze has identified the presence of flowers, trees and shrubs in the memories of Kurzeme storytellers. Literary scholar Ivars Šteinbergs presents the poetry of Uldis Bērziņš as a form of resistance. Linguist Jānis Veckrācis continues the theme of translations with an article on novel "Surfacing" by Margaret Atwood in Russian and Latvian.

The issue's articles section is concluded by the Indologist Natālija Burišina with an extensive study of Indian science agents in Latvia after the Second World War.

The journal also features reviews of recent scholarly books.

Open access:

The thematic issue of the journal "Letonica" "Digital Humanities in Latvia" (No. 47) has been published, the aim of which is to provide an overview of the current situation of digital humanities in Latvia. Digital humanities today encompasses several interconnected fields, covering all stages of the data flow – data creation, storage, analysis, research, visualisation, communication and practical use of research results.

The thematic issue of the journal was produced within the project "Digital Resources for the Humanities: Integration and Development" of the National Research Programme "Digital Resources for the Humanities", which ran from 2020 to 2022. The articles in the journal represent several fields of the humanities and social sciences – sociology, linguistics, folklore studies, literary studies.

The articles provide an insight into the history and development of digital humanities resources and tools in Latvia, describe the principles and problematic situations in the development of individual resources, and analyse their content, illustrating the application of various digital humanities methods in research.

Contents and journal available:

On 6-9 September, in collaboration with the International Society for Folk Narrative Research (ISFNR) research group "Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming", Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of University of Latvia and Archives of Latvian Folklore organised a conference "Canonical and Non-canonical in Charming Texts and Practices" at the National Library of Latvia.

The conference was devoted to the coexistence and mutual influence of texts and practices based on the canon and popular religion and traditions.

The Archives of Latvian Folklore (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art) in collaboration with the ISFNR "Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming" is organising an international conference "CANONICAL AND NON-CANONICAL IN CHARMING TEXTS AND PRACTICES", which will take place on 6–9 September 2022 at the National Library of Latvia.