LV Latviski

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:

The 6th Estonian Digital Humanities Conference will take place on Sept 26-27 in the Conference Centre of the University of Tartu Library (Struve 1).

The conference seeks to share knowledge and support co-operation in digital humanities in Estonia and internationally. This year the main focus is on applications and tools for working with textual data. Additionally, presentations and discussions on all areas associated with digital and computational humanities are welcome, in order to develop a stronger community of the field in Estonia and neighbouring countries.

The conference will be attended by our researcher Jānis Daugavietis "Motivation to engage in creative crowdsourcing: case of campaign "Recite Veidenbaums’ Poetry!".

Presentations, discussions and workshops at the conference are in English.

The conference is followed by the 8th Conference Human Language Technologies – The Baltic Perspective ( on September 27-29.

The programme and registration information is available at the conference web page

Conference is organized by the Centre for Digital Humanities and Information Society at University of Tartu in cooperation with Estonian Society for Digital Humanities, Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies, CAA Estonia, and Archaeovision R&D.

Letonica 36

In June 2018, the 36th issue of the interdisciplinary scholarly journal "Letonica" was published. This peer-reviewed journal is indexed in "Scopus", ERIH PLUS and EBSCO, and its contents are available online.

A year ago, the International Council on Archives’ Section on University and Research Institution Archives (ICA-SUV) held its annual conference in Riga. The conference, "Cultural Heritage Materials–University, Research and Folklore Archives in the 21st Century",was organized in cooperation with the National Archives of Latvia and the Archives of Latvian Folklore, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia. Its main focus was on the folklore archives and archival methodology regarding intangible cultural heritage. One of the key topics of the methodological and intellectual debate was the new standardization in archives, the Records in Contexts conceptual model.


The second edition of the international conference "Queer Narratives in European Cultures" on June 7–8, 2018 in Riga gathers scholars from various fields of humanities who deal with LGBTI history and queer theory. The conference will be focused on the region of the Baltic States and their neighboring countries – the region of East and Central Europe where LGBTI and queer studies are still an emerging discipline. Due to the historical conditions and the post-socialist legacy, LGBTI activism and scholarship of gay and lesbian history of the region has developed almost simultaneously with queer theory and its politics of difference and anti-representation. The conference will focus on both of these divisions, serving as a meeting point for scholars of different backgrounds and disciplines.

The full conference programme and website:

Picture: Jaanus Samma NSFW. A Chairman’s Tale. Props. 2015. Photo by Reimo Võsa-Tangsoo.

The very first Baltic Summer School of Digital Humanities (BSSDH 2018) on July 17–20, 2018 offers an introductory crash-course to the text mining methods, use of digital tools and resources in humanities and social sciences. The programme is co-taught by an international team of researchers and practitioners of digital humanities and social sciences and is delivered in a form of lectures and practical workshops covering: corpus analysis, computational stylistics, data journalism, GIS in the Humanities, data visualization.