ARCHIVES OF LATVIAN FOLKLORE IN OUR DAY
Over the whole period of its existence the ALF has retained its three main fields of activities: archiving of folklore (collection, processing and storage), along with publication of folklore and its studies. Folklore archiving is still a current task, now using modern methods and technologies, including material digitisation and on-line publication.
In 2014 the digital archive of the Archives of Latvian Folklore was opened garamantas.lv (head: Sanita Reinsone), with the aim to make the materials of the Archives holdings — manuscripts, images, audio and video recordings, and other valuable collections of folklore materials with the total of ca. 3 million folklore items available on-line and easily usable. The following is the staff of the Digital Archives Group: Elīna Gailīte, Justīne Jaudzema, Anna Laganovska, Kristīne Pokratniece, Antra Upeniece, Digne Ūdre and Elvīra Žvarte.
The collections of ALF are continuously enlarged through material gathered. In collaboration with the National Library of Latvia in 2015 and 2016 professional studio sound recordings of the ethnographic groups from different parts of Latvia are made. In our day the researchers of ALF mainly collect folklore during individual field work — according to the respective researcher’s interests. The folklorists also study the unpublished archive material from the holdings of ALF and other collections of documents. Dace Bula concentrates her research on folklore aesthetics, the use of folklore in national ideology and policy of identity, the history of international folkloristics, folklore theory and methods, modern traditional culture, narratives of local and professional identity in modern urban environment. The research interests of Anita Vaivade are related to the conceptualisation of the intangible culture heritage in law. Māra Vīksna studies diverse matters related to the history of folkloristics (the contributors to “Latvju dainas”, folklore collectors, informants, personalities of folklorists, the collection process) and regional folklore (Sēlija – an ethnographic region in south-eastern Latvia, districts of Saldus and Alūksne, etc.). Rita Treija also studies the history of folkloristics (especially concentrating on work of Anna Bērzkalne), folk religiosity and written folklore (Latvian cemetery epitaphs).
Elga Melne studies the problems of folksong text variation, as well as the customs and folklore of fishermen, while Beatrise Reidzāne analysis the semantic processes in Latvian folksongs. A scholarly interest in both children folklore and the classic folksongs is what Baiba Krogzeme-Moosgard (studying schoolchildren memory albums) and Una Smilgaine (with her research interests being lullabies, dandling songs, and also folk medicine) have in common.
The research interests of Guntis Pakalns are as follows: the history of the main editions of Latvian narrative folklore; traditional and contemporary legends, folk-tales; modern storytelling traditions; jokes and joking, especially on the web. Similarly narratives are also one of the research objects for Sanita Reinsone (oral narratives on relationships of the man and nature — losing one’s way and the notion of it; life in the forest after the WWII in the context of national resistance; also — crowdsourcing pratctices of tradition archives, as well as the history of digitising of traditional culture) and Sandis Laime (legends, especially the ones connected to the cultural landscape, also the religion of the Latvians — the lower mythology and cult places, writings on rocks, the collection of Dāvis Ozoliņš).
Aldis Pūtelis researches the Latvian mythology, its available sources and descriptions, and in parallel – the history of folklore sound recordings. Similarly the scholarly interests of Gatis Ozoliņš are related to mythology and the practice of the national neo-pagan religion dievturi, but also aimed at the folklore collections originating from Ērgļi region. Toms Ķencis studies the magic spells and expressions of folklore in art – along with mythology. The Latvian tradition of magic spells, traditional music, folk religion and visual documentation of folklore is the field of interest for Aigars Lielbārdis. Ieva Tihovska works in the field of ethnomusicology, studying the traditional music, games and other genres of the gypsies (Roma people) of Latvia.
The researchers of ALF are involved in implementation of several scholarly research projects: the budget sub-programme of the Ministry of Education of Science of Republic of Latvia No. 05.04.00 “The Cabinet of Folksongs of Krišjānis Barons”; the Head of the programme: Rita Treija; the Project No. 4 “Culture and Identities in Latvia: Heritage and Modern Practice” (the Project’s leader: Benedikts Kalnačs) of the State research programme "Letonika – History, Language, Culture, Values of Latvia"; the project of the Latvian Council of Science “The Institutionalisation of Folkloristics in Latvia: The Intellectual History of the Discipline in the European Context” (the Project’s leader: Dace Bula), as well as others.
Some of the works of the folklorists are published in the series “Novadu folklora” (“The Regional Folklore”), “Folkloristikas bibliotēka” (“The Library of Folkloristics”), “Tradicionālā mūzika Latvijā” (“The Traditional Music in Latvia”), “Studia humanitarica” and “LFK krājums” (“The Collection of ALF”). The researchers of ALF have authored numerous scholarly articles, and regularly participate in scholarly conferences both in Latvia and abroad. Every year since 1981 in the last days of October ALF organises a conference dedicated to Krišjānis Barons, drawing the attention of a wide range of folklorists and representatives of other disciplines. The papers presented at the conference become the basis of peer-reviewed scholarly articles, published in the journal of humanities “Letonica”.
Last time modified: 12.09.2016 13:22:13