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Reits gudruoks par vokoru. (LFK 508, 1454)

The #ScienceForUkraine initiative

The #ScienceForUkraine initiative is underway on Twitter Account @Sci_for_Ukraine. It is collecting information and tweeting about the help universities and research institutions offer to students and researchers from #Ukraine. Please use #ScienceForUkraine hashtag on Twitter to help us to find your tweet!

To join the initiative, please visit the website:, where the latest offers for Ukrainian students and researchers appear. Also visit the Twitter account @Sci_for_Ukraine, which publishes help offers from different countries.

When reporting the offered help to the Ukrainian research community, please add as many details as possible: institution, discipline, funding (yes/no), free accommodation (yes/no), for how long, email address, link to the website. That would help a lot!

There are a variety of ways in which you can help and even the smallest support makes a difference. The listings collected in our database contain following offers (often a combination of them):

Please note that what we are collecting here are offers directed specifically to scholars fleeing Ukraine, not general calls or programmes where everyone else can apply.

The initiative was initiated by researcher Sanita Reinsone from the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia. Read Yvan Pandele story on how initiative began "Meet the Latvian scholar rallying support for Ukrainian researchers".

#standForUkraineNow #RussiaInvadesUkraine #ScienceForUkraine

Commerce and Traditions. Conference

14th Conference of the SIEF Ritual Year Working Group "Commerce and Traditions"

1 – 4 June 2022, Riga (Latvia)
Deadline for proposals – 25th February 2022.


The impact of product marketing is visible in everyday life, including a wide range of traditions and festivities, which have lately become highly commercialized. In marketing terms, the values of traditional culture are considered “products” to be branded, marketed and sold. We have all experienced the pre-Christmas gift buying madness and have visited souvenir counters at major historical sites and cultural venues in different countries, each promoting their “brands”. Historically, annual church markets, fairs and pilgrimages attracted people from great distances, providing opportunities to buy, sell, and trade durable goods in addition to food and drink required by pilgrims and merchants. Additional items, such as religious symbols, protective objects, and healing substances were available much as in modern souvenir shops. The means for advertising such objects for sale were, at that time, limited. Today advertising and marketing campaigns appear everywhere. Many people protest against what they perceive as excessive commercialization of their favourite secular or religious festivals. However, marketing practices attract larger crowds and help to preserve and popularize traditions that might otherwise be lost. Commercialization has made the sale of traditional crafts financially viable, preserving them for future generations. Thus, craftspeople can continue practicing their traditional arts and crafts. Not only have the traditional artisans benefited, but religious institutions have witnessed an increase in income, which is needed to maintain the facilities visited by the growing numbers of visitors. New forms of commercialization of rituals with the developing practices of creating new festivals and making them local tourist brands can be seen in many geographical areas.

Let's start the new year with new research: a special issue of the journal ''Letonica'' has been published

We are pleased to announce that the 43rd issue of the journal Letonica has been published with a focus on the disciplinary history of folkloristics and related fields through the theoretical approaches of post-socialism and post-colonialism. The issue includes five articles – four of them are by Latvian researchers: Toms Ķencis, Anete Karlsone, llze Boldāne-Zeļenkova, Rita Grīnvalde and Rita Legčiļina-Broka, and they are joined by Ukrainian scholars Pavlo Artymyshyn and Roman Holyk. The issue is in English, on open access and is available here.

The guest editors of the issue are Toms Ķencis and Digne Ūdre.


The 2022 conference of the ISFNR Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming 6–9 September 2022, Riga (Latvia)

At various times and in various societies, there have existed, alongside the texts and practices based on the canons of science and religion, other unofficial but widely practiced traditions. The traditions of charms and folk medicine feature traits of both 'high' cultures and peripheral otherness, in practices that have interacted over time. Historically, their co-existence has often been peaceful and complementary, though at times violent as well. Traditions practiced by the masses could be banned and persecuted. This clash was based on the values of different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups, as well as economic considerations. At the same time, the antagonism between these values enriched tradition, whether that be the clashes between official religion and folk religion, permitted and forbidden medicine, correct and deluded texts and practices, or so on. Priests, monks and educated doctors have fought for the right to heal the people; church canons, prayers, and the cult of saints have influenced folk traditions; the development of conventional medicine has changed local traditions, while local conditions have determined the regional peculiarities of official religion and conventional medicine.
This conference aims to focus on canonical and non-canonical texts and practices, their coexistence and interaction over time. The conference also invites discussion on terminology and methodology of the discipline, analogue and digital resources, and future perspectives.

More about the conference:

Conference venue: National Library of Latvia Mūkusalas street 3, Rīga

Language: English

Abstract submission:

VHS recordings from the Archives of Latvian Folklore are now available!

This year, with the support of the SCCF programme "KultūrELPA", the Archives of Latvian Folklore (ALF) has digitised and processed VHS cassettes. We are starting with the release of the oldest video material from the 1980s! Today, we publish around 300 videos on the ALF YouTube channel, featuring traditional music as well as folk tales and stories. A large part of the material consists of stories and songs by Anna Brauna from Mālpils, Alma Makovska from Vandzene and Olga Pommere from the parish of Ļaudona. We invite you to watch Anna Brauna's story about Christmas presents in her childhood at the beginning of the 20th century.

Other storytellers and ensembles include Milda Kozule and Marija Kaviere from Laudona parish, Elza Cimdiņa, Augusts Cimdiņš and Marta Šūtele from Vecpiebalga, Emīlija Baumane from Lauciene, Ieva Bendorfa from Ventspils region, Anna Aigare and Klāvs Aigars from Nīca, Kristīne Upmale from Rucava, Upīte and Briežuciems ethnographic ensembles and others.

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The book "Alma Makovska's Tales" is published

This is the eleventh book in the "Folklore of the Regions" series, but the first book of fairy tales. All the tales were recorded in Vandzene from the oral narration of the storyteller Alma Makovska (1922-2004) between 1987 and 2003. The book contains 84 tales. She heard them in her childhood and youth from her father, her father's brothers, her mother, also at school and from local storytellers. Her native tradition of storytelling has been preserved over several generations.

To make it easier to read, the tales have been transformed into literary language, leaving some of the peculiarities of the dialect, but six of the tales are also in the Vandzene dialect. The cover is designed by Gita Treice, each chapter is introduced by an illustration drawn by her. The fairy tales are transcribed, with commentary, foreword and afterword by Guntis Pakalns. The book will soon be accompanied by an audio and/or video recording of each fairy tale, which will soon be available in the ALF Exhibitions Department.
The book has been published by the publishing house "Zinātne" with the support of the State Culture Capital Foundation.

Exhibition "Events in Riga"

The online exhibition "Events in Riga". It consists of 29 examples of narrative folklore and 38 photographs illustrating events that once took place in the city. The selection of texts from the Latvian Folklore Repository of the ILFA was made by Rita Grīnvalde. She is also the author of the photographs.

The exhibition has been prepared with the support of the SCCF programme "KultūrELPA" within the project "Providing Diverse Traditional Cultural Content in the Digital Environment".

Virtual exhibition "Sign Parks in Latvia"

A virtual exhibition "Sign Parks in Latvia". The exhibition documents a relatively recent tradition, specific to Latvia. Sign parks are specially designed areas in nature where large-scale environmental objects - ornaments - are installed alongside the natural environment in a man-made landscape. The origin of the tradition is closely linked to the mythological interpretation of Latvian ornament - signs are perceived as visual representations of deities and other mythological concepts, which in turn allows the development of the idea of the beneficial effect of signs on their users. Sign parks are one of the most creative testimonies to the popularity of the tradition today. The images and text of the exhibition are created by Digne Ūdre, researcher at ALF.

The exhibition was created with the financial support of the SCCF programme "KultūrELPA" and is part of the project "Providing Diverse Traditional Cultural Content in the Digital Environment".

Order of the Three Stars - Dace Bula, Elga Melne, Beatrise Reidzane and Mara Viksna

Before the national holiday, the President of Latvia Egils Levits and the Chapter of Orders have decided to award 60 people with the highest Latvian state honours for special merits in the service of the Latvian state. Four scientists of the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia were appointed officers of the Order of the Three Stars - Dace Bula, leading researcher, head of the Culture, Society and Environment Research Department, former director of the Institute and head of the Archives of Latvian Folklore, as well as Elga Melne, Beatrise Reidzāne and Māra Vīksna, researchers of the Archives of Latvian Folklore.


Ieva Tihovska participates in the Slavic Music Research Conference

From 20 to 23 October, the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) will host the third symposium of the research group "Music and Dance of the Slavic World" in Poznan. It opened with a presentation by ethnomusicologist Ieva Tihovska, UL ILFA researcher, on "Folk definitions of traditional music and folklore: A study of Latvian Slavic ensembles". The paper is based on a field study conducted by the researcher with Slavic ensembles that have categorised themselves as 'traditional music' in the Latvian National Culture Centre's shows. Given the stylistic diversity of the performances of these ensembles, which goes beyond a narrow understanding of traditional music, the researcher explored popular perceptions and motivations for associating themselves with this category.

Krišjānis Barons Conference "Folklore and Awakening"

The Krišjānis Barons Conference "Folklore and Awakening" took place from 28 to 29 October. This year, the conference was dedicated to the attitudes of folklore and awakening, as well as to the analytical assessment of the actions of personality, society and political power in the context of the Third Awakening.

The conference was attended by 16 speakers from various Latvian universities and research institutes. Plenary presentations were given by Guntis Šmidchens (University of Washington, Seattle, USA) and Valdis Muktupāvels (Faculty of Humanities, University of Latvia), focusing on the evaluation of folkloristic research and personal experience during the period of the Awakening.

Conference programme.
Booklet of summaries.
Video recordings of papers.

More about the Krišjānis Barons Conference and its history here.

Afternoon of Jumpravsala gardeners' stories

Within the framework of the project "Urban Experiences: Narratives, Memory and Place Heritage", researchers of the Archives of Latvian Folklore collect stories of Pārdaugava residents. On a cool and sunny Saturday, September 18, Una Smilgaine and Ieva Tihovska met with Jumpravsala gardeners Rasma Griņa, Aija Zīle, Aigars Zemīte, Valērijs, Gunārs, and Gatis. The talks were about the arrangement and significance of the garden ("If you are very stressed about something, put your hands on the ground", "help the children, give each one a box of tomatoes"), about the history and future of Jumpravsala gardens, about the anxiety and addiction on the lease of gardeners, on flooding, thieves and concerts, on the incompatibility of pears and junipers, on beetles eating pigeons, the possibility of keeping a horse, the celebration of Midsummer and birthdays, assistance and organized help. We visited the Aija garden, where a two-meter-long lily grew this year, and the oldest garden houses in Jumpravsala, built in the 20th century 40s.

Photo - Ieva Tihovska

Two new exhibitions: for Rita Drīzule and Boris Infantjev – 100!

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of two folklorists – Rita Drizule and Boris Infantjev - the Archives of Latvian Folklore (ALF) has created a new digital exhibition space and published extensive exhibitions dedicated to these scientists. In the new exhibitions, you can read stories about the life and research of Drīzule and Infantjev, go on a picture walk, listen to excerpts from interviews and follow the links leading to further reading. More about exhibitions in Latvian here.

Exhibition Rita Drīzule – 100.

Exhibition Boris Infantjevs – 100.

The new ALF exhibition space is part of the project "Provision of Diverse Traditional Cultural Content in the Digital Environment", which has received funding from the SCCF's target program "KultūrELPA".

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ALF researchers get to know Dzirciems, Iļģuciems, and Dzegužkalns

On September 10, within the project "Urban Experiences: Narratives, Memory and Place Heritage", the project participants and other researchers of the Archives of Latvian Folklore got to know Dzirciems, Iļģuciems, and Dzegužkalns. We also looked at old buildings that have survived in small streets from the end of the 19th century, carefully restored and almost lost houses, places related to the lives of important people, Nordeķi manor and park, former cinema "Ilga", Riga St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, which was once a warehouse and cinema, but now an ascetic church with a wonderful garden, as well as the highest mountain in Riga - Dzegužkalns. We ended the walk with the narrators Māra and Juris Vīksna, where we heard stories about the building built in 1911, as well as its inhabitants and life in the neighborhood.

We always invite you to submit your memories, adventures, and stories about your experience in Pārdaugava. To do so, click here.

The event gallery can be viewed here.

How can help to revive heroes?

The team of the digital archive of the Archives of Latvian Folklore invites those interested to the first virtual meeting on September 24 at 11:00 on the ZOOM platform to share with the example of music collector Voldemārs Stelbergs how can help bring to life important folklore contributions in the regions. In the second part of the seminar, we will practically try how to use more conveniently.

More information in Latvian.

The seminars have been organized with the financial support of the State Culture Capital Fund and the budget sub-program 05.04.00 "Krišjāņa Barona Dainu skapis" of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia.