Intangible Cultural Heritage in European Social Space: Artistry and Cultural Practices
15th European Conference of Folk Culture of IOV took place in Riga (Latvia) on 3-4 September 2023. It was titled: „Intangible cultural heritage in European social space: artistry and cultural practices.” The conference was organized by IOV Science and Research Commission for Europe, IOV Latvian Section, Latvia National Centre for Culture, and The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia. Dr Aija Jansone, long-time member of The Steering Committee of IOV Science and Research Commission for Europe, was the chairperson of the organizing committee. The leading theme of the conference was intangible heritage, which has been recently a key issue debated by academics and activists who deal with heritage practices. Thus, understandably, the conference participants included scholars, educators and people who work in museums and cultural institutions, as well as practitioners of such heritage. The varied group of participants presented a broad spectrum of experiences connected with practising heritage, profusely exemplified and illustrated. The papers were presented by colleagues from China, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and, obviously, Latvia. The Polish Section of IOV was represented by members of The Steering Committee of IOV Science and Research Commission for Europe: prof. dr hab. Anna Brzozowska-Krajka, the chair of IOV Science and Research Commission for Europe with her paper on „The identification of man and the universe: symbolic motifs on painted eggs in creations by contemporary Polish folk artists,” dr hab. prof. of University of Silesia Katarzyna Marcol with her paper on „Folk handicraft – collective memory – identity,” dr hab. prof. of University of Silesia Kinga Czerwińska with her paper on „Let’s carry our tradition into the future! Handicrafts as a source of inspiration for contemporary activities. The example of Koniaków laces (in Poland),” and prof. dr hab. Wiesław Krajka, former long-time IOV Executive Secretary for Central and Eastern Europe. The papers discussed various issues and aspects of intangible cultural heritage in Europe, they viewed such heritage as a treasury of the past which is nowadays modified and continued according to needs of contemporary consumers of culture.
The first session, on the first day of the conference, took place in The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia, established in 1924 and opened for visitors in 1932, situated on the periphery of Riga, at lake Juglas. There, the conference participants could not only visit this open-air museum but also get to know some contemporary forms of Latvian folk art and crafts inspired by tradition which were exhibited in the fair open to everybody. This event, accompanying the conference, gave an excellent opportunity to learn about Latvian folk practices and crafts which promote and preserve intangible heritage.
The second and third sessions, on the second day of the conference, took place in The European Union House in Riga. There, after the sessions, an open meeting of IOV Science and Research Commission for Europe took place. The chair of this meeting, prof. Anna Brzozowska-Krajka (the chairperson of IOV Science and Research Commission for Europe), welcomed members of The Steering Committee of this Commission present at the conference: dr Aija Jansone from Latvia, prof. Larysa Vakhnina and prof. Oksana Mykytenko from Ukraine, prof. Rimantas Astrauskas from Lithuania, prof. Kinga Czerwińska and prof. Katarzyna Marcol from Poland. At the meeting current issues of work of the Commission were discussed, as well as forthcoming European conferences of folk culture were announced: in Cieszyn (Poland) by prof. Marcol, and Vilnius (Lithuania) by prof. Astrauskas.
The 15th IOV Conference of Folk Culture was concluded with sightseeing of the old town of Riga.
Our thanks and congratulations go to the organizers of this conference.
Text by Kinga Czerwińska and Wiesław Krajka Photos by Katarzyna Marcol