Starting from 2014 until 2017 the LAC Research Centre implements the State Research Programme "Habitus: Sustainability of Latvian Cultural Traditions in an Innovative Environment". The Programme is carried out in the state research programme priority area Letonika (worked out by the Ministry for Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia), focusing on history, languages and cultural values of Latvia. The head of the programme is Dr. art. Rūta Muktupāvela, Rector of the Latvian Academy of Culture.
The framework of the programme includes the project "Sustainability of Latvian Cultural Traditions in an Innovative Environment". The project is carried out by an interdisciplinary group of researchers from several universities in collaboration with the interested parties in the preservation and research of intangible culture heritage in Latvia and abroad.
The mission of the programme "Habitus" and the project "Sustainability of Latvian Cultural Traditions in an Innovative Environment 2014-2017" is to focus on three research objectives: to discover, to apply and to communicate.
The aim of the programme is to establish the preconditions and inheritance criteria of culture traditions that characterise national identity in a changing environment saturated with innovations. It is also aimed at the research of cultural, social, economic, technological and political aspects of the tradition of the Song and Dance Festival, and a comparison of the development of this tradition in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
The branch partners of the programme are the Latvian National Centre for Culture, UNESCO Latvian National Commission, the Council of the Creative Unions of Latvia, the Latvian Folklore Association, and the Non-Governmental Association “Culturelab”. The researchers of the programme indicate that the cooperation with their branch partners is an essential part of their work, which results in both the identification of the issues of the research field and the elaboration and implementation of solution scenarios.
The Baltic Co-ordinating Committee on Safeguarding and Revitalization of the Song and Dance Celebration Tradition, the Latvian National Centre for Culture and the local Latvian governments are all looking forward to the research results of the state research programme "Habitus" as they need to take important financial decisions for the preservation of these traditions.
The results of the programme will significantly enhance theoretical understanding of the rules and mechanisms of the inheritance of cultural tradition in the contemporary cultural, social, economic and political environment. The results of the research will be shared at national and international research seminars and conferences, as well as published in a monograph. It is also noteworthy to emphasise the contribution to and promotion of the growth of the new generation of researchers and their integration in both the academic and cultural environment.
For more information visit: http://habitus.lka.edu.lv/language/en/habitus/
Head of the Project
Prof., Dr. sc. soc. Anda Laķe, email@example.com
Since 2013 the river Svētupe, which is 48 km long and is situated in north Vidzeme, had become the main subject of an interdisciplinary research. With the support of the Latvian Council of Science the LAC Research Centre was implementing the research project “The Vidzeme River Svētupe in the Mythical and Real Cultural Space”. The river and its banks were explored from the viewpoint of archaeology, folklore studies, linguistics and ethnology, applying the methodological framework of the abovementioned disciplines, thus probing deep into changes and development of the cultural landscape of the river from prehistory to the present day.
The aim of this research was to study the essence and significance of the cultural landscape of the river Svētupe in a complex and interdisciplinary way by examining whether and how an extraterritorial and hydrogeological object can form the identity of the riverside and its people. The project was completed in December, 2016.
While working on the project, the banks of the river Svētupe were surveyed on foot and by boats, establishing the population of the river banks and the use of the river for economic purposes both in the past and present.
A large-scale field study was performed in the territory of the project – the river Svētupe and its adjoining territories 0.5 km in width:
During the implementation of the project:
The students of the sub-programme of the LAC “Traditional Culture and Folklore” were involved in collecting the empirical data for the project. It promoted the interaction of academic knowledge and research as the new generation was involved in the research; thus the students were enabled to acquire practical skills and test their theoretical knowledge of folklore studies, ethnology and archaeology by applying the methods of these disciplines and studying their specific nature.
The materials collected in field studies were examined in accordance with the scientific standards and methodological requirements of the relevant disciplines, namely, the audio materials collected during the interviews (more than 60 hours) were deciphered and transcribed; the place descriptions were officially registered; descriptions and drawings of antiques were made; structures were measured; conventional air and underwater photos were described; radiocarbon dating of the hydraulic structures from the upper reaches of the Svētupe was obtained; the contact copies of inscriptions and signs from the Liv sacrifice caves were electronically processed, metric data and descriptions were brought together.
The hydrological object of cultural and historical significance located on the bank of the Svētupe – the dam of the Jaunupe - was inspected and documented during the implementation of the project. The obtained information was submitted to the State Inspection for Cultural Heritage Protection in order to decide whether it could be granted the conservation status of a national heritage site. The existence of the Svētupe waterway was established and documented.
The research findings allow us to conclude that the river Svētupe, which is a mid-sized river for the Latvian circumstances, forms a united cultural and historical region in Vidzeme; it has its own characteristic cultural landscape and unique features of local identity. In its time the Svētupe used to be an important waterway while the banks of the river were and still are a populated area. It provides the local communities not only with nature’s benefits of everyday use, but it also forms a definite folklore repertoire and a sense of belonging to one’s locality that is very important; it also contributes to enriching the Latvian national culture as a whole.
The project achieved a high visibility in the local community and in the media: seminars with presentations were organised in the localities of the Svētupe riverside – Pāle, Lauvas and Viļķene, and popular scientific articles were published by the local press. Papers based on materials collected during the project were also presented in Riga, Valmiera, Kuldīga and Milzkalne. Research findings and results of the project were presented at a number of international conferences and published in a collection of research papers “The Vidzeme River Svētupe in the Mythical and Real Cultural Space” (compiled and edited by Professor Juris Urtāns. – Rīga: Nordik, 2015).http://www.janisroze.lv/lv/gramatas/vesture/arheologija-novadpetnieciba/vidzemes-svetupe-mitiskaja-un-realaja-kulturtelpa.html
Based on the project’s benefits, new research paper collections are being prepared about the riverside homes of the Svētupe (Janīna Kursīte, Rasma Noriņa and Juris Urtāns) and the Liv sacrifice caves (Juris Urtāns and Sandis Laime).
Head of the Project
Prof., Dr.hist., Dr.habil.art. Juris Urtāns, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr.habil.philol. Janīna Kursīte, Dr.philol. Sandis Laime, Dr.art Rūta Muktupāvela, Mag.hist. Rasma Noriņa, Dr.art Ieva Vītola