Activity 220.127.116.11 “Post-doctoral Research Aid” of the Specific Objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovative capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and the ability to attract external financing, investing in human resources and infrastructure” of the Operational Programme “Growth and Employment”
Project name: Fundamental research “Culture and the arts as a source of social resilience in societal crises: The case of cultural industries in Latvia”
Project implementer: Liene Ozoliņa
Contract No.: 18.104.22.168/VIAA/4/20/605
Project implementation period: 01.01.2021 – 30.06.2023
Project funding: EUR 111 504,90, including:
This research project aims to examine the ways in which culture and the arts serve as a source of social resilience in societal crises. A multi-sited ethnography will be conducted to study what new forms of cultural activities, products, and relations with the audiences are emerging in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and what forms of social connectedness, solidarity, and well-being they foster. The methods used will include participant observation, interviews, document analysis, and analysis of cultural products and artefacts. The findings will make a contribution, firstly, to sociological theory development on the social impact of culture and the arts and on social resilience in neoliberal societies, and, secondly, to evidence-based policy making, aiding utilisation of the potential of the cultural industries for economic and social development.
In the second quarter of the research project “Culture and the arts as a source of social resilience in societal crises”, Liene continued developing the conceptual framework for the study and started ethnographic fieldwork for the first case study. The focus of the investigation in this stage has been specifically on the connections between art and politics and the conceptual resources and the apposite methodological approaches to explore these. On May 28th, Liene spoke at an international symposium “Communist Hauntings”, hosted by the Birkbeck College, University of London. The event brought together social and cultural theorists and artists to reflect on the ways in which artistic practices and artefacts can serve to study post-communist social reality. In a paper entitled “Taking Concepts Home”, Liene explored the possibilities and the limits of the conceptual resources provided by Western social theory to understand East European past and present. The papers presented at the conference are planned to be published in an edited volume. Liene will contribute both as an editor and an author.
In the second quarter of the project, a number of public engagement and training activities took place. Liene took part in a discussion organized by the IR Domuzīme magazine on the causes and consequences of the gap between the state and society in Latvia. The discussion was published in the May issue of IR Domuzīme magazine as well as on the magazine’s online platform. On June 3rd, Liene gave a lecture on ethnographic methodology at the Latvian Academy of Culture, attended by undergraduate and graduate students. Liene also attended a number of seminars and training events (all online due to the ongoing restrictions), including a workshop on Interdisciplinary Public Engagement on April 14th, organized by the British National Co-Ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, a seminar on Mnemonic Solidarity, organized by the Memory Studies Association on April 23rd, and a British Council Estonia seminar on Arts for Social Inclusion on June 8th. Liene also benefited from two workshops organized by VIAA - on scientific publishing and bibliometrics (May 6th) and on transferable skills for researchers (May 13th).
The core tasks of the first three months of the project were to study relevant scientific literature and to start elaborating the research design. Researcher read studies and recent publications on the social impact of art, the relationship between the arts and politics, as well as social resilience. The literature review included the following publications:
In March, Researcher attended training on online research methods as well as on the role of the arts in narrating collective memory and identity (both organized by the School of Advanced Study, University of London). Networking activities included online seminars with colleagues from Birkbeck College (University of London) and University of Tallinn in order to exchange knowledge on arts-based research methods.