Ethnographer, Society, and Art: Symbiosis of Ethnology and Art and Discourse of the Soviet Colonialism in Latvia

Fundamental and Applied Research Project

Project “Ethnographer, Society, and Art: Symbiosis of Ethnology and Art and Discourse of the Soviet Colonialism in Latvia”

Project No: Lzp-2023/1-0052
Project implementation: 01.01.2024. - 31.12.2026.
Project funding: 300000 EUR
Funded by: Latvian Council of Science
Scientific institutions: The Institute of Latvian History of University of Latvia, Art Academy of Latvia
Scientific supervisor: Dr.hist. Anete Karlsone (The Institute of Latvian History, )
Senior researcher and the leader of the Art Academy of Latvia group: Inese Sirica ()
Project coordinator AAL – Iveta Feldmane, e-mail:


Abstract: This project in humanities and arts sets as its goal the creation of new knowledge about social processes during the Soviet occupation of Latvia, promoting public awareness of them through research into the history of ethnology and the ways in which the ethnographic heritage was utilized in art. In the time since independence was regained, this will be the first academic assessment of Soviet-period ethnology, enhancing public appreciation of the system of knowledge production, dissemination and control as it was under the Soviet totalitarian regime, and of the role that ethnography and art played in preserving national identity. Archive records and other written historical sources as well as interviews with Soviet-period eyewitnesses and younger-generation informants will be used to investigate how ethnological knowledge was created and how it was employed, both in the service of Soviet ideological aims and also as a resource for strengthening national identity under conditions of colonialism. The research will be undertaken jointly by researchers and students of the Institute of Latvian History (University of Latvia) and the Art Academy of Latvia, their findings disseminated via internationally accessible academic articles and oral papers, in addition to which we will hold a conference and exhibition, and publish a collective monograph. Progress in the project will be regularly communicated to the public via social media, artistic masterclasses and other activities.


Project tasks: (1) data sets on Academy of Arts diploma archive from the 20th century 40s to the end of the 80s (ceramics, textile art, design and interior). Digitization of diploma archive for 2) defended master's thesis in the field of Art History and Theory; 3) defended doctoral thesis; 4) presentation of research results at local and international conferences; 5) exhibition; 6) scientific publications.

AAL TEAM Inese Sirica, project leader
MA Una Valtere, doctoral student, project participant
BA Santa Sleikša, master student, project participant
Coordinator: Iveta Feldmane