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Heritage Production, Handicraft and Desing

Anete Karlsone, Dr.hist. Researcher

Latvian Institute of History at the University of Latvia, Department of Ethnology


Individuals and Process of Creating the Latvian National Costume

Today Latvian national costume is used as one of the symbol of national identity. The Baltic Song and Dance Celebrations, inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008 (originally proclaimed in 2003), contain a festival procession of the participants in national costumes, too. The history of creating the national costume as a symbol of Latvian national identity was started in 1880ies in closely connection with Latvian Song festivals. It is an existing opinion from 1931 till nowadays regarding to national costume, that it should be “right” and “correct”. In such a way are considered accurate imitations of traditional folk costumes from the museums collections.  Nevertheless there was a long period of developing the national costume in the history when the role of individuals to create an image of the national costume was quite big.

The paper deals with process of creating the Latvian national costume in the period when individuals could express themselves more actively. All the time the process was under different influences of individuals. On the one hand there were individual persons – artists who created drafts for visual image of the costumes. On the other hand there were people who realized the drafts. The most significant it was in the period from 1904 to 1931, with big influence in subsequent years. In the period under discussion official recommendations, issued by Commission of the Costume of the Song Festival, allowed to make national costumes creatively according to individual taste, in the frame of the drafts. Till the 7th Latvian Song festival in 1931 the Commission of the Costume was composed of people, who considered that the Latvian national costume should look like a modern dress with features of Latvian traditional folk costume. Such opinion allowed everybody to make their costume according to individual sense and knowledge of heritage.


Emma Susi, Cultural producer / PhD student

City of Pori / University of Turku, Cultural Heritage Studies


Designed Cultural Heritage

Case study: how artisan uses the cultural heritage as a tool of design work

” When I am asked to define our heritage I do not think in dictionary terms, but instead I reflect on certain sights and sounds. I think of a morning mist on the Tweed at Dryburgh where the magic of Turner and the romance of Scott both come fleetingly to life; a celebration of the Eucharist in a quiet Norfolk Church with the medieval glass filtering the colours, and the noise of the harvesting coming through the open door… / Each scene recalls aspects of an indivisible heritage, and is part of the fabric and expression of our civilization.” (Lumley 2005, 16. In Corsane, Gerard (eds.) 2005: Heritage, Museums and Galleries. An Introductory Reader.)

How to define a cultural heritage and what does it mean in different cases? This is a problematic starting point for any studies, articles or presentations. I want to start with Patrick Cormack’s simple idea of cultural heritage. Cultural heritage is a combination of nature and build environment (intangible and tangible heritage). It’s something you can see, feel, hear and smell. It’s either individual or common feeling, even knowhow. I call this symbiosis as a produced heritage.

In my presentation I show how cultural heritage, that individual or commonly shared feeling, can be designed. I explain how artisan’s own roots, and local identity affect on design process. My case comes from South West Finland where was founded a unique arts and crafts collection, named JUUREVA. In addition I have interviewed a local blacksmith, who is also a part of JUUREVA community, for the theme of cultural heritage. Through her story I try to draw one picture of the cultural heritage and designed locality.

Doctoral thesis (work title): Cultural Heritage as a Product. The processes of the cultural production. Started in 2010. This presentation is based on the article I am preparing for the book about the idea of Cultural Heritage.



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