Cultures, Crisis, Consolidations – 2014 BSCE in Tallinn

Dec 4, 2013

The theme “Cultures, Crises, Consolidations in the Baltic World” brought together 243 participants from 19 countries for the 10th Conference on Baltic Studies in Europe held in Tallinn from 16-19June 2013.

On the first day of the conference, the opening ceremony featured speeches by Katrin Niglas, Vice-Rector for Research of Tallinn University, and Anu-Mai Kõll from Södertörn University who presented her already almost historical personal experience with more than thirty years of organising international Baltic conferences in Sweden and Europe. The first day ended with a reception given by Tiit Land, rector of Tallinn University.

Traditionally, the European conferences attract many participants from the Baltic States, especially if they are held in one of the university cities in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. This was also the case at CBSE 2013. Thus the Tallinn conference, held in the beautiful new buildings of the university, became the exciting forum for mostly younger scholars in the fields of humanities and social sciences concerned with Baltic issues it was supposed to be. Thanks to the organisers, coffee breaks and also lunch time took place both in the same venue where the panels were held. Therefore, it was very convenient to continue the discussions during the breaks where everyone could stick together or meet old friends and make interesting new contacts.

The eight sections saw more than 70 panels of which 20 had been organised by the participants themselves. With 28 panels the “History and Memory” section was the largest. Two roundtables were devoted to the issues of “Colonial Regimes in the Baltic States” and “Getting Published”. There were also two key-note speeches, given by Eglė Rindzevičiūtė (“The Geopolitics of Distinction: How the Regional Past is Accommodated in Museums in the Baltic States”) and Andres Kasekamp (“Baltic cooperation: past and present”). For those interested, Tallinn University’s Baltic Film and Media School presented one of the most charming recent Estonian films, Elavad Pildid (Living Pictures, dir. Hardi Volmer), which was produced in 2013 to celebrate a hundred years of Estonian film.

As always, the final evening offered the social highlight. Tuesday night was spent in the stimulating company of distinguished colleagues and exciting medieval food in Tallinn’s charming Old Town.

During the closing ceremony, Karsten Brüggemann revealed the secret everybody was keen to learn about: the 11th CBSE will be held at the Herder-Institut in Marburg/Germany in the fall of 2015. A proud Peter Wörster from the Marburg institute cordially invited everyone to participate in the next Conference on Baltic Studies in Europe.