The Livonian Summer University will take place in Kuoštrõg (Košrags) from 30.07.2021 to 08.08.2021 and is the only university-level programme in the world devoted to the language, history, and culture of Latvia’s indigenous Livonian nation. The summer university is being organised by the University of Latvia Livonian Institute in cooperation with the University of Tartu. Its participants will include 40 master’s and doctoral students and researchers from Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Latvia.
During the Livonian Summer University, students will have the opportunity to begin studying Livonian or expand their existing knowledge as well as learn about Livonian history, culture, and life today. They will also discover the last territory historically inhabited by the Livonians – the Livonian Coast, which is the reason why this was chosen as the location for the summer university. At the same time, the summer university will give researchers participating from a wide array of fields a place to share in their experience and form new plans for future research into Latvia’s other indigenous nation and the preservation of the world’s smaller nations and languages.
The Livonian Summer University’s programme is rich and diverse and includes visits to the Livonian villages of northern Kurzeme, exposure to Livonian traditional music and Livonian food and cooking traditions as well as work with Livonian language consultants and participation in the activities of the Livonian children’s and youth summer school “Mierlinkizt” in Irē (Mazirbe). The summer university participants will also provide a fantastic opportunity to learn about modern Livonian culture as its programme will include a showing of “Nēmiz pǟl” (See you later!) created by director of Livonian descent Reinis Boters, the Livonian art installation “Mingiži līvliži äb ūo” (There are no Livonians) created in Pizā (Miķeļtornis), modern Livonian poetry readings, and also participation in the annual Livonian Festival.
The Livonian Summer University will also feature a string of seminars and master classes focused on research into Livonian grammar, exploration of folklore as well as creation of electronic resources for smaller languages and cultures. A separate master class will be devoted to Livonian language standardisation and the issues involved with creating new terms and place names in Livonian. As a result, a string of new words and terms necessary in everyday life will be added to the Livonian lexicon, as Livonian – just like every other language – must grow and evolve.
The Livonian Summer University is taking place already for the third time, but this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students from fewer countries than usual will be participating. Also, in order to meet epidemiological safety standards, a portion of the summer university will be held remotely.
The Livonian Summer University will take place in cooperation with the Latvian Language Agency and is financed by the Republic of Latvia Ministry of Education and Science and the University of Tartu ASTRA Project PER ASPERA (European Union, European Regional Development Fund). The seminars included in the Livonian Summer University are financed by the Latvian State Research Programme “Latvian Language” sub-project “Livonian Language” (VPP-IZM-2018/2-0002), the Fundamental and Applied Research Project “Documenting and Mapping Livonian Place Names and Creating an Official Place Name Register” (LZP-2019/1-0240), the Latvian State Research Programme “Digital Resources for Humanities: Integration and Development” (VPP-IZM-DH-2020/1-0001), and the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage “Re-voicing cultural landscapes: narratives, perspectives, and performances of marginalised intangible cultural heritage”.