Fluid identities are marked by the historically multicultural area of Istria. A special example of such a phenomenon is represented by the three towns of the “Slovenian Coast”, which – after the Second World War, and especially after the annexation of Istria to Yugoslavia in 1954 – underwent major demographic changes, both political and social. These changes were mirrored onto the built environment which was shaped by architect Edo Mihevc and many others before him. On a walk following in the footsteps of post-war Koper, we will discover which buildings, squares, or just hidden streets speak of a time of tectonic shifts of the post-war years.
Assist. Prof. Neža Čebron Lipovec, PhD (1980) graduated in Art History and Italian Language and Literature in 2004, at the Faculty of Arts (University of Ljubljana. After a period as teacher of Italian language at Language Schools, she enrolled in the »Master after Master« study in Conservation of Monuments and Sites at the oldest international school for heritage conservation, the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (RLICC), at the Catholic University in Leuven (Belgium). In 2007 she completed her master studies with a research on modernist architecture in historic city centres, analysing the architecture of Edo Mihevc in Koper (Slovenia) as case-study. She obtained her PhD in History of Europe and the Mediterranean in 2018 at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska (Slovenia) with an interdisciplinary thesis of the post-war building of Slovenian coastal towns, where she focused on the role of regionalism and traditionalism in architecture, in relation to built heritage in contested spaces.
In the years 2006-2008 she worked at the RLICC in Belgium as researcher and teaching assistant, within a establishing UNESCO chair PRECOMOS on preventive conservation and maintenance of built heritage. Within the work at RLICC she participated at different international projects around the world (Ethiopia, Egypt, India). Since 2009 she has been a pedagogical and research associate at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Primorska, where she works within the Department and the Institute of Archeology and Heritage. She is a lecturer for various subjects related to architectural history, conservation and heritage management at all three levels of study. She has participated in numerous international projects (especially Interreg and Creative Europe) and national scientific research projects dedicated to the architectural and urban development of Istrian towns, heritage management and interpretation, as well as to heritage discourse and related anthropological methods. She has published several scientific articles and independent monographs on these topics (Edo Mihevc 2011; Koper – urban genesis 2020), both at home and abroad. She is a member of the executive board of ICOMOS Slovenia and the International Association for Critical Heritage Studies.
During the tour the group discovered the architectural, historical and social story of Fužine. The group learned about the origins and short history of Fužine before construction, Fužine as an example of an ideal “communist” neighbourhood – urban planning, “Yugoslavia in miniature” – multiculturalism and assimilation, the group looked at graffiti art, and end the tour with the transformation of Fužine from ghetto to neighbourhood with high real estate prices.
The House of Knud Rasmussen, Identity on The Line, The Greenlandic House in Copenhagen, and the Greenlandic Representation worked together on this guided tour with 2 activities.
Guided tour with Lars Lerche, MA and Head of Exhibitions and Events at The Greenlandic House in Copenhagen.
First, a guided city walk from The Greenlandic House in Copenhagen, through the city, that ended in front of the Greenlandic Representation. On the city walk our guide Lars Lerche, MA and Head of Exhibition and Events at The Greenlandic House in Copenhagen, focused on a street art project called Landic Project. Since 2015, an unknown artist has hung up Greenlandic mosaics in Copenhagen. Today, about 70 mosaics can be found in Copenhagen, but a handful can also be found in the city of Odense and now in two cities in Greenland: Ilulissat and Nuuk. The artist is anonymous but a video has been sent to The Greenlandic House in Copenhagen with the title ‘Landic I’ and can be seen on their website. Landic Project works with topics such as Greenland and Denmark, the Kingdom of Denmark, and its postcolonial structures.
After the Citywalk, we visited the Greenlandic Representation, where Jens Heinrich, PhD and Head of Representation, and his team told us about their role as representation in Denmark.
The task of the Greenland Representation is to provide services to the Nalaakkersuisut, Inatsisartut, the central administration, the Self-Government companies, and the municipalities, and including to handle the tasks that it is most appropriate to solve in or from Denmark.
Contact to the Greenlandic House in Copenhagen can be found here: https://www.sumut.dk/
Contact to the Greenlandic Representation can be found here: https://grl-rep.dk/en/rep/
Follow Landic Project on Instagram: @landicproject and read about it and see the video on the Greenlandic House in Copenhagen’s website: https://www.sumut.dk/da/kultur/mosaikmysteriet/
The exhibition was opened in July 2019. It is dedicated to the post-war history of Slupsk and Pomerania, the settlers in Slupsk, their work, and their everyday lives, which made the city the place we know today. The Museum of the Central Pomerania in Slupsk has been working on the subject for many years, thus we eagerly joined the “Identity on the Line” project, as it corresponded perfectly with one of our main directions of future development.
Although we – as the museum with various collections – always claim that the genuine objects are the strength of the museum institutions, this time the core of the exhibition is also recordings of the narrations told by the people who were the witnesses and participants of the almost total exchange of the population in Pomerania after 1945. The layout of the exhibition includes multimedia, which shows the changes in the Polish borders in the post-war times, the number of settlers from different parts of the country and the world, maps of the city in different times, historical buildings, and some of the people who left their imprint on the place. The objects shown are both official documents and artifacts, as well as very personal objects brought by the settlers from their former home to Slupsk or the items they treasured during their life here.
Both the stories and the objects show the connections and diffusion between the German and Polish history of the city.
However, the real strength of the exhibition is the emotions it evokes. Some of them are difficult ones since the stories told by the settlers and the Germans who stayed in Slupsk after the war often include drastic elements. But many of the emotions are positive or even happy when visitors find something that reminds them of their past, childhood, or family. It applies to people from different parts of Poland because the post-war settlers came from various regions of the country, including those which became part of the Soviet Union after the second world war, as well as from exile in Siberia and Kazakhstan, concentration camps, or forced labor abroad.
The exhibition has also high educational value, especially when it comes to school children. Nowadays, most of them don’t know where their family came from. In a way, it’s a good thing, since they have the feeling of belonging to the city and region. On the other hand, however, the exhibition helps them to start their search for their roots, which plays important role in creating people’s identities.
Nonetheless, the subject of the post-war change of the population in Pomerania is a sensitive one, which makes is challenging when it comes to education. Therefore, it is based on role-playing and educational games which help young children experience some of it in a safe environment.
The exhibition was prepared by the curator Dorota (Ciecholewska) Hanowska for the opening of the White Granary which was revitalized with UE funds in 2019. She is also part of the Polish I-ON team. She is a historian and library scientist and has been working in our museum for 31 years, exploring different fields of interest, including education, during her career. Presently, she is the head of the Library and Special Collections Department and the post-war history of Slupsk is the main domain of her professional studies. She received several awards for her work and pro-public bono activities.
The Museum of the Pomeranian folk Culture in Swolowo is one of the two departments in the open air of the Museum of the Central Pomerania in Slupsk. It was first opened in 2008. Since then the Museum has been taking over other buildings in the village, in an effort to save as many of its historical buildings as possible. Swolowo is known as ‘the capital of the Checked Land’, which refers to the framework architecture, characteristic of this part of Pomerania. Moreover, the original, medieval layout of the village survived up to these days.
In beautiful, rectangular crofts the Museum recreates the life of a rich German farmer, showing not only the interiors of the houses based on the information received from their former inhabitants but also the everyday work and local traditions, livestock, the secrets of carpentry and brewery, bread ovens, a smithy, a firehouse and many other aspects of the pre-war village. Besides the original objects and photos from Swołowo and nearby villages, the exhibitions are supported by modern multimedia.
The Museum presents also temporary exhibitions and organizes several events for the public connected with local traditions.
Also, the post-war inhabitants are mentioned together with the social and political context of the 1940s and 1950s. Swołowo was also a place of another original and more contemporary project – the cultural and social aspects of the garden plots popular in the towns up to this day.
The newest part of the Museum shows a narrative exhibition, which presents stories of who lived in the village and nearby during the second world war, including forced laborers from various places in Europe.
The idea, concept, and implementation of the creative department in Swołowo was the initiative of Marzenna Mazur and her team. Today, Marzena Mazur is the director of the Museum of the Central Pomerania in Słupsk and the leader of the Polish I-ON team. She has wide experience in UE projects, which include not only the revitalization of Swołowa, but also the white Granary in Słupsk and the project of cooperation with the Museum in Bad Windsheim in Germany. At the moment, apart from the “Identity on the Line”, among others she also implements the governmental project of revitalization of the Red Granary in Słupsk. However, as an ethnographer, she is very attentive to the culture and traditions of Pomerania, as well as the heritage brought here by the post-war settlers. As much as the times allow her, she actively cooperates with contemporary folk initiatives.
Dawid Gonciarz is the present head of the Museum of the Pomeranian Folk Culture in Swołowo. From the very beginning, he was a member of the team involved in the reviving project. He is an ethnographer, and among others focuses on local architecture and building techniques. As a musician, he is active in the field of modern folk culture.
The West-Kashubian Museum in Bytów is situated in the oldest part of a Teutonic castle. However, a big part of it is dedicated to the ethnographical collection and the indigenous Slavic population – the Kashubians. The rest of the Museum presents the local Gryfitas dynasty and the history of the town and region.
The ethnographic exhibition shows the Kashubian through their daily occupation: fishing, beekeeping, collecting berries and mushrooms in forests, hunting, blacksmithing, wheelwrighting, carpentry, cooperage, weaving, and also interiors of a Kashubian house.
The Kashubians were able to preserve their culture and language for ages – they were first mentioned in written documents in the 13th century. They were usually fishermen and farmers. They were Catholics, but with their own Kashubian traditions. Today, tangible Kashubian culture is mostly associated with their folk costume, embroidery, and ceramics.
The Kashubian language differs from Polish and after several centuries of coexistence includes many imports from the German language. After the second world war, Kashubians were often perceived as Germans and during the socialistic regime their culture was marginalized and suppressed.
Nowadays, their language is taught in Polish schools. The Kashubian culture is present in everyday life, the names on the road signs in the region are written both in Polish and Kashubian, and Kashubian characters are used in cinematography.
Dr Tomasz Siemiński is the director of the West-Kashubian Museum in Bytów. He is an ethnographer, and his fields of interest are mostly unprofessional arts, as well as historic and contemporary folklore. Dr Siemiński is also the President of the Gdańsk Department of the Polish Folkloric Society.
Jaromir Szroeder is the head of the Ethnographical Department of the West-Kashubian Museum. Among others, he organizes the Cassubia Cantat music festival, where folk motives are used by contemporary artists. He received an award from the Pomeranian Self-government for his temporary exhibition “From ritual to the stage. The devil’s fiddle in cultural space of Poland”.
Both Dr Tomasz Siemiński and Jaromir Szroeder were also recognized by the Pomeranian Self-government for their permanent exhibition “Józef Chełmowski. Portrait of an artist and a man”.
The excursion in the territory of the Vilnius Ghetto was led by the guide of the Vilnius Gaon Museum of Jewish History Dr. Šarūnė Sederavičiūtė. During the tour the visitors had an opportunity to learn more about the Vilnius Ghetto by visiting the unique places of the former ghetto – the main entrance gates to the Big Ghetto, the headquarters of the Jewish Ghetto Council, the Ghetto Library, the sports ground, and the Ghetto Prison. During the tour the visitors visited the place of the former Great Synagogue located in the territory of the former Small Ghetto.
The excursion in the territory and the courtyards of the Vilnius University was led by Lina Becerik. The Vilnius University Library, founded in 1570, has remained in its authentic place up to now. Together with all the buildings and courtyards of the old University, it composes a uniform, spectacular and unique architectural ensemble of Vilnius Old Town, representing the history of Lithuanian science and culture progress. During the tour the participants were able to visit few Library and University halls: Franciszek Smuglewicz Hall, Joachim Lelewel Hall as well as the University Observatory and the White Hall, the church of St. Johns and Grand University courtyard.