BaltHerNet’s XI Summer School – My Estonian Roots

July 1, 2023

BaltHerNet’s summer school titled “Diaspora Estonian Cultural Heritage Abroad.
XI. My Estonian Roots” took place in Setomaa at Värska from June 26-29th. Since
Setomaa is known for its knowledge of traditions and unique, strong identity, we
chose this year’s summer school theme, identity and roots, accordingly. Topics such
as researching family genealogy and names, ways to preserve your family history,
mapping of tombstones, and family as well as regional heritage was discussed and
explored. We introduced collections related to the theme from both Estonian and
diaspora archives.

Setomaa is also unique and different because it’s a border zone. The shuffling of
borders and life in a border zone has created a lasting impact on the people that
reside there. We invited Estonians living abroad, Estonians that have returned
to their homeland, setos, and identity researchers to participate in discussions
regarding the multi-identities of people living in various cultures.

Summer school participants met in Tartu on June 26th and visited Noora, after
which the charter bus departed for Setomaa. June 27-28 featured presentations,
discussions, and documentary film screenings. NGO BaltHerNet’s annual general
meeting also took place on June 27. On June 29th, we embarked on a road trip to
Setomaa and visited Värska Agricultural Museum, Saatse and Obinitsa. Participants
were taken back to Tartu by nightfall.

BaltHerNet summer schools are focused on Estonians living abroad and for
employees of Estonian memory institutions who are involved with collecting,
maintaining, researching and distributing information about Estonian cultural
heritage. They feature lectures, courses, hands-on learning, discussions and
dialogue. Experts from various Estonian memory institutes share their thoughts and
knowledge about archives, libraries, museums and other topics.
You can read a more comprehensive overview of the summer school in the next
newsletter. In June 2024, we will meet in Vilnius at the BaltHerNet conference. But
for now, have a lovely summer, everyone!

Piret Noorhani