The new academic year started with an eventful September for WEMov as each Working Group managed to organise a successful in-person meeting. We have continued our tradition of rolling host countries, favoring ITCs for each event to showcase the diversity of our members and to build closer links with local professional and civil society organisations. This time, we visited Montenegro, Italy, Northern Macedonia and Latvia. These September WG meetings drew WEMov to the close of GP3.
Working Group 1 held its in-person meeting in Podgorica, Montenegro on 1-2 September, graciously hosted by Božena Mijić, senior researcher from the Historical Institute of Montenegro.
The meeting started with a welcome speech by Prof. Dr. Dragana Kujović, Acting Director of the Historical Institute of Montenegro. After that, we watched a documentary by Velibor Čović, called “Imala sam 10 godina” (‘I was 10 years old’), about Kosovar refugees from the Serbian attacks on Kosovo, featuring a 10-year-old girl who, as a grown-up, helped in making this film. A short discussion about the research and data collection for the film followed the screening. The remainder of the meeting was devoted to work sessions to find new primary sources, plan a joint article on our work on the catalogue and primary sources, and discuss WG 1 work and goals. Božena, our host, took us on a walking tour around Podgorica, as well as on an informative and exciting trip to Cetinje and a visit to the Muzej kralja Nikole (Museum of King Nikola). Being in Montenegro and enjoying its beauty while working together towards achieving our objectives was a pleasure.
Working Group 2 organized its in-person meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia, on 15-16 September, hosted by Biljana Ristovska-Josifovska (Institute of National History, Skopje).
This city shares a myriad of public sculptures, monuments and newly constructed historicist buildings, making it the perfect place for the team to explore how they preserve the memory of the city, the country and individual migrant women. The first day started from welcoming words of Biljana Ristovska-Josifovska (local organizer), Marie Ruiz (WEMov Chair) and Igor Lyman (WG2 leader). When we had local keynotes presentations: “Migrant Women – Founders of Vocal Folklore Groups in the Preservation and Transmission of the Macedonian Female Creativity” by Nataša Didenko (Associate Professor at the Institute of National History) and “The Mysterious Emigration of а Macedonian Jewess from Štip – Rashela Shela Sion” by Mišo Kitanoski (journalist, poet and publicist). Later the Landmarks transcribathon was coordinated by Lívia Prosinger.
The second day was dedicated to a Publication transcribathon, coordinated by Bénédicte Miyamoto and Lívia Prosinger, and the Secondary sources catalogue transcribathon, coordinated by Biljana Ristovska-Josifovska. The meeting’s participants were taken on a walking tour of Skopje’s city center, led by Nataša Didenko, Katerina Mirčevska, and Biljana Ristovska-Josifovska, and the walking tour of Skopje old city center by Dragi Ǵorgiev.
Working Group 3 held its in-person meeting in Riga, Latvia at the University of Latvia’s Faculty of Business, Management, and Economics, 22-23 of September.
Led by Selma Smajlović and Nina Drejerska, this two-day meeting showcased the strides made by the group in accomplishing project goals. The first day of the meeting started with a very interesting presentation titled « Role of Women in Identity Transmission in Latvian Diaspora » presented by keynote speaker Baiba Bela, associate professor in sociology and social anthropology at the University of Latvia. After the keynote speech, WG3 members engaged in a transcribathon, focusing on gathering new and completing existing entries in the Register of Datasets. Transcribathons allowed participants to actively contribute to the datasets project by focusing on one category that is less represented in the Register, such as labour market, education, or work permits. The first day of the meeting ended with a visit to the renowned « Latvians Abroad » museum, which offered valuable insights into the experiences and stories of Latvian expatriates. This visit likely added a cultural dimension to the meeting, enriching the participants’ understanding of the Latvian diaspora.
The second day of the meeting was dedicated to discussions and plans for future publications in Open Research Europe (ORE). The session culminated in a detailed calendar and a proposal for upcoming publications. This is in line with WG3’s overarching goal of encouraging its members to collaborate and publish research papers based on the datasets and databases they have collected. The meeting activities concluded with a captivating guest lecture from the esteemed keynote speaker, Māra Lazda, an Assistant Professor at Bronx Community College, City University of New York. Lazda’s lecture, titled « Founding of the Latvian Museum of Occupation, » provided valuable historical insights and inspired the attendees with her in-depth knowledge of the subject. Overall, this meeting appears to have been a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and progress toward the Working group’s research objectives.
Working Group 4 convened from September 8th to 9th at LUMSA University in Rome, Italy.
The primary objective was to advance our deliverables and achieve the end goals of our ongoing projects. During the first day, we engaged in collaborative sessions centered on our mentoring program for video capsules and the Map of Interviews. Paula Benevene, professor at LUMSA University of Rome, talked about the diploma equivalence for refugee women in universities. A follow-up presentation was given by Cristiana Di Pietro, a Postdoctoral researcher at LUMSA University, offering historical and political insights into “Migrant women in Italy”. In the afternoon, progress was made on our collaborative project on the objects of migration. With the diligent coordination of Edyta Januszewska and contributions from our network, we’re inching closer to launching an online exhibition. We also initiated our co-publishing project and crafted abstracts for submission to Open Research Europe, which were forwarded to ORE on September 9th. On September 9th, we embarked on a migrant tour in Rome’s Esquilino neighborhood. Guided by a Syrian migrant woman, we explored the various communities in one of Rome’s most diverse areas. The two days were insightful, productive, and further underscored our commitment to the our COST project WEMov and its deliverables.