Within the framework of the exhibition Moses, Oars and the Radio. Wood in the History of Latvia National History Museum of Latvia organizes an open-call interdisciplinary scientific conference “Wood and Humans in Northern Europe from Prehistory until the Present”
Conference venue: National History Museum of Latvia, Brīvības bulvāris 32, Riga. Virtual participation via Zoom video call will be possible.
Conference date: 15 and 16 September 2022
People and trees arrived in the territory of Latvia almost simultaneously – 12 000 years ago, shortly after the end of the Ice Age. Since then, things have changed fundamentally. Humans have altered the landscape beyond recognition as economic, ruling, and cultural systems have changed many times, but technological progress has allowed us to change our lifestyles and become supposedly independent of nature. However, the coexistence of humans and wood has been amazingly enduring throughout the ages. The use of wood reveals the development of the civilization, speaks about the tendencies of crafts and art, and characterizes industrial history and various spheres of daily life. For thousands of years, aesthetical and sacral perception has been connected with the forest as a part of nature. Wood as a part of the historical and modern ecosystem tells a story of the interrelation between the environment and the society. It also outlines the challenges of contemporary Latvia and the global society in balancing the interests of the present and future to ensure the sustainability of ecosystems and the society itself.
The objective of the conference is to outline the relationship between humans and forest/wood throughout history, to shed some light on this topic through the functional use of wood, sacral and aesthetic perception of trees and forest, historic perspective of ecology and environment.
We call for papers in following topics:
1. Functional use of wood from prehistory until the present.
-Human relationship with forest/wood in prehistory (importance of wood as a material, woodworking skills).
-Forest as a source of income in the medieval and early modern age (acquiring and trade of forest products (wax, fur, etc.) as well as timber and its products; environmental changes due to the use of forest resources).
-Rediscovery of the decorative and aesthetic qualities of wood in medieval and early modern crafts and art (changing perception of wood – learning the functional advantages of wood and aesthetical aspects of its use, technical progress of crafts; wood in the architecture).
-Wood as a universal material in the traditional household (skilful use of wood and its by-products, hereditary craftsmanship, woodworking as a source of income).
-Role of timber and wood products in the industrialization of the Baltic region (introduction of new timber products and woodworking technologies, most prominent timber industrialists and the innovations introduced by them, the industry’s export and markets).
-Wood as a brand in the 21stcentury (changes of economy and design ideas in the context of sustainability and the use of renewables).
2. Wood in people’s perception. Landscape, environment and ecology from prehistory until the present.
-Space inhabited by humans in prehistory (forest, waters and the topography of human habitat).
-Impact of climate on the landscape and human life from prehistory until the present.
-Trees and forest as sacral objects.
-Ideas about the protection of trees and the forest in historical perspective – shift from the economic to ecological considerations.
-Forest and the history of environmental protection ideas.
-Trees in the urban landscape.
-Human ecological footprint through history.
-Forest/wood as an object of ethical, aesthetical and poetical perception from past until today.
Please submit your application until 16 May 2022 sending the participation form via email to Jānis Šabanovs (email@example.com). Your participation in the conference will be confirmed until 1 June 2022.
Length of the presentation: 20 minutes. The presentation applications will be evaluated and recommended to the conference by the Scientific Board of the National History Museum of Latvia.
Conference languages: Latvian and English.
The conference papers will be published by the National History Museum of Latvia after the conference. Information about the publication will follow.
Please find the registration form for downloading here.