home / newsletter / SIEF Newsletter Vol 20 No 2 (Autumn 2022) Welcome to Brno, welcome to the Czech Republic!

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Welcome to Brno, welcome to the Czech Republic!

From 7-10 June 2023 SIEF welcomes you in Brno to join SIEF2023, SIEF’s 16th international congress. The Call for Papers is open now!

The Logo for the 2023 SIEF Congress Living Uncertanty depicting four rocks stacked upon each other

SIEF 2023 will take place in Brno, June 7 - 10, 2023

The Call for Papers is open!

Please have a look at the Call for Papers page and submit your paper.

Important dates

Call for papers 14/11/2022-10/01/2023
Early Bird registration 06/03-17/04/2023
Congress 07/06-10/06/2023

Keynote speakers and plenaries

Marilyn Strathern
Andrea Pető
Plenary Uncertain terrains: Andrea Kita and Michał Buchowski
Plenary Uncertainty and Methodologies: TBA
Closing Roundable on Precariousness: Clara Saraiva, Martin Fotta, Čarna Brković, Roger Norum

The 16th international SIEF congress will take place in Brno, the second largest city of the Czech Republic, the country, where SIEF forerunner Commission internationale de l’art populaire has been founded. After almost 100 years SIEF returns to Central Europe, a region where many uncertainties worth of ethnological, folklore and related research arises and overlaps for centuries. Three local partners agreed on a joint initiative to host the congress: the Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Department of European Ethnology of the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University and the National Institute of Folk Culture.

Brno, the capital of the historical region of Moravia, is an ideal congress location for an event, which will be mostly to exclusively face-to-face. Brno has approximately 380 thousand inhabitants and what was once an important industrial city called the "Manchester of Moravia" has changed into a cultural, historical, research and university centre. Located at the crossroads of historical events and in the centre of Europe it has an excellent transport accessibility, including an international airport and direct train connection to almost all nearby capitals (Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Vienna). It is a major centre of international trade fairs and exhibitions with developed accommodation infrastructure, however, considering that it is not a capital city, living and other costs are considerably favourable. For Congress participants different kinds of accommodation, ranging from cheap hostels and apartments to 5-star hotels, will be offered for reduces prices, so check the Congress website (https://www.siefhome.org/congresses/sief2023/theme) regularly and do not forget to make your booking well in advance!

At the same time, Brno is still small enough to offer a friendly atmosphere of a student town with six universities located here and everything important within a walking distance. And even if someone doesn't want to walk, an excellent public transport network is available. The Congress badge will serve as your ticket, so don't forget to carry it with you at all times! And please keep in mind that there are no trams in Brno, we only call them “šalina” in local dialect.

If you will need to take a break from busy the congress schedule and discover heritage or contemporary culture, gardens, parks or landscape around nearby dam, meet old and new friends, there is no better place than Brno. In Brno, we have the highest cafe-to-inhabitant ratio in the whole Czech Republic so get ready for a caffeine-fueled ride. Not enough and still willing to relax before the next great congress day? Then consider that Brno is home to the best bars in the Czech Republic. The bar scene is just like Brno itself: playful, warm, and a little bit peculiar. And last but not least: wine and beer. The history of viticulture in South Moravia goes back to the 2nd Century AD and today the region accounts for around 95 % of the country’s wine production, so Brno offers an abundance of wine bars with local production. And since pilsner beer was invented in Pilsen, Czech Republic, there is no need to add anything else. Just taste it.

For admirers of history and architecture, Brno is a true marvel. As you walk through Brno you will come across castles, churches and cathedrals as well as the pioneering works of modern architecture. On Petrov Hill, you can admire Katedrála sv. Petra a Pavla (the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul), and at the top of Špilberk Hill, you’ll find the city’s famous mediaeval to baroque castle, which was known as the harshest jail in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Brno also has the Gothic Bazilika Nanebevzetí Panny Marie (the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady), which is part of the originally Cistercian and later Augustinian monastery. Thanks to the Augustinians’ efforts in the field of education, the adjacent abbey was a centre for both spiritual and scientific life. The founder of genetics Gregor Johann Mendel and famous composer Leoš Janáček also worked here. Another church in Brno that is worth mentioning is the Church of St. James on Jakubské náměstí, under which the former burial ground and cellars of the old ossuary were discovered in 2011. It is the second-largest in Europe in terms of the number of bodily remains. Also other Brno underground promises unforgettable experiences, such as Labyrint pod Zelným trhem (the Labyrinth under the Vegetable Market) and Mincmistrovský sklep (the Mint Master’s Cellar). Close to Zelný trh (the Vegetable Market), where farmers from the surrounding areas sell their local produce, is Stará radnice (the Old Town Hall) with the fabled "dragon of Brno" in its passageway, historical halls, and a lookout tower. The first half of the 20th century was a golden era of Modernist architecture in Brno. The most astonishing monument is the Villa Tugendhat. Designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, it is one of the fundamental works of modern architecture and is renowned worldwide. It boasts a number of technical inventions uncommon of that era such as central heating, electric windows, and a photocell at the entrance. It rightfully belongs on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The history of museums in Brno dates back to the early 19th century. Today, Brno’s many museums and galleries boast a wide range of both educational and entertaining permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Moravian Museum is the biggest, as well as the oldest, museum in Moravia. It was established in 1817 and its collections contain over six million objects and is located in several buildings across Brno. A must see for Congress participant is, of course, a new permanent exhibition Traditional culture in Moravia in the mirror of time that was only opened in 2021.

And if that's still not enough? Then consider staying longer and take advantage of the opportunity to explore South Moravia or the entire Czech Republic. The weather will be great in early June with daily temperatures between 20–25 Celsius, the public transportation system is extensive, cheap and reliable, and there is a lot to do and see. E.g. the Ride of the Kings (procession of summoners on decorated horses that accompany the “king”), the UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity will take place in Vlčnov just a week before the Congress. For those interested in material culture and vernacular architecture, a post-congress one-day tour will be offered to one of the regional open-air museums. And since much is still uncertain, keep an eye on the Congress website for some surprises!

More information about Brno, South Moravia and the Czech Republic


Congress website