Marie Sandberg

Marie Sandberg

Letter of the President

Marie Sandberg is looking forward to the 16th SIEF Congress in Brno, next month, the first face-to- face conference after Covid-19. She recalls the uncertainties in today's world, a reference to the title of the conference.


Dear Colleagues,

What does it mean to be living (with) uncertainty? The 'world as we know it' has indeed been an object of change in recent years of economic crises, climate urgencies and the pandemic. The still ongoing, devastating war in Ukraine is a dark reminder about a world order in transformation. Rather than crisis characterizing a state of exception, notions like prolonged crisis and 'polycrisis' have entered our scholarly vocabulary, to grasp and comprehend the implications of the enduring and multiple changes of the time we live in.

The 16th SIEF congress in Brno on 7 - 10 June 2023 will provide a much-needed forum for discussing and reflecting upon the above question and themes. We will explore the exceptional circumstances of inhabiting a shifting world, and interpret the vernaculars and daily practices of living uncertainty. We are excited to hear excellent thoughts on these topics by our distinguished keynote speakers, Prof. Marilyn Strathern and Prof. Andrea Petö, and from the wonderful line-up of speakers at the two plenaries on Uncertain Terrains in the Everyday and Uncertainty and Methodologies, as well as the closing roundtable On the Precarity of Our Disciplines: Possible Ways Forward. All together, they will shed light on methodological, ontological and epistemological implications of living uncertainty.

SIEF2023 will be the first face-to-face conference after Covid-19, and we are looking forward to the days in June when our society is at its biannual zenith. The fact that there are more cafés per capita in the Moravian capital of Brno than in the rest of the Czech Republic, seems like an ideal opportunity to meet with old and new friends, and engage in the numerous exciting activities, such as poster sessions, ethnographic documentaries and film screenings, working group meetings, publication workshops, and the journal reception offered at the congress.

Thanks to our local, much appreciated partners, the congress will be hosted jointly by 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. I am happy to announce that 867 papers have been accepted for the 132 exciting panels, workshops, and roundtables.

As this SIEF Newsletter testifies, SIEF is a vibrant network with an impressive level of activity and engagement among our peers. At the moment, SIEF has more than 1000 members. The SIEF Working Groups are important pillars of our society; please read their fascinating reports, along with the recent issues of our two SIEF flagship journals, Cultural Analysis and Ethnologia Europaea, which are both peer-reviewed and fully open-access publications.

Finally, I would like to invite you to the SIEF2023 General Assembly during the Brno conference, which is scheduled for Friday 9 June 2023, at 17:15. After the meeting, the winners of the SIEF Young Scholar Prize 2023 will be announced and they will present their winning papers.

As always, comments, questions and suggestions are most welcome; please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!

Yours cordially,
Marie Sandberg, President of SIEF