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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Comission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Objects from The National Museum of Romanian Peasant collections



Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naţionale a României Cu Tenda: stories, images and sounds on the move: living memory of the Southeastern Europe Bucureşti: Martor, 2019 ISBN 978-606-8472-25-6 39

Project Guide Cu Tenda: stories, images and sounds on the move. [Living memory of the Southeastern Europe] Authors/texts/documentation: Lila Passima, Georgiana Vlahbei (RO), Krasimira Krastanova, Maria Kissikova, Meglena Zlatkova, Elitsa Stoilova (BG), Ornella Ricchiuto (IT), Dragana Jovanovska, Arta Abduli, Granit Shahini (MK) Translation: Alistair Ian Blyth Layout design / DTP: Claudia Pascu Graphics: Cosmin Manolache, Lila Passima Photo: Marius Caraman, Arhiva de imagine a MNȚR, Mihaela Dumitru, Andra Chiriac, Alex Solomon, Cosmin Manolache, Lila Passima, Ornella Ricchiuto, Giuseppe Ricchiuto

PERSPECTIVES/ LENSES Throughout its four years lifetime, our cultural project ‘Cu Tenda’ has contributed to the opening of and interaction with several ethnic groups of South Eastern Europe: Aromanians (Vlachs), Karacatsans (Sarakaceans) and communities from Mito Region of Sothern Italy. Using an interdisciplinary approach, various methodologies and mobility, our common effort has been directed towards exploring the identity and cultural history of these groups, spreading knowledge beyond community borders and generating itinerary works of art which creatively draw from them. Through the lenses of cultural anthropology, ethnology and oral history, our project has generated qualitative research, archives, studies and documentaries of the target communities, raising awareness on the cultural heritage of peoples lesser known on European level or insufficiently evoked in official (national) narratives. By means of youth work, intercultural sessions and cultural exchange visits, ‘Cu Tenda’ has incited interactive communication in the environments of these communities - between them and the majority groups where they reside, altogether proposing a more thoughtful dialogue within the integrating societies. None the least, through visual arts - curatorship, filmmaking, photography -, music, theatre and arts-and-crafts workshops, we have stimulated the emergence of artistic expressions within the groups generating works that give voice to the communities, while at the same time encouraging (external?) artists and professionals to explore and put forward innovative works inspired by them/ rooted in their culture.


CORE-CONCEPTS: THE ROAD, LIVING MEMORY In designing the “routes� of our explorations, we followed the guidelines of the symbolic roads that the target communities have traced on the cultural map of SE Europe throughout the last century. Following traditional trails (transhumance, nomadism, seasonal routes), as well as historical migrations (colonization processes, large community displacements - in modern age), our journeys have overlapped with and activated places of memory, have uncovered the specific imaginary of cultures on the move and also revealed new dynamics of contemporary mobility of the target-groups.


The symbiosis of their voyages-our road has been the vehicle of ‘Cu Tenda’. Movement has been understood and used as a multi-layered concept, embedded in the fabric of all project activities: from geographic/territorial mobility to the symbolic passing of time: the transition from traditional to modern and onto contemporary (as seen in lifestyle, practices, traditions, occupations), the inter-generational dynamics (grandparents’ cultural baggage – how it is preserved, lost or transformed by the younger generations). Our ‘traveling tent’ has become, thus, a witness of living memory of these communities, and by this, a testimony to their continuity.






We are a team of cultural anthropologists/ ethnologists, researchers, intercultural dialogue professionals and visual creators and from Romania, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia and Italy. Our common interest for exploring cultures has brought us together in the European project ‘Cu Tenda’ which, from 2015, has set us on a journey of documenting local identities and elements of heritage of mobile communities in South-Eastern Europe.

OVERVIEW OF PROJECT OUTPUTS AND PRODUCTS „CU TENDA” is an European cooperation project between organisations from Romania, FYROM, Bulgaria and Italy, focused on intangible heritage of small communities of SE Europe. Using as primary tools creativity and inter-connectivity, the project seeks to explore living memory of cultural and ethnic groups from the Balkans and South Italy, following a symbolic road through time and space. The core concept of the project is the challenge to envision and experience heritage, especially intangible heritage, through a multitude of perspectives, methods, disciplines (anthropology/ ethnography, museography, photography, visual arts, performance arts, craftwork, music etc.).

OUTPUTS OF DOCUMENTING CULTURAL HERITAGE // 3 teams of experts from the Museum (RO), University (BG) and Association (IT) together with collaborators summing up 29 professionals, were involved: anthropologists, ethnologists, ethno-musicologists, historians, researchers and assistants, University professors, visual anthropologists,







videographers, as well as students and volunteers. // Over the course of 2 years and during a total of 58 research field trips, the teams studied: Aromanian communities from 17 villages in Romania and 4 villages in Greece, communities of Sarakatsans from 7 localities in Bulgaria and 6 in Greece, one Mito community from Tricase and Andrano, South Italy (A total of 34 localities and one region). // The documentation material covers a wide range, from life stories and personal memories - individual representations of self-identity, symbolic oral forms and creations, rituals and traditions, daily life activities; to group/collective representations in festivals, public events, religious celebrations and specific gatherings, as well as representative environmental contexts: - The raw field material resulted in 106 interviews taken with 127 people belonging to different generations (8 to 104 years old); 16.945 photos; 143h 38min of audio recorded material and 46h 26min footage. - As part of documenting community processes of safeguarding from within, the teams digitized 426 old photos from family albums, collected informants’ diaries, old books and documents, 8 DVDs of recorded family events, a song collection, 44 traditional home-made food recipes, traditional manufactured household objects. // The scientific results: 6 studies dedicated to cultural history and elements of heritage of the studied groups. // The edited visual material resulted in 1 photo reportage, 1 ethnographic documentary, 1 anthropological documentary, several video and audio cuts for promotional purposes.


OUTPUTS OF ARCHIVING ACTIVITY // The archive is the very first of its kind in South-Eastern Europe, as it brings together vast cultural data about the heritage of the ethnic and cultural groups studied; // Approximately 3000 items resulted from the archiving process of Romanian, Bulgarian and Italian teams developed during 2 years of the project. The items are categorized on different criteria: contemporary photography, archival or old photography scanned or retrieved from visits to communities, audio interviews and research footage from the interaction with families and collectives, archival footage, music, digitized documents; // around 50 online and live working sessions took place among partners’ teams internally and in cooperation between partners, in order to establish the archiving procedures, categories, indexing, software and visual interface of the archive platform; // 15 professionals were involved in the creation of the archive: research teams from all 3 countries along archivists, photographers, specialists in image processing and video editing, sound and video directors, as well as content developers, software creators and graphic designers; // 1 public campaign for community contribution of photo-audio-video materials for the creation of the archive developed in Romania (2017).

RESULTS OF WORKSHOPS AND INTERCULTURAL SESSIONS // In all four countries, more than 300 children and youngsters attended (belonging to the researched communities, but also to majority population), alongside 53 adults (parents, teachers), 8 students, 19 high-school youngsters, in a total of 40 workshops and intercultural sessions. // 20 professionals ensured a specialized coordination of the activities: museum educators and experts, artists, cultural and youth workers, intercultural facilitators/ communicators, local craftsmen, school teachers and university professors, ethnologists, visual anthropologists, cultural technology researchers, volunteers. // the workshops explored elements of heritage of the target groups from different 8

perspectives: engaging with traditional crafts and techniques (sewing, embroidery, weaving), learning traditional dances, forms of singing, local cuisine; encouraging visual representations of group identity through arts and crafts sessions (drawing, painting, textile collage, clay modeling); intercultural sessions involving participative observation to community life; intercultural dialogue and creative storytelling techniques; // over 200 diverse manufactured items resulted from the arts and crafts workshops: drawings and paintings, clay sculptures, collages, interactive installations, hand-designed clothes and jewelry, as well as a public exhibition; // members of 9 ethnic groups took part in the workshops and intercultural sessions in all 4 countries: Karakachan, Aromanian, Italian, Macedonian, Albanian, Serbian, Roma, Bulgarian and Romanian. // the activities were visually documented, resulting in over 500 images and 90 minutes of raw video material

PERFORMING ARTS PRODUCTS // 1 theatre play was created over the course of 2 years (2016-2017) by the Macedonian partner, exploring contemporary daily life of young Aromanians in Macedonia. The play was conceived and developed over the course of 25 rehearsal sessions by a collective of 18 young actors from different ethnic origins. There were 6 performances held in 4 cities in the Republic of Macedonia - Kumanovo, Krushevo, Bitola, Skopje, where more than 1000 people attended. The activity also resulted in a movie documenting the performances; // In May 2017, the Theatre Company Liquilab from Italy created a street performance that drew from intangible cultural heritage of Mito area (stories and life histories of farmers and local families were converted in moments of street theatre), following traces of living memory in connection with significant spaces from the old town. 4 young actors performed in piazzetas and in front of symbolic buildings, which attracted 200 locals, tourists and members of the community; // 6 live music performances: - In September 2017, the Italian partner organized an open workshop – performance with 9

the artist Anna Cinzia Villani. The artist, specialized in traditional Salento dance and singing, accompanied by four traditional instrument players performed in public space with over 100 locals attending. - During the 5 opening events of the itinerary exhibition created by NMRP in Romania, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia and Italy, the Romanian partner organized 5 concerts – musical improvisation performances with Romanian trio Multumult, which reinterpreted in a contemporary way, traditional musical elements and sounds specific to Aromanian and Balkan folklore. (November 2017 – Bucharest RO; August 2018 – Plovdiv BG; October 2018 – Krushevo MK; November 2018 – Skopje MK; December 2018 – Tricase IT: joint performance of Multumult group and Italian artist Anna Cinzia Villani band)

ITINERANT EXHIBITIONS // 1 exhibition exploring Aromanian cultural identity and memory was created by Romanian team. The exhibition was itinerated in 5 locations in 4 countries over the course of 2 years: November 2017 – March 2018 in Bucharest RO; August 2018 – Plovdiv BG; October 2018 – Krushevo MK; November 2018 – Skopje MK; December 2018 – February 2019 in Tricase IT; The exhibition gathered a total of 4500 visitors; // 1 exhibition dedicated to the cultural heritage of Sarakatsan community was created by Bulgarian partner and itinerated in 5 cities from Bulgaria and Romania: in Plovdiv BG (November 2018), Kazanlak BG (April 2019), Bucharest RO (May 2019), Rousse BG (June 2019), and Gabrovo (July 2019). More than 10 000 visitors attended in all locations; // personnel involved in the creation of the exhibition: 1 curator, 1 assistant curator, 1 audio-video artist, 2 specialists in communication and public relations, 2 graphic designers, specialized also in the processing of photos, 3 technicians, 5 conservation-restoration specialists, 2 museum collection experts, 1 ethnographic heritage expert (RO); 1 curator - expert in Intercultural communication, 1 assistant curator - expert in Cultural technology)/ communication and PR, 1 graphic designer and author of video installation, 1 graphic designer and author of the visual identity of the exhibition, 2 scientific monitoring personnel (Visual Anthropologist and 10

Ethnologist) - concept developers, 2 assistants in communication and PR, 1 technician (BG)

// the 2 exhibitions creatively reconstructed fragments of the cultural universe – traditional and contemporary, of the 2 ethnic communities, employing diverse artistic tools and expressions: 3 large installations re-imagining traditional living in “tenda” (tent, for Aromanians) and “koliba” (hut, for Karakachani), 3 sound installations; 4 video installations; over 200 objects of heritage from museums and private collections (5 of which classified as ethnographic treasures) – household items, tools and utensils, costumes; 8 thematic modules (photographic, photoobject, objects installations); large scale prints and banners, study cabinet, contemporary crafts workshop with utensils; // both exhibitions were accompanied by several other actions: launching events, some including musical improvisation performances, workshops, exhibition catalogues and other connected activities. PUBLICATIONS // 1 Guide of Cultural Landmarks of Aromanians in North-Eastern Macedonia (MK) // 1 Study on Sarakatsiani and Aromanians (BG) // Cu Tenda. Stories with Aromanians - exhibition catalog (RO) // On the road with the Karakachani - exhibition brochure (BG) // 1 final project guide with all partners’ results // personnel involved from all teams: author-writers, authors of graphic concept, layout designers, ethnologists, visual anthropologists, digitalization documentarist, intercultural communication and cultural technology researcher. PUBLIC EVENTS // Over the lifetime of the project, all 4 partners were actively involved in over 40 public events for dissemination of project mission and activities in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Rep. of Macedonia and Italy, either by organizing the events themselves (press conferences, photovideo contests, thematic evenings, informal gatherings, networking meetings) or participating as guests to conferences, academic events, cultural operators’ events, presentations, thematic festivals, as well as attending television talk-shows, radio broadcasts and interviews.


PARTNERSHIP OUTPUTS: INTERACTIVE EXCHANGES // Over the course of 3 years, the 4 organizations in the project hosted intercultural exchange meetings with the participation of the project partners, held in their towns of residence (Plovdiv, Kumanovo, Tricase, Bucharest) and in several regions in their countries. The visiting teams were introduced to various aspects of the hosting areas’ culture and geographic environment: interactive guided tours of regions, visits to symbolic landmarks, villages and towns; engaging with elements of cultural heritage and traditions: specific dances, songs, dishes, crafts of the local communities through workshops; engaging with the local communities - observation of daily life, occupations, participation to public festivities, meetings with representatives of local associations, interviews; // Over 30 people from all 4 teams participated to the 6 mobility experiences developed over a total of 35 days: artists, teachers, artisans, young entrepreneurs, cinematographers, anthropology and ethnology researchers and university professors; // The interactions were video and photo documented.

PARTNERSHIP OUTPUTS: COORDINATION // Project cooperation involved management meetings among partners – more than 40 online sessions and 10 live meetings; reciprocal visits to partners’ work-places and offices, observing and learning about different working environments, work models specific to each partner; monitoring activities and progress reporting meetings; as well as over 100 internal working meetings; // Coordination involved creation of specific work-tools and instruments (standardized forms for reporting and lists of attendees, digital databases and online archiving platforms etc.) // Management personnel counted, from all teams, a total of 18: project coordinators, assistants, PR directors, PR assistants, monitor/evaluator, financial directors, accountants, cashiers, HR directors, administrative officer, organizing secretary.


The National Museum of Romanian Peasant

PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES Our cultural project aims, through interactivity and mobility, at contributing to the opening and interaction of majority culture and ethnic groups of SE Europe, integrant parts of this territory, insufficiently researched and culturally explored. One of the objectives refers to obtaining a greater knowledge of these ethnic groups (cultural or minorities), which, through the means of study, dialogue and cultural exchange, will bring new forms of cultural expressions, of interactive communication and a new dynamic of cultural politics, to the integrating societies. The second objective is the acceptance, understanding and collaboration with the other, through artistic methods and using as main instrument creativity and innovation. In this regard, structure of the project is a dynamic one, interdisciplinary and plurivalent. Starting with research and anthropological/ethnographic valorisation of the target communities and then the creation of public digital archives which will put forward oral living history, the project will reveal through its visual structure patterns of culture, expressions of self-identity, imaginary of these ethnic communities (the exhibitions), thus enriching the cultural heritage of SE Europe.


Documenting cultural heritage The Museum activities were conceived as inter-connected and implemented gradually, folding one over the other: First layer. Documentation and research of Aromanian communities - laid grounds and generated substance for all further activities and products. The extensive research involved: documentation on a selection of studies, scientific papers and archival data; elaboration of working tools for field research; generation of studies, and, most significantly, fieldwork visits and prospections in various areas of Romania, Bulgaria, Republic of North Macedonia and Greece. // Interviews: our interest was to identify and outline patterns of culture, expressions of assumed identity(ies) translated into individual and group representations, narratives of belonging, translation of intra- and inter-group differences, imagery of traditional world:


iconic objects, portraits, family and community structures, preservation-loss-transformation of cultural memory. // Participant observation to rituals, traditions and public gatherings: attendance to family and community events, focusing on symbolic oral forms and creations, dynamics of tradition, beliefs, specific gestures and attitudes, roles, ritualic behavior, community cohesiveness. // Spatial environments were visually and photographically documented: households interiors and architecture, landmarks and symbolic places for the communities, general village and city contexts, landscape elements. // Heritage items and objects of memory: documenting private archives and collections, community museum, family photo-albums, household items, traditional attire.


Creative workshops

Second layer. Creative engagement with the communities: workshops Three different directions were explored through workshop events by the leading partner: arts and crafts, storytelling and traditional cooking, addressing children and youngsters from both rural and urban Aromanian communities from Romania (Dobruja and Bucharest). Our aim was, on the one hand, to encourage rediscovery of specific identity patterns by the younger generations, and on the other hand, providing an impulse for reconstruction of intergenerational bonds. // Making use of various creative tools and techniques, the arts and crafts workshops succeeded in provoking rediscovery of the sense of belonging to a group and generated original, innovative expressions of identity. Children were encouraged to restore the world of their ancestors, either from information passed down in the family or from their own imagination. // Storytime in the tent – was an event created to support the Romanian team’s exhibition in Bucharest, inviting grandparents and grandchildren to re-activate an ancestral connection through stories and folk-tales. // The culinary workshop focused on the renewing of inter-generational dialogue, allowing children to interact with grandmothers, as both became performers in the making of traditional dishes.


The archive Third layer. Valorization A series of cultural and artistic products relied on the outputs of research and drew from the engagement with the communities: // archive Having as primary mission safeguarding elements of identity of the cultural/ethnic communities studied, the digital archive set out to be the first of its kind, as it brings forward to the international public vast data on the Aromanians, the cultural group studied by the leading partner. The Museum’s involvement in the creation of the archive was on the one hand, proposing structure, categories, instruments for description or each item, forms of indexing and means of inter-connectiveness within the archive. The final structure was established alongside the Bulgarian and Italian partners, involved in the activity. The archival process implied: classification on specific categories of the raw material; editing items in order to be uploaded in the platform; introducing data (profile descriptions of each item). The Museum contributed with archival material consisting of: recordings of oral memories, life stories, traditional sounds and music, (auto)biographical photography, documentary photography and footage, all of which will had been gathered during Documentation and Research Activity. The archive represents the strong-element of sustainability of the whole project, as well as serving the purpose of spreading knowledge and making accessible elements of culture and identity of Aromanians to the international public.




// exhibition In the process of construction of the most complex product of the leader’s activity, the effective setting up the exhibition was preceded by preliminary actions: documentation, conceptual design, narratives construction, object collections review and selection, and effective design. Designed as a visual essay, the exhibition CU TENDA – AROMANIAN STORIES symbolically and fragmentarily through testimonies, self-representations, texts and elements of material and immaterial heritage, the imaginary of the Aromanian world as part of cultures in constant movement. Starting with the memory of the image-as-witness and the power of suggestion of the objects that build the community’s heritage, the exhibition revealed a series of visuals, sounds and archetypal objects that have become iconic for the Aromanian community, as well as specific relationships within the archaic world: the relationship with nature, work, the house and the family, the journey. The archive photos, the ethnographic, historical or autobiographical texts – representations of the old Aromanian world – are accompanied and reinforced by the images, objects, recordings, all counterpoints of the rural and urban contemporary Aromanian culture. The exhibition set out to provide means for intercultural dialogue within the territories where it has been itinerated, by using a viewpoint from within, but also by mirroring various complementary perspectives and by putting forward subjective archaeology as a method of contemporary art and ethnography. At each of its 5 stops on the itinerary, the exhibition was marked by a series of thematic events aimed at raising the awareness of the wider public with regard to the elements of the identity and cultural history of the Aromanians. // music performances A complementary element, designed to add complexity and dynamism to the structure of the exhibition was represented by the musical improvisation performances of Romanian trio Multumult. A sound installation by itself, the immersive musical experience drew from elements specific to Aromanian and Balkan folklore, recycled and adapted to contemporary musical language. 22

// publications The exhibition catalogue visually reconstructs expressions of affective and collective memory of the Aromanian communities encountered. Following the distinctive concept and visual identity of publications issued by Romanian Peasant National Museum, the catalogue, an ‘object-book’, mirrors the specific visual poetics and messages of the exhibition. Drawing from symbolic imagery, objects of memory and stories of heritage, fragments of Aromanian universe – traditional and contemporary, alike – are proposed for reinterpretation. An intrinsic component of these products has been to facilitate access to elements of heritage, identity and cultural history of Aromanians, for non-familiar audiences. Given their innate openness and interactivity, the archive, exhibition and all connected products were envisioned to become vehicles for transmitting knowledge on the studied group and to encourage discovery and creative explorations for the large public. 23

University “Paisii Hilendarski” Plovdiv

PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES CU TENDA, “traveling with the tent,” explores living memory and the intangible heritage of cultural and ethnic groups from the Balkans and southern Italy, following a symbolic road through time and space. The Bulgarian team studied the process of constructing cultural heritage in the Sarakatsan community, based on the memory and re-vitalisation of ancient nomadic traditions, culinary and technological knowledge and practices. We studied how the Karakachans define their cultural specificities and which of these are recognised and valorised as intangible cultural heritage.


Documenting cultural heritage As their first step, the Bulgarian team examined the available documentary data on the Sarakatsan communities. We gathered academic research, published materials, historical records, photographs and other sources dedicated to the history, culture, and traditions of the Sarakatsan communities. These data were systematically gathered from archival, library, and museum collections dedicated to the community under study. The main goal of the Project (research into intangible cultural heritage) was fulfilled through fieldwork in several towns and villages in Bulgaria and Greece (Karlovo, Shipka, Sliven, Komotini, Pertuli, Glikoneri). We conducted audio and video interviews, took photographs, and collected photographic materials from family archives and albums. We also documented objects that represent the family and group memory of the local communities. Our aim was to explore contemporary processes of inheritance, valorisation and representation of Sarakatsan cultural heritage and present-day expression of identity. The BG team organised several field trips: // Our first visit to Greece in December 2015 (Komotini and Serres) was for preliminary field research, during which we met representatives of the Aromanian and Karakachan communities. We had the opportunity to have community representatives serve as our guides in several museums and ethnographic collections: in the Sarakatsani Folklore Museum, the Vlach Folklore Museum in Serres, the Sarakatsani Ethnographic Collection, and the Komotini Ethnographic Museum. // In order to meet representatives of the Karakachan community and gain familiarity with studies and findings to date, we made several preliminary visits – to Shipka and Karlovo (March 2016), to Sliven (June 2016), to ETAR-Gabrovo open-air Ethnographic Museum, and to Kazanlak (Spring 2016), and to the Regional Ethnographic Museum and State Archive in Plovdiv; // We organised field research in Karlovo and Sopot (May 2016, May 2017, May 2018), in Shipka and Kran (August 2016), in Sliven, Goljamo Chochoveni and Karandila Festival (August 2016, August 2017); 25

// The team also conducted field research in Greece – at the Annual Balkan Festival Pertulli, June 2016, and the Kaloyanina Festival, July 2017. Eight students were involved in the field trips and five more students conducted research in the State Archive. We made audio and video interviews with Paraskeva and Panayot Kostovi from Kran, Maria and Panayot Hatovi, Dimitar and Maria Roydovi, Vasilka Panayotova, Ekaterina and Anastasia Mermeklievi from Shipka, Dimitris Grivas, Petar Balezdrov, Radka Belova from Sliven, the Kozarovi family from Rechica, the painter Apostol Zarov from Kazanlak and many others who shared with us their family stories and traditional skills and techniques. We collected narratives about the photographs in family albums and archives and documented them for the project archive, and they also showed us their family pictures as well. In Greece we were warmly welcomed by and collaborated with Yorgos Nakas, Chairman of the Sarakatsan Association in Komotini.

With Panayot Kostov, narrating stories and his family archive, Kran, 2016


The painter Apostol Zarov presents Nikola Zarov’s, his father paintings, dedicated to karakachan`s way of life, Kazanlak, 2016

Making a Karakachans’ banitza, Radka Belova and Elena, Sliven, 2016

In the permanent kaliva in open-air Sarakachans` settlement near Glikoneri (Greece), 2017

Panayot Hatov, Maria and Dimiter Roydovi and their grandchildren, who perform Karakachan`s folk songs, Shipka, 2016


Creative workshops Creative workshops were part of the Exhibition opening events. The aim of this activity was to encourage an understanding of cultural diversity through intercultural dialogue, creative thinking and artistic expression inspired by tradition. The students became familiar with the exhibition and our research findings about the Sarakatsan community, and while listening to Sarakatsan folk music, they used their imagination to recreate the colourful pattern of the community’s life (in jigsaw puzzles, clay work, drawing, colouring etc.). All the visitors to the opening exhibition were involved in a pan (tava) spinning workshop that showcased the Sarakatsan women’s creativity and identity. Participants in the workshop and visitors to the exhibition learned about the Sarakatsan community by experiencing elements of another culture in an emotional and creative way, re-thinking traditions and creating innovative contemporary works of art. The workshop in Plovdiv involved about thirty sixthform schoolchildren and five more students from the Art Academy. On the opening event in Kazanlak about 20 children from the community participated in creative activities in our workshop, helped and advised by their parents and grandparents.

Hand made Karakachan textile (wedding bag), Shipka

Creative workshop after the “On the Road” Exhibition opening in Plovdiv, November 2018


Hand made Karakachan textile (wedding flag, flambura), Shipka

The “On the Road” exhibition The exhibition recreates the heritage of the Karakachans as actually and metaphorically intertwined with the concept of the road and the traveling. Elements of the seasonal mobility of this community in the past are preserved and passed on through stories, songs, and memories, through tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Although now sedentary, modern-day descendants are still connected to this endless journey of their ancestors. The road refers to the actual movement in space and the memory of the cultural knowledge and skills required for living in mountainous regions, building dwellings, breeding animals, cooking food and making clothing and fabrics. Furthermore, the road is a metaphor for natural and cultural cycles related to natural transformations and cultural and religious celebrations, but it is also closely connected to human and animal life cycles. The life cycle structures a human life according to the events of birth, baptism, marriage, death, but also according to religious holidays and everyday life. The exhibition posters are arranged in a circle symbolising the life cycle but also as a sign of the seasonal movements of the Karakachan. The circle also represents the shape of the traditional Karakachan hut (kaliva). The visitors were invited to get inside the kaliva and to accompany the Karakachani in their never-ending travels. The posters presented several topics that play a crucial rôle in the Karakachan traditional and presentday way of life and their cultural representations: Life on the Road, the Road of Life, Around the Table, and the Rhythm of Festivities. In the centre of the kaliva there was a pan (tava) in token of the traditional women’s skills that are today emphasised as part of the community’s cultural heritage. The Exhibition was shown in Plovdiv (November 2018), and subsequently at the Museum of the Rose in Kazanlak (April 2019), the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest (May 2019), the Rousse Regional Museum of History (June 2019), and the Etar Open-Air Ethnography Museum, Gabrovo (July 2019). In developing the exhibition concept, the Bulgarian team worked with Yohannes Artinyan, who created the exhibition’s visual identity, and Dimiter Semkov (Semkov Studio), who incorporated our ideas in visual materials.


“On the Road” Exhibition opening in Plovdiv, Nov. 2018 Performance of Kaloyanina Ritual during a Fest in the open-air Sarakan’s settlement, near Glikoneri (Greece), 2017


Documentary and three short films The CU TENDA: Travelling with the Sarakachans documentary presents various aspects of the cultural heritage and living memory (music, dances, textiles and clothing, cultural technologies relating to food, production of dwelling places, feast days etc.) of the Sarakatsan community in Bulgaria and Northern Greece – the descendants of an old nomadic Balkan culture. The film follows the (spatial and metaphorical) travels of the research team through the cultural memory and heritage of the Sarakatsan community. The three short films are dedicated to three different topics: Life on the Move, The Road of Life and In the Rhythm of Celebration. They are based on some of our research findings and video interviews. The Bulgarian team worked in collaboration with documentary director Ekaterina Minkova and English interpreter Vitana Kostadinova. The documentary was presented at several scientific conferences (Samokov in September 2018, Plovdiv in November 2018, Bucharest in November 2018) and at the Exhibition’s opening events in Plovdiv (November 2018) and Kazanlak (March 2019). Interactive Exchanges The Bulgarian Team participated in three interactive exchanges in Tricase (Italy), Kumanovo (North Macedonia), and Bucharest (Romania). Our aim was to establish a closer connection with our partners by sharing expertise, finished projects, and research interests, as well as to discuss future joint activities and new projects. We carried out photographic documentation of various local communities and representations of their cultural heritage.



Annual National Festival of the Federation of Karakachani in Bulgaria near Sliven (Bulgaria), 2016 Performance of the “The Karavan� during the biggest annual Sarakachans festival on Balkans, Pertuli (Greece), June 2017 Kaliva and Chatura, Karandila Festival near Sliven, 2016 Annual National Festival of the Federation of Karakachani in Bulgaria near Sliven (Bulgaria), 2016


INTERVIEWS (fragments) Dimitris Grivas: My father used to say, “Don’t beat a dog or a child”. The true Karakachans, the shepherds, do not touch their dogs: if they did so, the dogs would stay by their side all the time. When the shepherd is on one side of the flock, the dog needs to be on the other side. Because wolves are a calamity. My father was five years old, in Turkey, with the shepherds, when our people used to cross over to Turkey to spend the winter, and he used to tell me there were white wolves. “There were more wolves than sheep. Really frightening.” If your dogs, the real sheep herders, were no good, your losses would be great. Every time they left Kotel to cross the country and go down to Turkey, the local people would try to steal a dog rather than a sheep. Which means that the breed they had couldn’t be found in Bulgaria at the time. Radka Belova: The first language we learnt was Greek. But now we teach our children to speak Bulgarian with proper grammar. You know what life is like. When I took my eldest daughter to the nursery here, the nurse asked me one day, “What is it with your daughter, Radka? All children ask for water and she keeps saying ‘nero, nero’ – we can’t understand her”. She is asking for water, I told them, in her mother tongue. We made a mistake, I found. For there comes a time when children understand both languages and do not speak, do not respond in either. ---Elena Kozarova: This is going to be a male watch chain, this is what we are making. This is how it is going to be . . . I am now knitting the last white bit. There will be two tassels at both ends, triangular ones. You attach it with a safety pin on the waistcoat and then you attach the watch to it. Some men would use it for their penknives, to keep them safe. Because waistcoat pockets are not very deep. This is how it is attached . . . Four silver straps and a graphite strap ... Question: How many do you need for the chain? Elena Kozarova: There has to be an odd number. All good things are in odd numbers with us . . . Radka Belova: A typical Sarakatsan dish is the so-called koshmar; it is made of fresh unsalted feta cheese – the cheese is left for a day to ferment, then it is slowly cooked until it melts, flour is added to turn it into a homogeneous mixture, it gets stringy, releases its own butter, you 34

add paprika and it’s just delicious.

------Panayot Kostov: I have tried cheese made in leather containers, it’s very tasty. Delicious, in fact. This is lamb skin, tanned, turned inside out; you put the cheese inside and add some milk, as well as fresh peppers to season it; it is something amazing. Paraskeva Kostova: This is the laziest kind of banitsa. As soon as the Sarakatsan caravan stops, the young wife gets the flour, prepares what she needs, and while the others are setting up the shed, she’s made the banitsa on her knee. Men never interfere in women’s work, really. Women make the fire, women pitch the tent . . . The Karakachans did not consider a woman who made this lazy version of banitsa accomplished enough. The thinner the phyllo pastry layers she rolled, the more accomplished the woman. My mother-in-law used to make her own phyllo pastry and produced banitsas with all sorts of filling: rice, spinach, sauerkraut . . . Let me turn it upside down, this is why it is called shtrifttorta . . . we’ll now stretch it out . . . we press it here and there, then it’s ready. Man 1: The Sarakatsan hut, kaliva, konaki in Greek, was built anew every summer. As you can see here, it is made of willow tree branches. In those days, before 1958, the entire structure was made by one man and several women, who would climb up it. No such thing is possible nowadays. They would choose a clearing next to a river as a place to stay. There would be at least a dozen families staying together, all of the same clan. They sold their produce in the villages down the river. When people were offered Sarakatsan cheeses, that is what they would choose because it was organic produce from the mountains. Elena Kozarova: Nowadays the brides are fashionable. At our weddings we have a preparatory day to make the ritual bread, to put the banner together – to this day, there is no Sarakatsan wedding without a Sarakatsan banner. The banner is made by the groom’s side. Bread is made on both sides. Before the veiling of the bride, there is an exchange of ritual loaves. In the last twenty years or so, since we established a band and a federation and societies, everyone has a traditional costume; no chests, no mothballs are needed, the costumes are well worn. Elena Kozarova: I am grateful to the older generation for preserving the costumes at home and for passing down the tradition . . . Even though sewing the banner and kneading the bread are just one part of it all, there is no Sarakatsan wedding without these symbols. It is really something in today’s hectic life . . . to preserve a part of the tradition is really something. 35

PAPERS (excerpts) Living in the Mountains: Sarakatsan Women’s Knowledge and Skills Krasimira Krastanova, Maria Kissikova The research is based on fieldwork and focuses on issues of communication and utilisation of cultural heritage by the communities and its rôle in conserving memory. It specifically looks at intangible women’s cultural heritage and technological knowledge and skills, as applied in close connection with the natural environment and preserved today as a symbol and memory of the Sarakatsan nomadic lifestyle. They are a pastoral community that crisscrossed the Balkans for centuries, until the middle of the twentieth century, living mainly in specific mountainous areas of Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Albania and Northern Macedonia, moving in search of pastures for their flocks. Their movements followed the changing seasons (the annual cycle) and were consistent with their main occupation: sheep breeding. This lifestyle entails a specific organisation of the community’s daily life and festive occasions. This text focuses on the specific knowledge and skills required for living in the mountains that were developed by the Sarakatsan women. The same as in any other traditional society, in the Sarakatsan community, the division of male and female work, male and female space, was definite and not subject to renegotiation. In the traditional organisation of the community, women are assigned mainly to look after the children and the home, and their duties usually include cooking food, making household textiles and clothing, and tending the domestic animals. The authors emphasise three important and specific activities for the woman in the Sarakatsan community: the construction of temporary huts (chatura and kaliva) during seasonal sojourns, cooking food (stretched banitsa, round loaf, ritual breads), making household textiles (woollen fabrics and clothing). If in the past these skills were a mandatory part of the women’s skill set, acquired in conditions of steady-state relationships between the community and the natural environment, in the present day, the knowledge and skills acquired as part of the nomadic lifestyle and through residing in the mountains operate differently in other contexts and acquire new meanings. They are of major importance to cultural education and become 36

cultural memory that is passed down to the next generation in the form of heritage. Heritage means assigning value to and adopting those symbols and cultural codes (including life in the mountains and the technologies needed in order to obtain natural resources and turn them into a cultural product) that bring significant information to the community and are regarded as markers of its identity.

Images of the Mountains in the Visual Narratives of the Karakachans Meglena Zlatkova and Elitsa Stoilova Methodological and Theoretical Notes The article presents images of the mountains in the visual narratives of our Sarakatsan collocutors. They shared their knowledge, memories, and experience of and in the mountains from the point of view of being sedentary people who have an urban lifestyle but are still close to the mountains. In the academic studies, the Karakachans describe themselves as a small ethnic group of Christians, who speak Greek as their native language and breed livestock. They mainly rear sheep and produce dairy products. They live in the mountains, in specific houses called “kaliva” and “konaki”, and travel according to the season together with their families and flocks, between winter pastures in the Aegean and summer pastures in the mountains of modern Bulgaria. Since the 1960s, they have settled in Bulgaria and changed this nomadic and pastoral way of life. The main issue that the article deals with is how modern people remember, tell and visualise the memory of the mountains as their former home. How and what images of and about the mountains are contained within their stories? In the search for the answer to these research questions we looked at the visual stories of a family that has undergone the transition from a semi-nomadic to a sedentary lifestyle. In the specific case of this family, after settling down in Communist society, in the 1970s they reared their own livestock on the mountain, following the knowledge and skills obtained in the years when the father of the family had lived a nomadic life. In the stories of our collocutors the mountain is presented as an area in which to live and reside, 37

a home, a place to rear animals, a space for the children’s games, a family place. They interpret the mountain as a memory, but also as the heritage of the specific culture and identity of the Karakachans. The incorporated heritage (ncorporated form of cultural heritage) is the specific knowledge/ability to live in the mountain. It is a resource for identity, collective memory support, and a distinctive marker to distinguish yourself from the others. The kaliva, the chatura, the banitsa, the animals are segments of the whole world of a changing Sarakatsan culture, which have now crystallised into a cultural heritage. This particular habitus is passed down to the current generation of children mimetically. The inheritors see the objects in the family cupboards, attend folk festivals, enter finished huts, order the production of costumes and flamburs. The specific habitus of the previous generations who lived in the mountains, made it their home, is filtered through the memory. Children are still socialised in skills related to the preparation of food, singing and dancing, and social activities, but in the conditions of urban culture and cross-border migration (mainly between Bulgaria and Greece), and through social networks. The mountain as an incorporated knowledge and skill, as a body that bears the memory of past generations, remains part of the symbolic layer of memory for future generations of the Karakachans.


Permanent Kalivas in open-air Sarakachans` settlement near Glikoneri (Greece), 2017

Osservatorio Ricerca Sociale centro studi politiche e ricerche sociali Tricase

PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The Association O.R.S. | Liquilab works on the restoration, safeguarding, enhancement and transmission of the intangible cultural heritage of the rural community of Mito, an area that today includes the municipalities of Tricase and Andrano, in southern Italy (Lecce region).


PROJECT ACTIVITIES // Ethnographic and Visual Research in the Mito Community by means of collecting the life stories of people who lived and/or live in the community, with particular attention to the evolution of the area since 1900 and to links between land and sea. The material was recorded over two years, between 2015 and 2017. // The investigation of intergenerational life stories, autobiographical memories, sacred and profane rituals, rural and marine environments, folk songs (stornelli) and religious songs, ancient games, legends and anecdotes, where family and community practices are mixed with the colours, landscapes and sounds typical of the territory. // Production of a short film of visual anthropology: “Comunità Mito. Stories, Images and Sounds” and a documentary of visual ethnography “A via du Mitu”. // Ethnographic fieldwork in the Mito area for ethnographic photo-reportage. RESULTS // Report on ethnographic research into the Mito community; // Photographic report on the Mito community; // Visual anthropology short film: “Mito Community: Stories, Images and Sounds”; // “A via du Mitu”, visual ethnography documentary; // “Quella materna e quella naturale” performance.


Interview with Antonietta Rizzo, peasant from Andrano, when she was sowing her fields (Mito area). The woman recalls the hard country life and sings some traditional songs.

“We used to own some land by the sea. My parents rented a house in Tricase and we spent almost all of our time in the country house, called ‘Paradisu’. We had a goat, a donkey, a cow. I was born in the country; I was always there, with my brothers and sisters. (…) We did go to school, but I failed my exams in my fourth year. My father said, ‘Didn’t you pass?’ He was talking to my one-year-older brother and me. He said: ‘Didn’t you pass?’ Well then, the hoe is there waiting for you. ‘Here it is, here it stays!’ Interview with Mario Mastria, farmer from Tricase in his fields, in Mito area. “My name is Sergi Salvatore, born on 2 February ‘44. As a hobby, I breed cattle for domestic use. I spend 90% of my spare time here. This area, this district was called ‘’ Vignicedda ‘’, for the simple reason that there were several vineyard plots around here. This was a place of great landowners. They made a dovecote that was the only resource to have a piece of meat in the stock, at least that is what people said. Moreover, it has remained intact since then.” Interview with Salvatore Sergi, farmer from Tricase in his countryside in the Mito area.


“Pasqualina Urso, born in Andrano. I have taught in Rome for several years. I dedicate myself to Church service work.” Interview with Pasqualina Urso in the Mito area together with Rocco Panico, building surveyor from Andrano, that tells: “I know inch by inch the whole territory of Andrano and Tricase (…).There is a legend that says that the first church or chapel was built here because of a group of people living here in the traditional “pajare”, and among them was a woman who had given birth to a tiny little baby girl, which although nursed by the mother kept crying, and crying but never grew bigger. Maybe the Virgin Mary woke her up, I am not sure about it, and anyway she realized that there was a snake sucking from the breast of this woman, so the child was starving, wasn’t growing, and cried continuously. The woman then dreamed about Our Lady and so that’s why the church is called “Madonna Dell’Attarico”. 17 May 2016. 42

“Another religious feast day, still celebrated, connected with the Mito area is the Festa della Madonna dell’Attarico which takes place in Andrano on the Sunday before the Festa della Madonna delle Grazie. On the first Sunday of August 2016, I take part in the torchlight procession which sets off from the centre of Andrano by sunset arrives as far away as the church of Attarico. Women and men of different ages, children and teenagers, they all walk, reciting prayers and singing hymns; at the end, the parish priest of Andrano blesses the puccia, a typical Salento bread, and the festivities begin with folk music groups and fireworks. The following morning Mass is celebrated in the church.� From the ethnographic notes of Ornella Ricchiuto.



Mario Mastria recalls: “The Madonna du Ritu fair we used to call it. Our Lady of Loreto. There was a nice big fair there.” Sara D’Aversa, another eyewitness, tells us: “We had a fair, we had Cuccagna. In the past there were so many people. One year there was a competition for the Palo della Cuccagna (Greasy Pole) and the prize for the winner was pasta with prickly pear sauce.” September 8th 2017, on the feast day of Madonna Del Loreto, in Tricase; the women were saying the rosary in front of the church.


Involvement of young students of the G. Comi Languages High School through bibliographical research into the Mito area and conservation of intangible cultural heritage. The boys go to the Abbazia del Mito where they meet Professor Pina Scarcella who recalls: “What we now call Masseria del Mito was nothing more than an ancient monastic abbey dedicated to Santa Maria del Mito or De Amito, or according to others to San Tommaso De Amito. Its origins are diverse, ranging from the Byzantine Greeks and the Normans to the Swabians and later the Angevins. It dates back, I believe, to the twelfth century, but before the abbey there existed several small monastic communities of the order or rule of St. Basil.” The boys comment on the report: “This project was unforgettable, full of new experiences and emotions!” The Bulgarian team, together with a group of students from the Liceo Classico e Scientifico G. Stampacchia in Tricase, take part in a guided tour of the Mito area, walking from the Abbey to Torre del Sasso by an ancient path connecting the hinterland to the sea.


The Italian team organises an excursion to the Giuggianello Ethnographic Museum. Visitors are met with the words of Primo Levi: “Consideri ognuno quanto valore, quanto significato è racchiuso anche nelle più piccole nostre abitudini quotidiane, nei cento oggetti nostri che il più umile mendicante possiede: un fazzoletto, una lettera, una fotografica di una persona cara. Queste cose sono parte di noi, quasi come membra del nostro corpo; né è pensabile di venirne privati nel nostro mondo, che subito ne ritroveremmo altri a sostituire i vecchi, altri oggetti che sono nostri in quanto custodi è suscitatori di memorie nostre” (Consider what value, what meaning is enclosed even in the smallest of our daily habits, in the hundred possessions which even the poorest beggar owns: a handkerchief, an old letter, the photograph of a cherished person. These things are part of us, almost like limbs of our body; nor is it conceivable that we can be deprived of them in our world, for we immediately find others to substitute the old ones, other objects which are ours in their personification and evocation of our memories.) His words assert a moral value against the lack of humanity and guide the visitor’s path. In the picture, Krassimira Krastanova is holding a raganella, a musical instrument made of Salento craft wood. 47

During the Italy-Bulgaria exchange, Anna Cinzia Villani performs traditional Salento songs at the Liquilab centre. At the end, a party with song and dance brings the two communities together. During the exhibition, we organised guided tours, folk music workshops, and a Balkan music concert. Another event was presented at the closing of the exhibition: a performance titled “Quella materna e quella natural,” a work connected to ethnographic research into the Mito area. The press conference for the “Cu Tenda Aromanians Stories” exhibition. 30 November 2018, 11.00 a.m., at the Sala della Grottesca (Rettorato, University of Salento, Piazza Tancredi, Lecce IT). Main speakers: Nicola Peluso, Tricase Counsellor for Culture; Eugenio Imbriani. Professor of Cultural Anthropology, University of Salento; Monica Genesin, Professor of Albanian Literature Language and Culture, President of CESMIL Centre for Linguistic Minority Studies, University of Salento; Lila Passima, Director of the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest; Ornella Ricchiuto, Sociologist and Researcher in Anthropology and President O.R.S. Liquilab. The conference was attended by local journalists who published reports in the local media. 48

Preparation of the “Cu Tenda - Aromanians Stories” travelling exhibition in the former Dominican Convent in the historic centre of Tricase (2 December 2018 - 3 February 2019). On this occasion the A via du Mitu visual ethnography documentary was screened, followed by a performance by the band Multumult.

Bringing kids closer to Aromanian tradition and folk music. The workshop was organised by musician Biagio De Francesco.

Balkan music concert held by the Italian team to promote the exhibition. Biagio De





and Daniela Damiani (vocals, guitar and tambourine) performed in the exhibition rooms. During the exhibition in Tricase, numerous guided tours were given. The “Aromanians Stories” exhibition was a huge success among the Tricase community and was appreciated by visitors, many of whom also left written comments. The total number of visitors was about 500. The category of visitors was mixed: researchers, local administrators, ordinary people, young people, children, tourists.


Workshop on ancient crafts at the home of Cristina Minerva, a teacher of weaving. There are also two teachers of embroidery: Tina Baglivo and Mariolina Dell’Abate. The Romanian team discovered the life stories of the Tricasine women and traditional embroidery, and they also had the opportunity to work on the loom. 29 May 2017. After listening to the testimony of Carlo Panico and Irene Vaglio as a case-history of “the return to the soil”, a homemade pasta workshop was held in their farmhouse in Tricase - called 50

Masseria Nonno Tore - where the Italian and Romanian team made “orecchiette”. 31 May 2017.

2 December 2018: inauguration of the “Cu Tenda - Aromanians Stories” exhibition at the “Sala del Trono dei Principi Gallone,” Tricase. First preview: “A via du Mitu”, visual ethnography documentary. Main speaker: Ornella Ricchiuto (director of Anthropological Research in the Mito Community); “Assessore alla Cultura” (Municipality of Tricase), Eugenio Imbriani and Monica Genesin (University of Salento), Lila Passima (director of the National Museum of Romanian Peasant, Bucharest). 51

3 February 2019. The “Quella materna e quella naturale” performance conveyed in artistic form the results of the anthropological research carried out in the Mito area. Drawing on field-research materials, the performance was based on the stories and non-verbal communication of the people interviewed. Body language was artistically reinterpreted through dance movements, to an accompaniment of traditional Salento songs. The performance aimed to celebrate Mother Earth and the link between secular and religious aspects of the Mito community, which has had a very strong religious undercurrent throughout its history, beginning with the arrival of the Basilian monks and continuing with the feat days of the Madonna Dell’Attarico and Madonna Di Loreto, which are major events in the life of the peasant community. Every figure was in fact a transfiguration of our true Mother, the Great Mother Earth. As an old man named Toto said: “I always teach my grandchildren that they have two mothers: their own mother and Mother nature.” This explains the title of the performance, which was a tribute to Mother Earth. Anna Cinzia Villani was the artistic director of the performance. The show was preceded by a workshop attended by ten women from the south of Salento.


“A via du Mitu”, is a documentary film of visual ethnography. It originates from the popular toponymy of the area of Mito, which is identified by the common people as the provincial road that joins two municipalities of the south Salento: Tricase and Andrano. Through its visual structure, the documentary film reveals the cultural models, the expressions of self-identity, the imagination of this community, and enriches the knowledge of its cultural heritage. The material was recorded in two years between 2015 and 2017. Through the stories of the people, typical aspects of the area have emerged, for example: the history and evolution of the Mito Abbey; religious celebrations linked to the Madonna dell’Attarico and to the Madonna di Loreto; the fair of the Madonna di Loreto; old games practiced as the “Palo della Cuccagna” or the “Tower of thousand cats”; the trades that took place (such as the tanning of hides and skins) and those that are still taking place, above all agriculture and breeding; the peasant diet (the paparotta consisting of fried bread, turnips and legumes); the importance of the “tratturi” as a link between the countryside and the sea; two case studies of “Back to Earth”.

Excerpts from research journals: Ornella Ricchiuto wrote a paper entitled “La Comunità del Mito. Prime annotazioni per la ricerca”, published in Palaver, an academic journal of Salento University, with the following abstract: Link to the paper: index.php/palaver/article/viewFile/19661/16721 In Il Bollettino. The culture magazine of the University of Salento, Eugenio Imbriani an article entitled “The Cu Tenda - Aromanian Stories Exhibition. One of the most important moments in a long journey of research into the history, life, language and customs of the Aromanians”. “Until 31 January, the Cu Tenda - Stories with Aromanians exhibition will be open in Tricase (Lecce), in the former Convent of the Dominicans, in the heart of the town, and is one of the most relevant moments in a long research journey into the history, life, language, and traditions of the Arumeni, better known, as the Valacchi: a nomadic people of the Balkans, scattered over a wide area, extending from the north Balkans to Greece. The exhibition was curated by the National Peasant Museum of Bucharest, which carried out the project with the Tricase Liquilab Study Centre, represented by scholars and cultural operators Giuseppe Ricchiuto and Ornella Ricchiuto, and with the scientific support of the chair of Cultural Anthropology and Cesmil (Scientific Centre for Linguistic Minorities) of the University of Salento. The Cu Tenda project was carried out thanks to scholars and institutions from south-eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Italy); the special anthropological research required a dynamic and interdisciplinary approach; a key rôle was played by Lila Passima, director of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant and curator of the exhibition, and her collaborators, great documentarists, in particular Cosmin Manolache and Georgiana Vhahbei (...)”. Link of the article: index.php/bollettino/article/view/1047/977 53

Centre for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) Kumanovo

PROJECT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The main aim of the project was to introduce Vlach/Aromanian culture to young people in Kumanovo and elsewhere, and to raise their awareness of both its diversity and its similarities with the other cultures and ethnicities of North Macedonia. According to the latest survey of Vlach culture in Macedonia, around 13,000 Vlachs or 0.5% of the population live in Macedonia. The Vlachs of Macedonia mainly live in the cities, mostly in Krusevo, Stip, Bitola, and Skopje. A minority lives in Kocani and Veles. The Macedonian Vlachs have a highly developed culture and cultural identity. The famous Vlach traditional costume and carpets are part of the rich North-Macedonian ethnological heritage. In the municipality of Krusevo, the Vlach language has been made official, on an equal footing with Macedonian. The second largest national television channel broadcasts in the Vlach language, and there is a Vlach Union of Culture and Publishing. The Macedonian Vlachs are Orthodox Christians.


PROJECT ACTIVITIES The Centre for Intercultural Dialogue focuses on various cultural activities at the local and national level: // A play for theatre // Workshops for young people // Hosting the Cu Tenda Exhibition // Publication of a guidebook about the Vlachs of North Macedonia

INTERCULTURAL WORKSHOPS – ARTS AND CRAFTS Another activity on which the intercultural workshops focused was presenting and teaching Aromanian culture through arts and crafts workshops for young people. The workshops were all held in the Kumanovo local youth centre. The guiding principle of the work was intercultural dialogue as a tool, whereby mixed groups of local youth (Macedonian, Albanian, Roma and Aromanian) were given a space in which to present their cultures to each other, and they underwent a process of intercultural learning, focused on discovering Aromanian customs and engaging in traditional Aromanian arts and crafts. Depending on the year/cycle, the workshops involved youngsters of different age groups from both secondary and primary schools. All the workshops were conducted bilingually, in both Macedonian and Albanian, and included groups of youngsters from both cultures. In total six cycles of the programme were implemented (two per annum in 2016, 2017 and 2018), with around ten to twenty participants in every workshop, all of which ended with an open exhibition that was done locally, either in public spaces or at the MultiKulti local youth centre. 55

The first year of the arts and crafts workshops (two cycles) included workshops with primaryschool youngsters, and it focused on the creation of Aromanian designs and traditional or mixed modern/traditional designs, which were collected to create unique t-shirt designs for the youngsters attending the workshops, designs that they themselves created. Besides t-shirt designs, these two cycles of the workshop also focused on designing and creating traditional Aromanian jewellery. The second year of the arts and crafts workshops (two cycles) were focused on storytelling and interior design. This series of workshops was aimed at young people from high schools, and the workshops were interlinked. The workshops focused on story telling explored different sets of traditional stories from Aromanians culture passed down through the generations, and the interior design workshops created typical rooms and settings from traditional Aromanian houses. These two sets of workshops had a final performance stage, where the young people presented their stories in a setting typical of Aromanian houses from the past. The third set of workshops (two cycles in 2018) focused on traditional stories passed down through the generations, fables and myths, intersecting with the modern daily lives of young people in North Macedonia. In addition to these workshops, there were also workshops for the creation of masks (both traditional and modern) for each of the fables and short stories. These two cycles of workshops resulted in a performance called ‘Faces and masks’ interlocking the traditional Aromanian fables with the daily lives of youngsters. Dragoslav Boskovski, one of the facilitators of the workshops, shared his impressions from the workshops: “Our workshops are based on arts and crafts, exploring the topic of Vlach culture and traditions. The participants are greatly interested, and ready to absorb and make use of the Vlach motifs and ornaments, and they find the Vlach music greatly stimulating and challenging. In our opinion, the participants are going to broaden their knowledge not only of Vlach culture but also of their own culture, and we strive to help them challenge the unwritten rules imposed by society.” 56


Hosting the exhibition by the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant The exhibition created by the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant arrived in North Macedonia in October 2018, and the Centre for Intercultural Dialogue hosted the exhibition in two cities around the country. The exhibition itself offered an insight into the imaginary of a culture which, since the nineteenth century, has undergone transformations, crossing various territories with their own specific aesthetics and identities. Designed as a visual essay, through eyewitness testimonies, self-representations, texts and elements of material and immaterial heritage the exhibition symbolically and fragmentarily reconstructs the imaginary of the Aromanian world as part of the imaginary of Balkan cultures in constant movement. The exhibition was hosted by the Krusevo Cultural Centre from 3 October to 15 October, before moving to the Mala Stanica Exhibition Centre in Skopje, from 19 October to 3 November 2018. In both cases, the exhibition opening featured a performance by experimental band Multumult from Romania, which mixes several Balkan musical styles.


The play for theatre The play was written by youngsters and its main aim is to present the life of young Aromanians in North Macedonia and the challenges they face in preserving their culture and language, and in addition, it explores the other challenges they face as youngsters. It has been performed in both Macedonian and Aromanian. The play was written during a ten-month intercultural theatre programme involving a multilingual group of youth and young actors from different ethnic groups, with the aim of first introducing them to theatre and then fostering their skills as actors, as well as tackling Aromanian culture and introducing youngsters from different ethnicities to the Aromanian heritage. The final result, a play for the theatre, was performed in the youth centres in Kumanovo and the town’s theatre. Guest performances were also given in theatres/palaces of culture in Krushevo, Bitola, and Skopje. The play was very successful, attracting around 1,000 visitors in total in all four cities, of all ages and ethnicities. The director of the play was one of the most prominent and famous actresses in North Macedonia, Keti Doncevska Ilikj. Through her longstanding work with different theatre groups, as well as with young people, and through intercultural dialogue, Keti developed a play that revolved around the modern life of Aromanian youth, their everyday problems and challenges, but also exploring the many dilemmas of young people in North Macedonia in general, regardless of their ethnicity or background. The play was filmed and a movie was developed, capturing the work of the entire team. Ivana Stefanovska, one of the young actresses, shared with us the following on her participation in the play: “This was one of the best experiences I have had in my entire life. I’d never been on stage before and it was a privilege to discover a new world, in which we presented the local reality in Macedonia, albeit through fiction. I was really devoted to the project and I’m so grateful to have been lucky enough for Keti (the director) to invite me to be part of this group of people who are now like my second family. I play a surly girl who is angry at the world. I get to scream and be sarcastic all the time, and the reactions were amazing! Everyone I know told me that it was fun to watch me perform a rôle that was the exact opposite of what I am like in real life and that 59

was a huge compliment. Again, I am so grateful, these were the best months of my life, and I’m so glad they’re not over yet, and we became really close as friends, as a family actually. I am enjoying every part of this experience, even the parts in which we are all stressed out. But it all worked out just fine and it was all worth it.”

PARTNERS: While working on this project we collaborated the following partners: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of North Macedonia / Krushevo Cultural Centre / Mala Stanica Exhibition Centre, Skopje Theatres: Teatar Trajko Prokopiev, Kumanovo / Krushevski Naroden Teatar, Krushevo / Narodenteatar Bitola / Mladinski Kulturen Centar, Skopje High schools: Gimnazija Goce Delchev, Kumanovo / SOU Pero Nakov, Kumanovo / OSTU NaceBudjoni, Kumanovo / SHMK Sami Frasheri, Kumanovo Primary schools: Naim Frasheri, Kumanovo / Vuk Karadzikj, Kumanovo / Krste Petkov Misirkov, Kumanovo Museum: Nacionalnaustanova Muzej Kumanovo, Kumanovo Associations: ‘Halca al Brova’ Vlach Association, Kumanovo


Creation of Guidebook about the Vlachs of North Macedonia This activity was aimed at promoting and raising awareness of Aromanian culture and heritage, aimed at a wide public, regionally, nationally and internationally. The guide as such was developed in collaboration with local Aromanian/Vlach associations in Macedonia and focuses on the north-eastern region of North Macedonia. The guidebook itself focused on exploring the lifestyle of Aromanians in the country, their specificities as well the differences and similarities with each other (the different Aromanian cultures in different parts of the country) and other cultural and ethnic groups. The guidebook was created by a prominent researcher and archaeologist Jovica Stankovski, who is famous for his discovery of the Kokino megalithic observatory. As a former director of the Kumanovo National Museum, he was able to provide a unique insight into the lives of the Vlachs in this part of the country, exploring their culture, traditions and traditional costume. The guidebook was developed in Macedonian, and subsequently translated into English. It is available both online and in print.




RO Lila Passima | project manager, curator, researcher, Head of Museum education Dept. Georgiana Vlahbei | project assistant | reasercher Cosmin Manolache | assistant curator | museographer Valentina Bacu | PR manager Iuliana Balan | promotion assistant Magda Raluca Oprea Minoiu | monitor - evaluator | Head of creativity Dept.

RO The Folk Art Museum, Constanța Secondary School from Camena, Baia, Tulcea county School No. 12, Constanța School No. 39, Constanța

BG Krasimira Krastanova | Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and History, the University of Plovdiv Meglena Zlatkova | Associated Professor and Head of the Department of Ethnology of the University of Plovdiv | Social Anthropologist and Ethnologist Assistant Professor Maria Kissikova (Petrova), PhD | ethnologist and anthropologist, working in the field of the intercultural communication, sociolinguistics, stereotypes, nationalism studies, and cultural heritage Elitsa Stoilova | Assistant Professor at Plovdiv University, in the Faculty of Philosophy and History, Department of Ethnology Petko Georgiev | Ph.D. in Cultural Science | Head of the Department of Special Collections at Plovdiv Public Library IT Ornella Ricchiuto: Sociologist | Project Manager and Researcher in Visual Anthropology. Eugenio Imbriani: Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Salento University | Scientific Monitoring of the Ethnographic Research. Monica Genesin: Professor of Albanian Literature and Language at Salento University | Linguistic consultant Giuseppe Ricchiuto: Researcher in Autobiography | Organising and Administrative Secretary; Technical and Operating Coordinator. Anna Cinzia Villani: Singer and Musician of Salento traditional music | Folk song and dance expert. Liquilab Contact:

BG Philology Faculty of the Thracian University of Komotini, Greece The Music School in Komotini, Greece National Archive, Plovdiv, BG Regional Ethnography Museum, Plovdiv, BG National TV Broadcaster (regional Department, Plovdiv), BG IT Comune di Tricase Liceo Statale Girolamo Comi di Tricase MK Theatres: Teatar Trajko Prokopiev, Kumanovo; Krushevski Naroden Teatar, Krushevo; Naroden teatar Bitola, Bitola; Mladinski Kulturen Centar, Skopje High schools: Gimnazija Goce Delchev, Kumanovo; SOU Pero Nakov, Kumanovo; OSTU Nace Budjoni, Kumanovo; SHMK Sami Frasheri, Kumanovo Primary schools: Naim Frasheri, Kumanovo; Vuk Karadzikj, Kumanovo; Krste Petkov Misirkov, Kumanovo Museum: Nacionalna ustanova Muzej Kumanovo, Kumanovo Associations: Association of Vlachs ‘Halca al Brova’, Kumanovo

MK Dragana Jovanovska | Project Manager | Executive Director C.I.D. Arta Abduli | Project Coordinator Stefan Manevski Matej Manevski Mila Josifovska


We built our TENDA on the grounds of curiosity, the desire to discover and understand. Our aim was to foster true encounters with “the others”: cultural groups, ethnic communities, minorities residing in the four national states. The challenge we assumed was to experience and understand cultural heritage, especially intangible heritage, through a multitude of perspectives and using various methodologies. As we see it, interdisciplinarity has a fundamental role in shifting perceptions, challenging views, provoking a more thoughtful insight. We’ve created artworks and cultural products that creatively re-imagine and explore layers of heritage, memory, identity and belonging - concepts which go beyond local, national, South or East or even European. By this, hoping to enrich and deepen reflections on what it means ‘to be’, culturally.


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