Agnieška Avin and Aušra Simoniukštytė, lecturers at the Department of Social Welfare, Faculty of Pedagogy – one of the initiators and implementers of the first archive of Romani oral history in the Baltic States


On 9 February 2022, the results of the unique project “Lithuanian Roma Oral History Archive” were presented at the Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library. During the project, researchers and lecturers from Södetörn University (Stockholm), the Central European University (Vienna), the Centre for Social Anthropology at Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas), Vilniaus kolegija/Vilnius University of Applied Sciences who are experts in Romani language and history, gathered ethnographic material on the Romani community in Lithuania, memories of the WWII, the experiences of nomadic people, life in the Soviet era, and traditional dishes. Dr Kirill Kozhanov, Gopalas Michailovskis, an activist of the Lithuanian Roma community, and Agnieška Avin and Aušra Simoniukštytė, anthropologists at Vilnius University of Applied Sciences, gave scientific presentations on the language, history and culture of the Lithuanian Roma. There was also a discussion on the process of the archive’s creation and future perspectives, and the inclusion of the diverse history and culture of the Lithuanian Roma in the curricula of Lithuanian schools. In addition to the above-mentioned speakers, the discussion was also attended by Dr Jolanta Budriūnienė, Director of the Documentary Heritage Research Department of the National Library, Vytis Vidūnas, Sanskritologist and lecturer at the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies of Vilnius University, and Prof. Dr J. Zabarskaitė, Chief Methodologist at the Department of Lithuanian Studies of the DPTD. The conference was welcomed by the Director General of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas, and the Director of the Department of National Minorities under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, Dr. Vida Montvydaitė.

Photos: presentation of the Lithuanian Roma Oral History Archive at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.