Relation between mires and Estonians: from Disdain to Adoration

Illustrasjons-/bannerbilde for Relation between mires and Estonians: from Disdain to Adoration

Historically bogs have been looked upon as ugly, useless, dangerous and therefore unwanted (except for fuel). But this view on peatlands has slowly changed in the public mind. But how and why?

In the presentation, Piret Pungas Kohv will briefly discuss the cultural history of wetlands in Estonia, focusing on the relationship between people and the mires through heritage, institutionalization and more notable events that have shaped the relationship over the past 150 years. I will give a brief overview of the changing attitude towards mires in Estonia, using three main "steps" of development, presenting the connection through traditional, industrial and ecological approaches.

Piret Pungas-Kohv is a cultural geographer. In 2015, she completed my doctoral thesis at the University of Tartu, focusing on heritage maintenance processes, with Estonian mires as a key example. That year, the European Commission's LIFE program funded the LIFE Mires Estonia project, where she began working at the Estonian Fund for Nature as an environmental awareness expert. Piret developed educational materials targeting diverse groups to raise awareness about wetlands and their restoration, while also exploring representations of Estonian mires in literature. Although the LIFE Mires Estonia project has ended, wetland restoration efforts in Pärnumaa continue under the WaterLANDS project. At the center of these endeavors, family, dancing and gardening also want her attention.

This presentation is part of the exhibition Down in the Bog: Hibernation at Ned i Myra: Dvale at Tromsø Kunstforening / Romssa Dáiddasiida. More information:                                                       

Moderated by Karolin Tampere.

Language: English

'Down in the Bog: Hibernation' is an exhibition and a place for learning and sharing from peatlands around the world, arguing for the need of increased attention and care. 'Hibernation' is the first of the three chapters of the overall project 'Down in the Bog - Thinking with Peatlands'. Slowly growing, like peat forming, this project-in-process is composed by Karolin Tampere. The works on display, the discursive and live program, aim at large to give poetic, imaginative and dreamlike nutrition to more sturdy layers of awareness, knowledge and care. To together learn from the ecosystems of Peatlands.

'Down in the Bog - Thinking with Peatlands' is led by an ambition to create cross-pollinating meeting grounds for art, environmental issues and the public. The exhibition project emphasizes the sharing and embodying of knowledge and awareness to create attention towards the need for increased care of peatland areas, locally, nationally and internationally. Practically and conceptually the topic of Peatlands will act as a guiding map and compass to learn about historical, cultural and contemporary changes in the environments around us in Sápmi, Northern Norway, Estonia and selected locations internationally.

The project will continue its second chapter Sporulation presented at EKKM (Estonian Contermporary Art Museum) in Tallinn June 14 - September 1 2024, to return to Tromsø with the third and deepest layer. The symposium 'Thinking with Peatlands' will respond to the resonances activated alongside the forming of the previous chapters. Save the date for the 3 day symposium September 27-29 2024
Stay tuned! More information will follow.

The project is supported by the Norwegian Arts Council

When: 09.04.24 kl 17.00–18.30
Where: Online
Location / Campus: Digitalt, Tromsø
Target group: Ansatte, Studenter, Besøkende
Contact: Karolin Tampere
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