Neighbourhood in Europe: Prospects of a common future

Belarus, Estonia, Russia and Ukraine: four countries whose destinies are tightly interwoven. Now the S. Fischer Foundation, the German Academy of Language and Literature, and Allianz Cultural Foundation have created a transnational platform for discussing the most pressing country-specific topics in a common European context.

Neighbourhood in Europe


This article is based on the author’s contribution to the Debates on Europe series, created by S. Fischer Foundation, the German Academy of Language and Literature, and Allianz Cultural Foundation.

The topic of the series is “Neighbourhood in Europe: Prospects of a common future”. The St. Petersburg Debate on Europe took place from 15 to 18 May 2016, with public sessions on the evening of 17 May. Read also:

Carl Henrik Fredriksson
In a backyard that doesn’t exist

Senad Pecanin
Bosnia in Ukraine

Bruno Schoch
In defence of the citizens’ nation

Taciana Arcimovic
Neighbourhood as an assertion of autonomy

Ivaylo Ditchev
Borders are back in fashion

Further information

The platform, entitled “Neighbourhood in Europe: Prospects of a common future”, supports five conferences conceptualized to generate an ongoing series of debates. The first conference took place in October 2015 in Narva, Estonia, where participants assembled at the University of Tartu’s Narva College to discuss a range of issues relating to identity and literature. Highlights included a panel discussion on diverse multilingual settings in Estonia, Russia and Ukraine. The moderator was Manfred Sapper of Osteuropa, and regular Eurozine contributor Volodymyr Kulyk was joined by legal scholar Marju Luts-Sootak, historian Anti Selart, and the semiotician and literary scholar Mihhail Lotman.

The next conference takes place from 7 to 10 December in Minsk, Belarus, under the title Diverse identity experiences – one nation? The focus here is on internal and external perceptions of national borders, as well as how such borders are transcended by various constellations of community, identity and everyday life. The event is organized jointly with Olga Shparaga and Alexey Bratochkin from the European College of Liberal Arts in Belarus, in close cooperation with the “Ў” gallery of contemporary art in Minsk.

The Narva River flows between Hermann Castle in Narva, Estonia (right) and the Ivangorod Fortress in Russia (left). Photo: Aleksander Kaasik. Source: Wikimedia

The same day proceedings wrap up in Minsk, the third conference in the series opens in Kharkiv, Ukraine, where discussion revolves around perspectives on living together in regions of conflict. The Kharkiv event runs until 12 December; partners include the Ukrainian author Serhii Zhadan and the philosopher Yaroslava Bondarchuk, as well as the Vasilkovsky Gallery. Further conferences are scheduled to take place in 2016 in St. Petersburg and in Vyborg in Russia, with the focus of the latter being the Finnish-Russian neighbourhood in Karelia.

Eurozine is the platform’s media partner; the initiators are the S. Fischer Foundation, the German Academy of Language and Literature, and Allianz Cultural Foundation.

Published 2 November 2015
Original in English
First published by Eurozine

© Eurozine

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