November 2013

Workshops in Kėdainiai – November 6th

One of the presentations at the Multicultural Centre was featured on the local news programme on Balticum TV on Monday night. You can view the news feature from 4:30 till 8:49 in the clip.

Workshops in Kėdainiai – November 6th


The final day of the workshop was an opportunity to both exhibit the work from all the activities in the Multicultural Centre and to recap on what the participants had learnt during their explorations of the town and its surroundings and their meetings with various experts.

The morning was spent in three mixed teams with an ‘Orientation Game’, working out specific locations and places from a series of questions, prompts and images. Then followed a ‘Brain Challenge’, with a series of quizzes about the history of the town and the wider links between the regions.

In the afternoon, all the work was brought together from the different and exhibited for all participants to see, enjoy and reflect upon.

Thanks to Rimantas Žirgulis and Audronė Pečiulytė at the Kėdainiai Regional Museum for all the local organising of this event, in liaison with Ksenija Konopek at Borderland. 

Workshops in Kėdainiai – November 4th


Artistic workshops continue all day, print-making, papercutting and wood carving.

Here’s a gallery from the activities.

At 17.00 in the Multicultural Centre there was a lecture on literature by Vytautas Toleikis. He spoke about the connections between Miłosz, Venclova, and Donelaitis. While giving some historical context to their work in terms of the times and places in which they lived, he also spoke of their connectivity in terms of attitude, their tolerance and interest in the intertwining of many cultures.


You can find an article by Vytautas Toleikis here about Jewish heritage in Lithuania.

Participants were then given 20 historical characters from the region and asked to make of selection of these, looking for connections and overlaps. For example, the Kaliningrad group suggested:

P.A. Stolypin, the gifter of Pushkin’s busts; Tėvas Stanislovas, sufferer from communism and proper antiquarian; Arvo Pärt, bells-lover; Eduard Ivanovich Totleben, General, latent diplomat and returner of F.M Dostoyevsky.

(Note: there is an interesting story about Arvo Pärt visiting the unusual house of Stanislovas at Paberžė, and playing with the priest’s collection of bells, inspiring him to compose with Tintinnabuli.)

The evening concluded with a presentation of photographic work from Kėdainiai and the local environment made by Vydas Bečelis. Of particular interest was a stunning series of images of the many ruined manor houses. This was followed by the showing of a series of documentary films made in the town in 1971, 1977 and 1988.

Workshops in Kėdainiai – November 3rd


Song and dance workshops took place in the Multicultural Centre and art workshops were held in the adjacent building which houses Kėdainiai art school. Below is a short extract from the traditional Lithuanian folk song workshop…

Formerly the Great Synagogue, the art school building dates from 1784. During the war the Germans used the building as stables and later the Soviets used it as a storehouse, its formery rich interiors completely lost. In 1993 the building was returned to the Jewish community who presented it to the Minucipality in 1998. The building was restored and in 2004 the art school moved into the building, holding classes for all members of the community. Wood carving workshops were also held in the Scots Arnets House.


Participants are working in three groups, circulating between the three different workshops in the different locations from 10.00 – 14.00, then 15.00 – 19.00, with an evening presentations from 20.00- 22.00.


Song and dance workshops: Regina Lukminienė, with the help of Algimantas Kiseliūnas and Leonas  Mikolaitis. Regina is the leader of the folklore group ‘Jorija’.

Art workshops: Jovita Buinevičienė

Papercutting craft workshops: Albina Mackevičienė

Sculpture / wood carving: Audrius Vasiliauskas


In the evening ‘Jorija’ presented an evening of song and dance with participants and guests. Here’s a gallery of images from one of our participants Krzysiek Kozłowski.

And here’s a short video clip…

Workshops in Kėdainiai – November 2nd

Today a touring workshop takes us further afield, along the Issa Valley to Šeteniai to participate in a literature workshop in The White Granary – this is a former barn of the manor where Czesław Miłosz was born, and was the only surviving structure from the estate. It was renovated and converted into a residential conference centre in 1999.

In this short extract, Małgorzata Sporek-Czyżewska reads a passage from ‘The Issa Valley’, Miłosz’s novel from 1955, in which he memorialised the place of his childhood. This passage – here read in the original Polish and then translated to Russian by Aleksandra Sikorkaya – relates to the story of Magdalena, whose love affair with the local priest ends in her suicide. Her spirit return to haunt the parish. When Catholic exorcisms fail to release her spirit, the village resorts to a violent pagan rite, with the new priest’s tacit approval…

We also visit Paberžė - where the January uprising of 1863 began in Lithuania. This was a rebellion in the territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (present-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, parts of Ukraine, western Russia) against the Russian Empire. One of the rebellion leaders, a Lithuanian priest, Antanas Mackevičius, worked here at this church. In the graveyard of Paberžė are many members of this rebellion.

From 1966 to 2005 the monk and priest Algirdas M. Dobrovolskis (known as Father Stanislovas) lived and worked in Paberžė. He was a collector of many things, including liturgical clothes and accessories which are on view in one of the church’s buildings. Crosses of famous cross-maker Vincas Svirskis are also in the church, as is an amazing folk art collection from Father Stanislovas, and artworks made from his art therapy sessions with alcoholics and drug addicts.

Photo: Krzysiek Kozłowski

There is the museum near the church, which is devoted to the story of the 1863 rebellion. The museum was established in 1993 in the former manor house (itself built in 1793) of Stanislovas Šilingas – landowner and supporter of the Uprising. We then visited Šventybrastis church to find the graves of ancestors of Czeslaw Miłosz. Immediately outside the churchyard are several huge ancient oaks believed to have been the site of pagan rituals. Finally we visited  the ruined manor of Sirutiškis.

Photo: Artem Drobyszewski

In the evening, we saw a film about the Issa Valley and Brendan Jackson presented the structure of the project website, inviting participants – both our guides and travellers to submit material – their photos, drawings, short texts, reflections of their journeys, the things that they were learning, or simply to share something about the place they lived with the wider world.

Here’s a small gallery of the day…

Workshops in Kėdainiai – November 1st


Our first full day, All Saints Day, was taken up with guided walks of the town by Rimantas Žirgulis and Audronė Pečiulytė, a tour which revealed the many nationalities and religions that have lived together in this town for centuries. We started at Didžioji (Great) Street  and the Museum (a former Carmelite monastery), and went onto the Great Market Square (Didžiosios Rinkos aikštė) facing the river, a visit to the Evangelical Reformed Church on Senoji Street which has the Radziwill Mausoleum in the basement. Next to this is the Scots Arnet House, which was once the home of a Scottish merchant who became Mayor – it is now under the adminstration of the Museum. Then we went to the large wooden structure St Joseph’s Catholic Church, and onto the Orthodox Holy Transfiguration Church.


Within 100 metres of this building is the local government building which houses the Vytautas Ulevičius museum, which has a fantastic collection of wooden sculptures. Then we visited the 17th century Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Photo: Krzysiek Kozłowski

Finally we came back to the Old Market Square and the former synagogue which now houses the Multicultural Centre, where our working sessions are being held.

Translations for all the sessions are provided by Aleksandra Sikorkaya and Anastazja Sidor.

The afternoon session looked at the Archaeology of Kėdainiai, with a presentation by archeologist, Algirdas Juknevičius, who was born in the town. He explained how he began to first dig the Old Town in 1991, systematically excavating several sites. Since 1995, he has been working with the regional museum.

Following the session, we took a trip to the outskirts of the town where many hundreds of residents were gathering at Kėdainiai cemetery for the close of All Saints Day, a national holiday in Catholic countries, as people came together to remember their dead family and friends.