Chair of Frisian Language and Literature receives prestigious European grant for research on theatre culture in Friesland

The Chair of Frisian Language and Literature at the Faculty of Arts (University of Groningen) represented by prof. dr. Goffe Jensma, has been awarded a JP ICH 2020 grant (Horizon 2020) of 219,000 euros for international comparative research on intangible heritage: Revoicing Cultural Landscapes: narratives, perspectives, and performances of marginalised intangible cultural heritage.

The research will be carried out in collaboration with staff from the Minorities & Multilingualism group at the Faculty of Arts (University of Groningen) and is part of an international collaboration with universities in Great Britain (Falmouth University, Cornwall, lead partner), Latvia (University of Latvia), and Estonia (University of Tartu). Subject of Revoicing Cultural Landscapes is the question of how newcomers in a certain region appreciate traditional intangible heritage and learn to use it as a common local value.

The Frisian part of this research will focus on Frisian theatre culture. In today’s society, theatre is one of the most important pillars of Frisian self-confidence. On an amateur level, village theatre clubs still exist, in which one-half of a village holds up a farcical mirror to the other half from the stage. Next to it (and a bit above it) there is the enormously flourishing phenomenon of the so called “iepenloftspullen”. There, representatives of an entire village (and beyond) stand on stage, often led by semi-professionals, to show the rest of Friesland how they experience the world. Finally, there is the professional Frisian-language theatre, embodied in Tryater, among others, which targets not only Frisian, but also Dutch audiences. How do these forms of theatre relate to each other when it comes to self-consciousness? What role do non-Frisians, non-Frisian speakers play in each of these forms of theatre?

The Frisian results are compared with studies in the two other minority regions, that of the Cornish and that of the Lijfland minority. This will provide new insights into all the regions involved and also new ways of increasing the visibility and resilience of minority cultures.

The research will take place in the period of two years: from 2021 to 2023. The researchers from the University of Groningen are: Dr. Antine Zijlstra, Dr. Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar, and one post-doc, yet to be recruited.

The research is conducted under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Joana Silveira Duarte (PI). In addition, the partners who are involved in this research project are: Mercator, Keunstwurk and STAF, and Tryater.


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