During the course of the March and April, the GULAGECHOES team held two intensive off-site work sessions to code the interviews that the project had been able to complete since fieldwork began in earnest in the later autumn 2019. To date, and despite COVID-19 travel restrictions team members and sub-contracted researchers have been able to take over 100 interviews with former prisoners in Russia, Estonia, Georgia and Romania. This just under one half of all the interviews planned for the project, and which we hope to continue as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift allowing the ‘home team’ to get into the field. The purpose of the two three-day workshops was to begin the process of coding the interviews taken in Russia. In earlier workshops we had all got to grips with Atlas.ti and had had refined the code groups and codes that a preliminary reading of interviews suggested would be productive answering the main research questions of the project, as well as suggesting new categories. Taking the work off-site focused attention at the task at hand and helped us to achieve what we set out to do, and more.
Dr Larisa Kangaspuro attended the online conference «Thirty years later: the soviet legacy, its practices and discourses», organised by the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (MSSES), the European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP), Group for the anthropology of post-socialism «Soyuz» of the American Anthropological Association and the New Literary Observer Publishing House (NLO). The first day was included a section Ethnicity, «race» and migration. Presentations and discussion were enriched knowledge for our project.
Link to the conference programme
Three members of the GULAGECHOES team took part in a conference: Globalising Eastern Europe – New Perspectives on Transregional Entanglements that took place in Leipzig and online 20-24 April 2021.
The panel was entitled “Transregional entanglements of Crime and Punishment”. It gave members of the GULAGECHOES team to present some of their preliminary findings from the fieldwork that we have been able to undertake, despite COVID-19. Dr Costanza Curro gave a paper on her work on reform in the Georgina prison system: “Perspectives on the Europeanisation of Georgia’s penal system” and Dr Rustam Urinboyev presented the interviews he took with former Uzbek prisoners who served their sentences in Russian penitentiaries: “Locked up in Russia: transnational prisoners’ social relationships within and across the prison walls”. These were put in the context of post-1989-1991 members of the former communist countries of international human rights organisations by Professor Bill Bowring of Birkbeck College, the University of London and the project leader, Professor Judith Pallot, who also organised the panel. Dr Sofiya Gavrilova of the IFL, Leipzig chaired and commentated.
The conference was organised by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) Regional Conference in conjunction with Leibniz Science Campus “Eastern Europe – Global Area” (EEGA)
The project Director taking part in the round table event of members of the EEGA-BASEES organising committee summing up a successful conference