Safeguarding activities of the Suiti cultural space during the reporting period were directed towards achieving the primary objectives as stated (see Section B.3a).
Pre-school children have opportunity to acquire kokle-playing (since 2012), mostly based upon contribution of a local tradition bearer. Alsunga Secondary School joined the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (2009–2011) focusing on safeguarding of ICH – pupils and teachers participated in seminars and expeditions. Suiti local cultural studies were introduced in school curriculum, every year being acquired by on average 40 pupils. Methodical materials and textbooks are currently being drawn up. Suiti culture is integrated in several subjects – the Latvian language and literature, history of Latvia, geography, culturology, housekeeping and technologies, visual art, music, social sciences, as well as class meetings. However, it is difficult to find appropriate time in curricula for getting acquainted with Suiti cultural elements. Playing of ethnographic kokle was introduced in Alsunga Music School in 2010 in co-operation with Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, and 8 instruments – kokles – were ensured. In turn, the course “Traditional Culture” was integrated in visual art studies, applying innovative methodology.
Each year summer camp for children and youth “Suitu tradīciju skoliņa” [The Little School of Suiti Traditions] is organised, and on average 30 children and young persons mainly from amongst Suiti participate therein. The school offers to acquire Suiti traditions and history by going to museums and having practical lessons. The camp has boosted the interest of children and youth, as well as parents.
Involvement of children and youth in folklore and dance groups is active – they are participating in festivities, concerts and competitions. Suiti ethnographic ensembles and dance groups have vast performance experience in local annual and religious festivities and international folklore festivals. Suiti ethnographic ensembles are very recognisable in Latvia. The performance of liturgical chants in drone singing introduced by Suiti has become popular and performed by the ensemble “Suitu sievas” in various places in Latvia. New participants joined “Suitu sievas”, in turn, the number of participants of ensembles “Gudenieku suiti” and “Maģie suiti” has reduced, due to the change of generations, and decrease of the number of local residents.
The summer solstice traditions and festive gatherings, services and concerts have been jointly organised in Alsunga, Jūrkalne, Gudenieki as well as Basi. Country band “Suitu muzikanti” was created in Alsunga in 2010, restoring the traditional forms of playing music in annual and town festivities. In turn, traditional ensemble “Basu suiti” commenced activities in Basi in 2011. Due to insufficient human and financial resources tradition of playing bagpipes has not been restored, however, certain self-instruction training has been commenced.
Suiti wedding traditions are mainly practised in the activities of ethnographic ensembles. Interest regarding Suiti wedding traditions is observed also outside the community, however, it is less consistent in the community itself, and weddings based on Suiti traditions is rather rare within the scope of the Suiti cultural space.
Creative workshop “Austuve” in Alsunga increased the number of looms, traditional costumes are made, including for local dance groups of children and youth, as well as middle generation. Association “Suitu amatnieki” has organised Suiti traditional costume workshops – sowing of bonnets (aube), knitting of socks, making of pearled collars and wristbands (dūrgali). Permanent exposition of Suiti costumes in Alsunga Museum, and several exhibitions dedicated to Suiti handiwork were organised.
“Suitu mantojuma krātuve” [Suiti Heritage Repository] established by the ECC “Suiti” includes the elements of Suiti traditional costume, and on that basis a detailed publication regarding its wearing practice will be issued. Educating seminars and exhibitions of works of Suiti artisans have been organised, including in community festivities. As for singing traditions, the third international drone singing festival took place in 2010. Comparatively small funding was available for organising it, and it would be preferable to attract wider attendance. The next festival is planned in 2014.
During the last four years, several publications on the Suiti culture have been issued, namely on kokle playing traditions, pupils' participation in field work on Suiti culture, Suiti culinary heritage and dialect use. A catalogue of Suiti traditional costumes is being prepared, and several videos regarding Suiti annual and religious festivity – Saint Michael’s Day – have been taken and shown on the Latvian Television. List of publications see at: http://www.suitunovads.lv/lv/gramatas_un_publikacijas/.
As for periodicals, a column “Suiteņu stāsti” is published in Suiti dialect of Latvian language in the monthly issue “Alsungas ziņas”, available to the inhabitants of Alsunga municipality. Cultural events of Jūrkalne and Gudenieki are reflected in newspapers of the relevant municipalities once a month. The idea regarding a single monthly issue for the Suiti cultural space has not been carried out. However, it depends on the level of interest, co-operation and financial investment of relevant local governments.
The research and renovation of Alsunga Livonian Order Castle was commenced in 2010, and the castle offers informative excursions. Due to the limited financial resources the progress of rescue operations of the castle is slow, and the premises may become dangerous. In 2010 Basi Cultural Centre was renovated, and in 2011 – Jūrkalne Cultural Centre, in turn the internal renovation of Alsunga Cultural Centre was completed in 2012. Additional funding would be necessary for complete renovation of Alsunga Cultural Centre and to landscape its surrounding territory.
The intended State programme for safeguarding and long-term development of the Suiti cultural space was not established, however, the development of roads of local significance is planned for the upcoming years. In 2013 an initiative has been expressed to the State Culture Capital Foundation to establish a programme for supporting the Suiti culture. As regards developing cultural environment of the Suiti community, restoration of Suiti churches – Saint Michael’s Catholic Church in Alsunga, Saint John’s Roman Catholic Church in Gudenieki and Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Jūrkalne – was continued. Community participated in landscaping of the church territories. The cultural values of churches – including altarpieces, chapels, organs, wood carvings, chandeliers – were gradually restored.