Here is a selection of projects on which the Slovakia group worked on in the second edition of the summer school.
Slovakia is a small country in the heart of Europe bordering Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria and Ukraine. It has only existed in its current form as an independent nation state since 1993 – previously, it was paired with the Czech Republic as Czechoslovakia, and before this was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The … Continue reading Vitajte na Slovensku – Welcome to Slovakia
Čechomor are a band popular in Slovakia (though actually from the Czech Republic, the cultures of the countries are inextricably linked) mixing traditional and rock musical styles. Here are the lyrics for the song, which tells the story of a girl named Andul’ka who gives birth to nine children but drowns them in the Danube … Continue reading Čechomor
While Slovakia and Hungary were both part of the Eastern Bloc, one of the philosophies of the communist ruling parties was taming the natural environment. The Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros dams were a project on part of the Danube which makes up the border of these two states, being an attempt to combine this environmental manipulation with improving … Continue reading Sústava vodných diel Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros – Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Dams
Reading and researching cuisine is never quite the same as tasting it. All the flowery prose in the world can never quite capture the exact sense of occasion that accompanies memorable culinary experiences – whether good or bad. With this in mind, a number of us set off towards Golders’ Green in search of ‘Dukla’ … Continue reading Jedlo – Food
Jana Kirschner is an award-winning female singer (speváčka) from northern Slovakia. Sama samučičká ako holubička, čierna ako tuha, na papieri šmuha. Život ako pieseň, smutná, dlhá jeseň, ach, tie clivé noty, klepocú jak boty. Kolíše sa luna, v srdci praská struna, v očiach bledé hviezdy, zdá sa, že sa brieždi. Ticho v ušiach píska, prázdna … Continue reading Jana Kirschner
The term ‘Slovak music’ is somewhat difficult to define. As we have learnt in our lectures, the entire heart of mainland Europe across the Danubian region has seen many changes of state and power, with the rise, fall and conflicts of mighty empires. The state we now call Slovakia has only been in place since … Continue reading Hudba – Music, a brief historical reflection
On Monday of the second week, we interviewed Zuzana, a Slovak librarian at SSEES. She lived in both Prague and Bratislava before moving to London, and has been here for about 8 years. Talking to her, we learned a great deal about what it means to be Slovak in London and what it is like … Continue reading Zuzana – a true Global Citizen
Slovakia has a rich poetic culture, which is unfortunately often neglected beyond her borders. Aside from a few translation specialist, Slovak poems are infrequently translated for a Western audience, and when they are, it is often amateur and much nuance is lost. This phenomenon is a result of the Cold War. The Železná opona, the … Continue reading Poézie – Poetry
Open any tourist guidebook on Slovakia and you’ll be greeted by impressive pictures and dreamy descriptions of lush mountains, silver lakes, dense forests and endless meadows, all dotted with traditional little villages and imposing stone castles leftover from the Hapsburg Empire. And this rather romanticised image of Slovakia (yep, Western Europe is once again guilty … Continue reading Slovakia- the “Little Big Country”
Having been set the challenge of creating a video to capture the essence of Slovak life in London, we immediately contacted the Slovak embassy in order to gain access to their current art exhibition. Not only were we provided with the opportunity to film there; we were extremely fortunate to be put in contact with … Continue reading The making of: A canvas of two cities
When we interviewed Zuzana at the SSEES library, she also showed us some of the library’s collection of Slovak books. To begin with, she showed us a book of Slovak art, including works by Zoltan Palugyay: We were also shown Samko’s Tales by Daniela Kapitáňová, a book of translated short stories titled ‘Searching for Homo … Continue reading Slovenské knihy – Slovak Books
Slovakia’s flag uses the traditional Pan-Slavic colours of red, white and blue (Other Slavic countries using the Pan-Slavic colours are Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Russia and the Czech Republic). The meanings of these specific colours are debatable but overall the colours are supposed to represent unity between the Slavic countries. In one sense, this common use … Continue reading Vexing Vexillology
According to the census of 2011, there were 105,738 people identified as Romani in Slovakia, making them the second largest minority after Hungarians with 2% of the population. Other sources claim that over 400,000 inhabitants of Slovakia, or 7.5%, may be Romani. The first mention of groups of Romani in Slovakia date back to 1322, … Continue reading Slovakia’s forgotten Roma
As a finale to the project we recorded ourselves speaking some Slovak. Enjoy! We introduce ourselves with our name and nationality, then together say that weare global citizens.