Centre for the Study of the Balkans Events Archive

Archived events from the Centre for the Study of the Balkans.

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Sava - film screening and discussion with director Matthew Somerville

November 30, 6:30 pm, BPB Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths University of London

Sava is a river movie, a documentary film and a journey down what was once the longest river in Yugoslavia

An ancient river tells us her story, conversing with inhabitants along her flow. Corseted by man, she is an artery not a barrier, taking the viewer on a 990 km journey through divided lands she seeks to understand. She is Sava (Mira Furlan).

Her ethereal voice acts as a guide between people who share stories, memories and visions of the future which navigate an innate connection to nature, a relationship with borders and the construct of nationhood.

For millennia Sava has been a witness to human history; a conduit between East and West, the dividing line of great empires and a common thread between nations. Sava's journey connecting these young nation states begins in Slovenia taking us through the entire country and into Croatia where she eventually forms the border with Bosnia and that of the European Union frontier, finally we enter Western Serbia where she flows to the heart of Belgrade and joins the Danube.

Old Steelworkers ruminate on what their communities have lost and gained by the fall of heavy industry, musicians and drag queens and new ways to talk about their own and regional identity, ferrymen deliberate on hydropower shifting the rivers ow, war veterans question what independence was for and anarchists who seek to escape the ever invasive and controlling machinations of the state.

With the river as the protagonist, voiced by former-Yugoslav actress Mira Furlan. Speaking on behalf of Sava her voice transcends borders and ideology stimulating a discourse between humanity, nationhood and nature.

The film will be presented by its director, Matthew Somerville.

Discussion moderator: Dr Nada Zecevic, Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Goldsmiths University of London

To book your free ticket.

Searching digital: Methods, tools and standards of research in digital humanities


The Goldsmiths’ Centre for the Study of the Balkans in collaboration with the Department of History of Art, Birkbeck University of London, and supported by the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership is organising a series of workshops Searching digital: Methods, tools and standards of research in digital humanities. The series will offer focused trainings in specialised digital skills procedures and standards that are currently considered to be among the essential ones applied in the research of the humanities in any historical context or space.

The field of Digital Humanities (DH) is among the fastest growing fields of scholarship, opening up wide opportunities for a ground-breaking research of an interdisciplinary character and global outreach. However, the practical implementation of this field often shows substantial gaps, among which certainly a variation of scholars’ knowledge about digital tools, methodologies and standards.

This series of trainings opens the ground for discussing some new specialised tools, resources and standards needed for an efficient and creative research in the highly sought fields of digital humanities. How to digitise, store and restore, manipulate, and interpret the knowledge of the past? What are the technical, ethical and interpretative challenges involved in this? How to best use your practical knowledge in digital cataloguing, archiving, mapping and analysing diverse types of historical primary sources?

The series’ training sessions graft upon the experience of international scholars who contributed to the development of efficient digital solutions to the challenges of their field. Using the examples of their own expertise in early-modern and modern history, politics, film studies and preservation, heritage and library/archival collections, the trainers will direct the applicants to develop efficient tools and solutions to their own research questions in any field of humanities.

The series consists of six full-day sessions that will be held in June and September 2021. The June workshops will be held online. The mode of training in September will depend on the actual situation with the Covid-19 pandemic and will be confirmed by the end of June 2021.

Programme in September 2021:

21 September, 10am-4pm

Letters: modelling and analysis with Mag. Dr Thomas J.J. Wallnig, Privatdoz, Institute of Austrian Historical Research and Department of History, University of Vienna, Austria

Letters are historical sources relevant across centuries and continents. But what would be the technical preconditions for comprehensive queries, in-depth analyses, and the re-use of letter data? The workshop will address these problems from the perspective of data management, before proceeding to the interaction between data modelling and analysis. Two hands-on sessions will include basic TEI XML and the use of selected online tools.  

24 September, 10am–4pm

Digital Memoryscape with Professor Nevena DakovićTheory and History Department, Faculty of Drama Arts, University of Belgrade, Serbia.

Belgrade memory narratives, in themselves rich in identity, projected onto the digital memoryscape and connecting real and virtual topography, reflect the multicultural identity of the Balkan metropolis. The capital of the succeeding states, placed at the intersection of Europe and the Balkans, the East and the West, a bridge between cultures and civilizations of Orient and Occident, Belgrade is paradigmatic noeud de mémoire et d`histoire. Furthermore, BDM becomes a space of the interplay of urban/national memory and identity that contributes to their promotion and visibility in the global digital world.

How do we model and plan digital memoryscape of the chosen city or of one its lieux de memoire? How do you decide about the place and topic? What are the research and archival sources? What type of media and narratives do we employ (fiction, faction, history, literature, films, music, oral testimonies)?

29 September, 10am–4 pm

Would you rather…?: The ups, downs, uses and dilemmas of digitising history with Dayna MillerKingston University Archives and Special Collections  Library and Learning Services 

This session will discuss the approach that Kingston University Archives and Special Collections has taken to digitisation. From decisions about digitisation priorities to lessons learned from the Coronavirus Lockdown, participants will hear about practical challenges that funding, staffing, and moving premises can pose to a digitisation programme.

In addition, the session will raise questions over why archives digitise at all. Looking at ethical as well as pragmatic concerns, participants will have a chance to consider the benefits of digitisation for researchers and for archives, but also the disadvantages, and the fine balance that archives must strike for one to outweigh the other.

The session will also provide an opportunity to engage with material from a number of the Archive’s collections. This includes a 15th Century Serbo-Croat Armorial from the Vane Ivanovic Library as well as more recent historical items; all of which can be viewed in a wider context than might first appear. Participants will work through a series of ‘archive dilemmas’ represented by these items and will be asked to apply to them a methodology presented during the session along with their own ideas about what it means to digitise history.

Please apply via eventbrite or CHASE.

Programme in June 2021:

9 June , 10am-4pm

Access to Archives, Digitization, Digital Preservation and the Concept of Record Trustworthiness in a Digital Environment. The Experience of the Blinken Open Society as the Archival Laboratory of Digital Records 

Session Trainer: Robert Parnica, Senior Reference Archivist, Open Society Archives (OSA), Budapest (Hungary)

16 June, 10am-4pm

Approaches in Object-based DH Research, Reconstruction and Visualisation 

Session trainer: Dr Kateřina Horníčková, Researcher / DH Projects Coordinator, Institute of Applied Informatics, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice  (Czech Republic)

21 June, 10am-4pm

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: On the Use and Usefulness of Digital Humanities in History and Beyond 

Session trainer: Dr Mihailo Popović, Project Leader TIB Balkans, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Medieval Research - Division of Byzantine Research, Vienna (Austria)

For eligibility criteria and applications, see  CHASE/ Training and Development Opportunities or at Eventbrite.

The series is made possible by the generous support of CHASE, Doctoral Training Partnership.

Diagnosing and treating disease in Byzantine hospitals image

February 10, 7 pm - Diagnosing and Treating Disease in Byzantine Hospitals

Public Lecture by Petros-Bouras Vallianatos
Introduction: Dr Nada Zecevic, Goldsmiths University of London, Department of History
Moderation: Dr Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, Goldsmiths University of London, Department of History  

This talk focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disease in Byzantine hospitals (xenōnes). It uses evidence from the corpus of surviving Byzantine hospital recipe books (xenōnika), including all the edited and unedited examples.

It also considers important non-medical sources, such as charters of medical institutions, legal sources, epistolography, and archaeological evidence. In this venture, particular attention will be paid to the role of uroscopy whether in conjunction with the examination of the pulse or not, in the diagnosis and prognostication of disease.


March 24, 6.30 pm GMT – Discussion on the film Homecoming: Marina Abramovic and Her Children (2020) with Boris Miljkovic, director and Jovana Karaulic, producer

Moderation: Dr Nada Zecevic, Department of History/Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Goldsmiths University of London

Panellist: Dr Aleksandar Brkic, Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths, University of London The screening of the film will be enabled to all attendees who register here before March 20 via a password protected link, so they can see the film prior to the discussion. The details of the access to the film and the discussion will be sent to the registered attendees via a separate email 22-23 March.


March 23, 6.30 pm GMT – Discussion on the film Exil/Exile (2020) with Visar Morina, film director

Moderation: Dr Nada Zecevic, Department of History/Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Goldsmiths University of London

The screening of the film will be enabled to all attendees who register here before March 20 via a password protected link, so they can see the film prior to the discussion. The details of the access to the film and the discussion will be sent to the registered attendees via a separate email 21-22 March. Watch the trailer here.

Reform and Renewal image

December 2, 7pm (BST) - Reform and Renewal in Medieval East and Central Europe:  Politics, Law and Society

Edited by Alexandru Simon, Éva B. Halász and Suzana Miljan (Cluj-Napoca – Zagreb – London: Romanian Academy – Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts – School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 2019) – book presentation followed by a discussion on “The Balkans, The South-East Europe, the European East – the entangled histories of a concept?”

After we Burnt Villages image

November 18, 7pm (BST) - After we Burnt Villages – Reading Film as History

Discussion on film Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (dir. by Srdjan Dragojević, 1995) by Dr Milja Radović, University of St. Andrews
Respondent: Fedja Štukan, actor, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina 
Special guest: Srdjan Dragojević, film director, Belgrade, Serbia

London with lights

October 28, 7pm (BST) - New Identity Politics on Social Media among Serbian Londoners

Public lecture by Dr Sanja Vico, The London School of Economics and Political Science
Respondent: Professor Eric Gordy, School of Slavonic and East European Studies || University College London
Moderator: Dr Maurice Walsh, Department of History, Goldsmiths University of London
Dr Sanja Vico, LSE and Professor Eric Gordy, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL discuss identity politics on the ‘semi-periphery’

In the age when identity politics is being studied on various grounds, very little is known about the lives and experiences of the subjects on the ‘semi-periphery’. The ones who are neither part of the developed West, nor of developing countries and former colonies in the Global South, but those who occupy the space ‘in-between’.


Dr Nada Zecevic presents at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds

Between July 6 and 10, Dr Nada Zecevic (History) took part in the International Medieval Congress (IMC). Since 1994, this Congress is organized by the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS) of the University of Leeds and it represents the largest annual conference in any subject in the UK and the largest conference of its kind in Europe, regularly attracting over 2000 registered participants, and serving as a barometer for trends in Medieval Studies generally. Responding to the global challenges caused by the covid-19 crisis, this year’s Congress was held in a virtual environment, while its special thematic strand dealt with borders, covering a wide range of outlooks on physical boundaries and material borders to dynamic social and spatial relationships. In her paper 'Women with masculine characters'?: The Regencies of Noble Women in the East Adriatic and Latin Greece, 14th and 15th Centuries, Dr Zecevic focused on power relations that challenged gender construction among the elite of the late medieval Balkans. For the full programme of sessions and other events at this year’s v-IMC, see here.

"Making Films in Times of Political and Financial Crises": Workshop with Želimir Žilnik

Wednesday 13 November 2019, 2pm–5pm

Laurie Grove Baths

Making films under financial and political constraints remains an urgent topic in the current social climate. There is perhaps no better European filmmaker to explicate working in this climate than Yugoslav-Serbian director Želimir Žilnik. Žilnik has been active making films since the 1960s, always working with a strong political consciousness and a confrontational attitude to the status quo. From his debut feature film receiving the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1969 to his career retrospective at Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2019, Žilnik has constantly been one of the most vital and celebrated filmmakers on the European continent. On the occasion of his first UK survey program, at Close-Up Film Centre in London, he will lead a workshop at Goldsmiths for doctoral candidates working with the moving image and operating on the boundary between theory and practice. The workshop will consist of two parts; the first section involves a lecture with short screenings and discussions integrated, while the second part is student-led, inviting PhDs to contemplate their own research and projects in dialogue with Žilnik. Particular themes of emphasis include navigating political action and creative work, the ethics of filmmaking, working with fiction/nonfiction, and strategies of fundraising and organising. Food and drinks will be served. Early registration is recommended, as space is limited. This workshop is supported by the Centre for the Studies of the Balkans and offered free of charge.

 This event is made possible by the generous support of CHASE.

A special programme of Želimir Žilnik's early documentary shorts will be shown at LUX on 17 November, and affiliated public programs include a symposium at Birkbeck on 15 November and a practice-based workshop at Goldsmiths on 13 November.

Little Pioneers
Želimir Žilnik, 1968, 18 min

Kenedi Goes Back Home
Želimir Žilnik, 2003, 75 min

Kenedi is Getting Married
Želimir Žilnik, 2007, 80 min

The Old School of Capitalism
Želimir Žilnik, 2009, 122 min

One Woman - One Century
Želimir Žilnik, 2011, 110 min

Pirika on Film
Želimir Žilnik, 2013, 53 min

Logbook Serbistan
Želimir Žilnik, 2015, 94 min”

For the events' calendar and booking, see here. Booking for the conference available here.

The Centre for the Studies of the Balkans is delighted to support the discussion on the monograph

The Great Cauldron: A History of Southeastern Europe

By Marie-Janine Calic (LMU Munich)

The discussion is hosted by IHR’s seminar on Rethinking Modern Europe and will take place on:

October 23, 5.30pm-7.30pm at the IRH, Wolfson Room NB02

(Basement, IHR-Senate House, Malet Street, London WC 1E 7HU)

Speakers: Marie-Janine Calic (LMU Munich), Catherine Carmichael (UEA), Alex-Drace Francis (Amsterdam) and Dejan Djokic (Goldsmiths University of London).

For further details.

Dr Jasna Dragovic-Soso and Dr Dejan Djokic speak at a conference in New York

Dr Jasna Dragovic-Soso (Politics) and Dr Dejan Djokic (History) spoke at an international conference Ex uno plures: Post-Yugoslav Cultural Spaces and Europe, held at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University on Friday 26 March and Saturday 27 March 2010. The goal of the conference was to explore post-Yugoslav cultural spaces by bringing together and facilitating dialogue between an unprecedented concentration of leading intellectuals, both from the former Yugoslav territories and from the West. Alongside opening questions of difference and commonality, the conference also addressed issues such as how can the post-Yugoslav spaces—and even micro-spaces—respond to the challenges of globalization? Dr Dragovic-Soso’s spoke about ‘Collective Responsibility, International Justice and Public Reckoning with the Past’, while Dr Djokic’s talk was entitled ‘Was the Disintegration of Yugoslavia Inevitable? An Historian’s View’. Read full conference programme.