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Call for Papers

The 9th Baltic Sea Region Film History Conference

“Exploring the Past and Future of Audiovisual Media in the Baltic Sea Region: Archives, Digital Platforms, Researchers and Spectators”

6–8 June 2024, Riga, Latvia

National Film School of the Latvian Academy of Culture

Elijas Street 17, Riga


The 9th Baltic Sea Region Film History Conference will address a dual, interrelated focus: the histories of audiovisual collections within the region, and the burgeoning impact of digital technologies on facilitating access to these collections.

In the wake of digital technologies, films from diverse historical periods and regions as well as contemporary cinema have become globally accessible to an unprecedented extent. This digital turn has significantly influenced the operations of archives, museums, and libraries – traditionally the custodians of (national) audiovisual collections. From the perspective of access, it has transformed these repositories from entities with specific physical and administrative boundaries into increasingly open digital platforms, serving researchers, filmmakers, the media industry, and general audiences alike. While heritage institutions’ access strategies often exhibit similarities shaped, for example, by online commercial film distribution, they also vary due to the distinct historical structure and content of different collections. Moreover, custodians of audiovisual collections in the Baltic Sea Region countries have historically worked within diverse cultural, institutional, and legislative frameworks determined by shifting political and socio-economic factors, which has had a major impact on what is collected, preserved, and hence available for accessing on the emerging digital platforms. Finally, the questions of copyright affect significantly what can be distributed online, and under what conditions (e.g. freely or for a fee), making the relationships between the preservation and production industries even more crucial.

The digitisation and platformization as well as datafication of contemporary cinema and audiovisual heritage presents challenges but also opportunities. For heritage institutions, the challenges include the introduction, management and funding of new workflows, tools and competencies related to digitization, digital preservation, metadata creation, etc. At the same time, digital availability of cinema fosters new forms of engagement, exhibition, evaluation, interpretation, and contextualisation. Importantly, the digital environment necessitates media literacy, including audiovisual heritage literacy, and the development of specific educational tools. Several film heritage platforms in the Baltic Sea Region have responded by introducing dedicated sections targeting the education sector and young audiences, exemplified by platforms like in Denmark, in Finland, in Estonia, and in Germany. Moreover, platforms intended for general audiences typically incorporate an educational component – films are supplemented with educational information, grouped into specific collections, categorized, and searchable according to various parameters. Examples include and in Latvia, and in Lithuania, in Sweden and in Poland.


Keynote speakers:

Dr. Jaimie Baron, Department of Film and Media, UC Berkeley, USA

Dr. Eva Näripea, Film Archive of the National Archives of Estonia, Estonia

Madara Didrihsone, Latvian State Archive of Audiovisual Documents, Latvia


We invite film scholars, archivists, librarians, museum workers, filmmakers, and students to submit proposals addressing the following questions (this list is suggestive, yet not exhaustive):

1) the origins of audiovisual collections in the Baltic Sea Region and the influence of changing political formations and legal frameworks on the content, acquisition, appraisal, documentation, cataloguing, preservation, and access policies and practices in different historical periods;

2) the process of film digitization and restoration, associated challenges, promotion of digital film collections, and potential solutions;

3) the impact of digitization and the availability of audiovisual archives on the platforms on the narratives of film history and concepts of film theory in the Baltic Sea Region countries;

4) the reciprocal relationship between audiovisual archives and contemporary films, exploring how the availability of the archives affects film themes, content, style, and specific filmmakers;

5) the influence of changing viewing formats and location on the consumption of contemporary cinema and film heritage; the audience profile of film streaming platforms (who uses them, to what extent, and to what purpose), and the platforms’ holders knowledge of their audience.


Conference language – English.


A paper presented at the conference will be considered for Paper in Baltic Cinema Award, which recognizes academic papers on Baltic Sea Region cinema submitted for conference based on the originality, scholarship excellence, and quality of engagement with the subject area. 400 Eur award is initiated by co-organizers of the 8th Baltic Sea Region Film Conference and Media education and research centre Meno avilys (Lithuania) and Audiovisual works copyright association AVAKA (Lithuania).


The paper or panel proposals should be in the length of up to 300 words and the biography of each author (specifying the affiliation and position) up to 150 words. The deadline for submissions: 12 February 2024. Proposals should be sent to:

The authors will be notified about the acceptance of papers until 1 March, registration for participation – until 15 March. The programme will be announced after 1 April. 


Conference proceedings will be published as a special edition of the journal Culture Crossroads published by the Latvian Academy of Culture. The journal is indexed in: SCOPUS; EBSCO (Humanities Source Ultimate); ERIH PLUS; ULRICH'S; Central and Eastern European Online Library (CEEOL).


The conference is co-organized by the Latvian Academy of Culture and the Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council in cooperation with the Film Archive of the Estonian National Archives, the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and Media education and research centre Meno avilys .


The conference is part of the project “Cultural and creative ecosystem of Latvia as a resource for resilience and sustainability”/CERS (No. VPP-MM-LKRVA-2023/1-0001), funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia in the framework of the National Research Programme “Latvian Culture – a Resource for National Development” (2023-2026). The National Research Programme is administered by the Latvian Council of Science.



Zane Balčus –, +37126054287

Inga Pērkone-Redoviča -

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