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Project title:
Kvæði í nútíðar føroyskari mentan og samfelag

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Project manager:
Annika Christensen

University of Leeds

Other participants:
Claudia Sternberg, Catherine Karkov

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Project description:
This Ph.D projected commenced in October 2014 and revolves around the Faroese ballads (kvæði) and their cultural and societal significance in the Faroe Islands today. The main aim has been to investigate how the ballads are mediated and represented in different parts of Faroese cultural life and what significance this has for contemporary ideas of preserving heritage and Faroese identity. The Faroese ballads are an intrinsic part of Faroese life, as well as being considered one of the cornerstones of Faroese heritage. Ballads are compulsory subjects in the school curriculum and there are several dansifeløg (ring dancing societies) around the country that regularly meet and perform the ring dance accompanied by the ballads. They have also become more visible in Faroese popular culture, especially in the field of music, making them a significant part of contemporary culture. There is an acute awareness of the ballads in the Faroe Islands and regardless of the amount of engagement the majority of people harbour some historical and empirical knowledge of the ballads. This study therefore seeks to identify why these remnants of a Faroese oral past are still being (re)interpreted in contemporary Faroese music, literature and other cultural activities, and what influence this has on Faroese people’s engagement with the ballads as well as their understanding of what it means to have a Faroese identity. Is this engagement with these older practices a form of nostalgia as a response to the influence of modern times, is it a reassurance of Faroese nationalism and belonging or is it a combination of different factors?

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