Biafra of Spirit

Symposium and guided tour

Text Information/
Picture Gallery/

Guided tour
Date: 15.11.2016, 5 pm
Venue:, Beskdyská 12, Bratislava

Date: 15.11.2016, 6 pm
Venue: A4-priestor súčasnej kultúry, Karpatská 2, Bratislava
Participants: Miroslava Hlinčíková, Marta Edith Holečková, Matěj Nytra
Moderator: Tereza Stejskalová

Events will be conducted in Slovak and Czech language.

The symposium will focus on the topic of Third World students in Czechoslovakia and the cultural exchange between the Second and Third World during the Cold War period. It will consider the role of the University of November 17 (1961-1974), an institution founded to enable Third World students to study in Czechoslovakia, and the way in which it dealt with the conflicts that arose between the local population and the foreign students. The question of the extent to which Czechoslovak citizens had access to cultural productions from Third World countries, specifically in the field of film, will also be debated. Why is it that this cultural exchange has not been discussed and adequately researched since 1989? What relevance do we think the misunderstandings between Czechoslovak citizens and foreign students, and the problem of racism during communism, have for us today?

The symposium will include contributions by the historian Marta Edith Holečková, film critic Matěj Nytra, and ethnologist Miroslava Hlinčíková. The symposium takes place within the framework of the exhibition Biafra of Spirit. Third World Students in Czechoslovakia (Oct 7 – Nov 26, 2016) at, curated by Tereza Stejskalová in collaboration with Zbyněk Baladrán.

Miroslava Hlinčíková works at the Institute of Ethnology in the Slovak Academy of Sciences and has also worked at the Institute for Public Affairs as a research analyst. She is concerned especially with issues of migration, integration, discrimination and social and cultural diversity in the urban milieu; she has also researched the integration of male and female migrants from Vietnam in Bratislava. She is the author and co-author of a number of studies, for example Slovakia In_different: As Told by Foreigners; Migrants in the City: present and (in)visible.

Marta Edith Holečková works at the Institute for Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences. She is engaged in researching the “second culture” in the period of normalisation, being principally orientated towards the following questions: samizdat and the Roman Catholic Church; the universities in the period from 1948 to 1989 in Czechoslovakia. She has completed research on, for example, the University of November 17 in Prague. She is also a committed practitioner of the oral history method, and with the Post Bellum Association and Czech Radio she has collaborated on the Stories of the 20th Century project.

Matěj Nytra, film publicist and currently also dramaturge and playwright in the Brno HaDivadlo. He is a holder of the Discovery of the Year in Alternative Art award, conferred by the Next Wave Festival (2016). Since 2010 he has continually contributed to the film periodicals Cinepur, Film a doba, and Dok.revue. He collaborates with Karlovy Vary IFF and the National Film Archives. During his study of filmography (FF MU) and theatrical dramaturgy (JAMU) he completed study stays at Stockholm and Lisbon.

Protest against assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Prague, 1961. Courtesy of Pyasiri Gunaratna archive.