Scenographing Russian Relations


This made my day! A gift from a lovey colleague! Russian chocolate, and it beautifully scenographs Russian Relations. Indeed, it even dances them.

Background: We proposed a joint conference paper for Transnational Influences: Theatrical Activity in the Nordic/Baltic Region and Beyond Conference in Helsinki Finland, 21-23 March 2019 at Helsinki University, and it was accepted. See the abstract and the letter of acceptance below.

ABSTRACT: Russian Relations: Radical Empathy in the Nordic-Russian Dance Archive

Astrid von Rosen, with Eugenia Klimova and Olga Nikolaeva

This paper explores the unlikely collaboration between a Swedish art and dance historian, a Russian amateur historian and a Russian-Swedish doctoral student, to seek out the early career of migrating dancer Anna Robenne (one of her names). In addition the paper looks into the activist ways in which the explorers interacted with Russian, Swedish, and Finnish archives in order to both reveal and make accessible across borders materials and knowledge pertaining to Robenne.

Robenne left Russia in 1917 because of the revolution, to work in Finland, Sweden, Norway, the US and beyond. She performed in cabarets, operettas, and charity arrangements, as well as choreographies of her own, and in every context she used her Russian background to construct herself as a starring artist. However, the stories she told differ broadly depending on the audience, and until recently her Russian background has been inaccessible and obscure. To cross borders to account for Robenne's Russian legacy counters previous historiography's disinterest in following the careers of migrating artists.

To explore the relations between the Robenne materials, the archival institutions and the group of collaborating historians we will draw on Caswell and Cifor's notion of "radical empathy" (Caswell and Cifor 2016). Inspired by a feminist ethics of care, the notion emphasizes relations between stakeholders. What makes the ethics "radical" is the idea that despite differences an empathically charged inter-subjective space can emerge in which feelings, corporeality, and experiences interact to facilitate the making and sharing of knowledge and to propel change.


Dr Astrid von Rosen is Associate professor in Art History and Visual Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and a former dancer. Her research interests include activist approaches to scenography and dance archives in our digital age.

Eugenia Klimova holds a Master's Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Russian People's Friendship University. She has been working as Digital Marketing Manager for a Swiss company, taking part in investigating the history of its Russian affiliates before the revolution. She is an amateur historian and is interested in the cultural legacy of the Russian expatriate community.

Olga Nikolaeva is a PhD student in Art History and Visual Studies at the Department of Cultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg. She holds a MA in Visual Culture from Lund University and a Specialist Degree in Art History from Russian State University for the Humanities. Her main interests are audiovisual presentation and scenography of live music performances.


Från: Suomi Viro
Skickat: den 10 december 2018 11:31
Till: Astrid von Rosen
Ämne: Welcome to Transnational Influences conference in Helsinki

Dear Ms. von Rosen,

On the behalf of the scientific committee, I am pleased to welcome your paper to be presented at the Transnational Influences: Theatrical Activity in the Nordic/Baltic Region and Beyond conference at the University of Helsinki. The conference will be held from Thursday, March 21st through Saturday March 23rd, 2019 at the University of Helsinki central campus.

We accepted in total 27 different presentations to be presented during the three-day conference. We ask you to prepare a 20-minute long presentation which will be followed with 10 minute discussion. The registration for the conference will be opened during January and I will send you more information about that in January. [...]

The preliminary schedule and all the other information about the conference will be updated on the conference website: you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.Welcome and see you in March 2019! Best regards,

Saara Moisio
Conference coordinator