Tatsiana Vadalazhskaya: We are trying to give a broader definition of the Belarusan thinking

Yauheniya Burshtyn, EuroBelarus Information Service

Seven days full of intellectual adventures are awaiting the Belarusans in September.

From 19 until 25 September an unprecedented phenomenon will take place in the country: the Week of Belarusan Thinking. The program promises to be extremely interesting and satisfy the tastes of both intellectual “foodies” and people who are not particularly interested in thinking, but have interests in various spheres of life and have an active civic stand.

The initiator of the event Tatsiana Vadalazhskaya told the EuroBelarus Information Service about the most “delicious” activities of the Week.

— The Week of Belarusan Thinking completes the Year of Belarusan Thinking. We started it from the “Quote your Own!” campaign, when we tried to draw attention to the treasure that we have in our culture and thinking. And it is not only the part of the Belarusan culture, but also what we think of ourselves.

Together with the Belarusan Collegium the Flying University was working on the Anthology of Belarusan thinking “The Code of Presence,” where we tried to draw a certain final line in the intellectual tradition. We decided to end the Year of Belarusan Thinking with this festival, because this Week will reveal a completely different manifestation of modern thinking in Belarus. The main goal is a certain revival of interest towards thinking, understanding of what is important for us in our lives, and reflection. It's a reference point, the opportunity to review what we have today, who is interested in that and to which extent we can work with it.

— Who is the target audience of the event?

— We wanted the event to be interesting for a much wider range than the community of intellectuals. Anyone who is interested in Belarus, their education, thinking and some problems to which it can refer (environment, artificial intelligence, open data, etc.).

— What is the program of the Week?

— The Week of Belarusan Thinking will take place not only in Minsk, but also in Hrodna, Babrujsk, HomeÍ, Viciebsk, Mahiliou and Brest. For example, in the latter the theater “Kryly Khalopa” (Belarusan — “The Wings of the Bondman”) is planning to organize an artistic reading of intelligent texts. We organize excursion and some other events in Hrodna. A lot of activities will be held in Minsk: from the culture discussion to declamation of poetry to music: three intellectuals — Maksim Zhbankou, Ihar Babkou, and Maryja Martysievič — will be reading their works with musical accompaniment of Siarhei Pukst.

In addition, there’ll be more chamber, but also very interesting events. For example, Falanster community will work with the Belarusan Wikipedia in terms of representation of the Belarusan thinking there. Also, Media Projects 34mag.net, Citydog.by, Belarusan Magazine will make their contribution, too.

The Initiative Living Library will join us as our partner. In it, very different thinkers and scientists will perform as “books”. Of course, we’ll have quite a lot of lectures, discussions, both on humanitarian topics that are directly related to the intellectual tradition, and on the natural sciences. The last two organize two initiatives: “Science outside us,” and “Belarusan Science.” But the Week will start, and will be accompanied by the exhibition of publications of Belarusan intellectuals. Above all, these are magazines that started to appear in the 1990s, encyclopedias, anthologies, unique texts and reflections, translations into the Belarusan language.

— The program is really full. Will those who are interested be able to cover all the events?

— It’s unlikely that we manage to come to all of them, so we’ll have to make a choice, but we’ll try to make it so that people are able to visit the greatest number of them. We will issue a provisional program in early September, so that one can start navigate and make their choice.

— And how one of the initiators — the Flying University — will be presented?

— Flying University together with the Belarusan Collegium is making the exhibition of intellectual publications. In addition to that, we will organize discussions on the main trends of Belarusan thinking and a series of lectures on environmental, urban topics, as well as artificial intelligence, perhaps, about thinking in contemporary music and personality and humanitarian technologies, as well as the history of Belarusan thinking. It is planned that our students will present their activities — but it is a secret now.

— How can you participate in the event?

— Events will be free to attend, but perhaps some of them will need registration. Each event will have its own announcement where all this will be further specified.

The organizing committee of the Belarusan Week of Thinking includes International Consortium “EuroBelarus”, the Flying University, Budzma belarusami!  civic campaign, Belarusan Collegium, Mova Nanova, Belarusan Magazine, lohvinaŬ bookstore, Political Sphere Institute of Political Studies. The information about the Week can be found on these sites.