Recording publication project in Suodenniemi culminated in flowering the graves of the people appearing on the recordings.

FI | Suodenniemi: Recording Publication Project

In the spring, the local heritage society Suodenniemi-Seura signed an agreement with the Institute for the Languages in Finland (Kotus) on publication of recordings of narrators from Suodenniemi, included in Kotus’ Finnish language recording archive. It is an audio compilation of 43 recordings of over 30 hours, containing interesting information about life in Suodenniemi in the past. The recordings tell not only about the working methods used in the agricultural and livestock industries in the past, but also interesting local historical information. Now, for the first time, the people of Suodenniemi have the opportunity to hear these recordings and find out, for example, who owned the first car or telephone in the area, or what it felt like to see the battles of the Civil War while they were taking place.

All published recordings have been listened to within the society, and information regarding health and other potentially sensitive information has been edited out of them. The recordings are also indexed to make it easier to find a certain piece of information in them. Now everyone interested in ethnology or the history of Suodenniemi has the opportunity to get to know one part of the audio cultural heritage treasure cherished by Kotus.

The publishing project, which started in March, ended last week during the local event called Suodenniemi-viikko (Suodenniemi Week). Storytellers whose stories were published 2-3 times a week were remembered by taking roses to their graves. Of the 19 narrators, 15 have a burial place known to Suodenniemi-Seura. For the other 4, the floral greeting was delivered to the memorial of those buried elsewhere. In all, the recording project aroused a lot of interest, which is also shown by the graph below showing the number of daily users of the topotheque this year. The start of the recording project on March 4 is clearly visible in the picture.

Graph on the number of visitors in Suodenniemi Topotheque during 2022.
Daily number of visits in Suodenniemi’s Topotheque between January-July 2022.

Nowadays, there is a lot of discussion about who owns cultural heritage. Following the guidelines of the Faro Convention, the correct answer is probably that it belongs to the community that created it. We believe that the connection to cultural heritage is created more and more often by institutions that preserve unique cultural heritage objects digitizing their collections and thus making them available, for example, for local communities, like now in Suodenniemi. We thank Kotus for its open attitude and willingness to take the first steps to ‘return home’ the cultural heritage it has preserved!

Additional information:
Topotheque and Kotus – Historical Sound Files Online

(in Finnish):
Newly published audio content in Suodenniemi’s Topotheque
Kotuksen tiedote ääniteprojektin käynnistyttyä maaliskuussa
Suodenniemen Topoteekista tulee äänekkäämpi – Suodenniemi-Seura ry.