The focus of this online proceedings is oral history research, life- histories, and biographies through which we gained insight into the collective and individual consequences of migration. The online pro- ceedings consists of papers presented at the Conference by Ilze Aker- berga, Baiba Bela, Inta Gale Carpenter, Ieva Garda Rozenberga, Riina Haanpää & Outi Fingerroos, Maija Hinkle, Rutt Hinrikus, Tiiu Jaago, Aivar Jürgenson, Anu Korb, Marta Kurkowska-Budzan, Amy Niang, Maruta Pranka, Anu Printsmann, Edmunds Supulis, Mara Zirnite. Papers by Arta Ankrava and Aija Lulle have also been added to the online proceedings, and these papers reflect the newest research in the field and convey the on-going relevance of the issue.
Migration—whether collective, individual, voluntary, or involuntary—has been a significant aspect of the Latvian historical expe- rience and of historical experience worldwide. Migration creates a watershed between life as hitherto lived and the new life. Migration affects tradition, life-style, and identities and sets up a mutual exchange in customs and behaviour between the host community and the immigrants. The identity of the new country shapes the new immigrants even as they shape the new country.
The conference and this online proceedings have been dedicated in memory of Prof. Augusts Milts (1928–2008), the scientific director of the National Oral History Project and an important figure in the development of Latvian oral history research.
Augusts Milts, a philosopher and professor of ethics, was invited to organize the People’s Archive (Cilvēkarhīvs) memoirs collection at the Latvian Culture Foundation (Latvijas Kultūras fonds) at the end of the 1980s. When Latvia regained its independence, the People’s Archive was transferred to the National Oral History project at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology. The project now contains more than 3000 life stories.