I am grateful to fate that I had the opportunity to work in this factory!: employees` memories of Riga Porcelain Factory


After the restoration of independence in the 1990s, the Latvian industry had to adapt to a globalised world, when many countries were already in the de-industrialisation phase. Companies and entire industries that had previously played a significant role in the region’s economic and social space downsized or partially or completely disappeared, leaving evidence of their existence in both physical artefacts and in the fates and personal stories of many people. In recent years, researchers and the general public in Latvia have increasingly turned to the study of the industrial heritage of the Soviet period, including by recording eyewitness accounts of the history of various industrial sectors. The aim of our presentation is to analyze the possible contribution of oral history to the work of museums and the recording of memories of industrial workers, based on both theoretical insights and oral history interviews with former employees of Riga Porcelain Factory, formerly a prominent factory in Latvia. The interviews have been conducted over several years in collaboration with the Riga Porcelain Museum. Preserving the memories of former factory employees provides an opportunity to expand knowledge about the daily life of industrial workers, and to reveal their experiences, reflections, and observations. Oral history interviews with former factory employees provide evidence not only of the history of the industry but also of the complex and controversial experience of the Soviet era. It both describes one once important industry in Latvia and adds to the information about the fate of Latvian people in different periods of history. Witnesses to the activities of various formerly important industries are becoming fewer and fewer, and with them, the human evidence of the industry’s heritage, as well as specific skills, knowledge, and experience, is disappearing.

Dec 1, 2022 — Dec 2, 2022
Helsinki (Somija)
Ginta Elksne

Socioloģe, LU zinātniskā asistente, strādā LU Filozofijas un socioloģijas institūtā.