Port cities have always played a crucial role in the cultural development of regions and countries. Gateways to the wider world and centres of trade and industry, they have attracted people from different backgrounds and facilitated the exchange of not only goods but also of ideas. The Sealines Project links six European port cities with a tradition of literary bilingualism through a series of writers’ and artists’ residencies. The cities involved are four capitals: Cardiff, Helsinki, Riga and Valletta, and two regional ports: Galway on the West Coast of Ireland and Koper (Capodistria) on the Slovenian coast.
Twenty-two writers and artists were involved in the residency programme in 2006. During their month-long stay, the visitors were given an opportunity to become acquainted with the local literary scene, and to explore a particular aspect of the city’s cultural, social and economic history. The outcomes of the residencies were be presented in the six cities throughout 2007 and on Ian Davidson’s site partlyinriga.
The following were involved in the project:
Cardiff residency: writers Janis Elsbergs (Latvia), Juha Ruusuvuori (Finland), Igor Likar (Slovenia) and Milan Rakovac (Croatia), and the Welsh artist Ffion Rhys.
Galway residency: Artur Punte and Semyon Khanin (Latvia), Barbara Korun (Slovenia)
Helsinki residency: Fflur Dafydd and Tristan Hughes (Wales), Gasper Malej (Slovenia)
Koper residency: Pirkko Lindberg (Finland), Celia de Freine (Ireland) and Egils Venters (Latvia).
Riga residency: Clare Azzopardi (Malta), Ian Davidson (Wales) and Michael O’Laughlin (Ireland)
Valetta residency: Laima Muktupavela (Latvia), Robert Minhinnick (Wales), Mikko Rimminen (Finland), the Maltese writer Adrian Grima and the artist Pierre Portelli.
LAF’s partners in this project are:
Galway Arts Centre and Cuirt International Festival
FILI – Finnish Literature Abroad
Latvian Literature Centre
Slovene Writers Association
Welsh Literature Abroad
More information on Ian Davidson’s book containing poems from the Sealines project is available on the Shearsman website.
Watch Gastabeiters [Guest Workers], a video poem created by the Latvian poet and filmmaker Arturs Punte in Galway.