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Evelina Ferrar

A Flag, A Song, A Palace – Jasmina Cibic talk + film screening 1 February, Oxford

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Magdalen College Auditorium, Oxford, 1 February, 5:30pm

In association with the upcoming symposium ‘Music and Diplomacy in the Long Twentieth Century’, the artist Jasmina Cibic (b. Ljubljana 1979) will be giving a talk and screening her award-winning film, The Gift, at the Magdalen College Auditorium. The film is about the role of gift giving in cultural diplomacy and focuses in particular on the non-aligned movement. You can read more about the event and sign up here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/magdalen-music/t-qjgmlmk.

Jasmina is a significant figure in contemporary art, who has exhibited at events including the Venice Biennale. This event will touch on many urgent issues around the relationship between culture and politics.

BSS membership dues unchanged in 2024

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Dear Members and Supporters,

Despite the inflation of the last two years, the BSS is again keeping its Membership Dues unchanged in 2024. They fall due in the New Year, and we would much appreciate if you would make your payments promptly. To those who have already done so, many thanks.

If you are not yet a Member, do consider joining! You would be most welcome. Among the advantages you enjoy will be a reduced price for the 2024 Prešeren Evening planned in London on March 2nd.

This is how you can pay:

INDIVIDUAL £15
FAMILY (maximum 5) £25
STUDENT £5
CORPORATE £100

If you have a Standing Order or have already paid for this year, you can ignore this notice. Otherwise, you have a choice of three means of payment:

  1. The best way is by direct electronic transfer to The British-Slovene Society’s bank account with Natwest, Sort Code 60-20-36, Account Number 51197685, IBAN: GB67NWBK60203651197685, BIC: NWBKGB2L. Please put your name in the reference field. This means of payment saves the Society unnecessary costs. Wherever possible, we ask you to set up a Standing Order. This will save you time and trouble next year.
  2. Or you can pay through our website www.britishslovenesociety.org by clicking on “JOIN/RENEW” and following the instructions. On the website you can also pay by PayPal (though this incurs a cost to the BSS).
  3. Or by cheque made out to The British-Slovene Society and sent to the Treasurer, Andrej Ogorevc, 10 Rogers Court, 5 Premiere Place, London E14 8SF, e-mail: treasurer@britishslovenesociety.org.

Thank you!

 

Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Dear Slovenians and friends of Slovenians!

We wish you all lovely festivities and a wonderful year ahead. Let’s meet as often as we can and let’s make our ties stronger and stronger so that it will practically make no difference where in the world you are since you belong to a strong community where we care for each other. Let the spirit of Christmas prevail all around.

Trustees of the British-Slovene Society

Exhibition on Admiral Lord Nelson in the Park of Military History in Pivka

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The Park of Military History in Pivka is hosting an exhibition on the life of Admiral Lord Nelson, his journey through the land of Carniola and the legendary Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in which he led Great Britain to a remarkable victory over a united Franco-Spanish fleet.

At the beginning of September, a memorial plaque to the famous English admiral Horatio Nelson was unveiled at the Slon Hotel in Ljubljana, and an exhibition on his life and achievements was opened in the Park of Military History in Pivka.

https://slovenia.si/art-and-cultural-heritage/exhibition-on-the-life-and-achievements-of-admiral-lord-nelson/

 

 

British-Slovene Society’s Carol Service fills St. Martin Ludgate Church

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Christopher Wren’s Church of St. Martin Ludgate in central London once again provided a beautiful and historical setting for the British-Slovene Society’s annual service of Christmas Carols and Readings on 8th December. Trustee Kaja Pečnik brilliantly orchestrated the event, which took place in English and Slovene. Kaja’s Slovene Choir was in splendid voice, accompanied by organist Aljoša from Leeds. The service was conducted movingly by Father Luke Miller, Archdeacon of London. Afterwards the large congregation gathered for animated conversations around Slovene wine, potica cake and mince-pies.  A collection raised over £200 for Barka, a Slovenian charity for people with special  needs.

     

Our thanks go to Slovenian Ambassador Simona Leskovar, who personally donated a case of Slovene wine, to Chairman David Lloyd, Miha Košak and Živa Pečnik for their poticas, and to the Office for Slovenians Abroad for its financial support.

Candlelight Christmas Concert “Musical Bridge between Slovenia and UK” Wednesday 6 December at 7.30pm

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Wednesday 6 December at 7.30pm

St James Church
Sussex Gardens, London W2 3UD

RSVP: rsvp.vlo@gov.si

The Slovenian Embassy invites us for a Christmas Candlelight concert featuring timeless chamber music by Mozart and Schumann, performed by the exquisite musicians, pianist Ana Šinkovec Burstin, violinist Lana Trotovšek, violist Sam Burstin, and cellist Urška Horvat. As a special treat, a ten-year-old violinist Ema Dora Burstin, will be presenting a charming piece by celebrated Slovenian composer Lucijan Maria Škerjanc, in honor of his centenary.

Programme

W.A.Mozart: Piano quartet in No. 1 in G minor, K.478 for violin, viola, cello and piano

L.M.Škerjanc: Arietta on G string for violin and piano

R.Schumann: Piano quartet in E flat major, op.47 for violin, viola, cello and piano

Co-founded by the Cultural Fund run jointly by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and aimed at promoting Slovenian culture abroad.

Once upon an October – A Month of English Language Teaching in Kranjska Gora

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Lucy Bayliss spent a month teaching English in Kranjska Gora. Here is what she wrote about her experience:When I first read the job advert for an English language assistant circulated by the University of Cambridge’s languages department, I have to admit that my initial response was to look up Kranjska Gora on a map, as my knowledge of Slovenia was limited to its role in the former Yugoslavia (my degree is in history and modern languages). The more images I saw of this beautiful community nestled between the Karavanke on one side and the Triglav National Park on the other, the more convinced I was that I could not miss out on such an amazing opportunity.

I have always been someone who has enjoyed discovering new places, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and learning new languages, so the chance to live and work in a country that I knew so little about appealed to me greatly. I also love to teach and work with young people. I had previously been an English language assistant in France, and I relished the idea of taking on a new challenge, teaching English to children whose first language I could not yet speak. On top of this, I have to admit that, as an avid reader, I had grown up with many Alpine-based stories and having the chance to experience the mountains for myself had been a lifetime dream.

It is rare, however, for childhood dreams to be as wonderful in reality as they are in your imagination, but my month in Kranjska Gora working at the osnovna šola Josipa Vandota proved to be a firm exception to this rule…

From the moment I boarded the train to go through the mountains from Austria to Jesenice, where I would be picked up and taken to start my life in Kranjska Gora, I already had a great feeling about the month to come, and the breath-taking views as we approached the border only added to this sense of anticipation. Just looking at the phenomenal natural beauty of the landscape gave me a sense of awe and wonder that I had never experienced before. I felt amazed, energised, and excited for what was to come, which was a good thing, because, for a small community of fewer than 2,000 people, a lot certainly happens in Kranjska Gora.

I arrived on a Wednesday at around midday and was immediately whisked off to the supermarket to track down ingredients for a carrot cake, before a quick trip to admire the Zelenci nature reserve. By the time I had reached my apartment a couple of hours later, I had learned that the next day I would be helping to host a tea party for the ninth grade and the British ambassador to Slovenia, Tiffany Sadler, (hence the carrot cake) followed by an interview with the local TV news station on Friday, and two days of hiking, den building and mountain climbing with the seventh grade on the following Monday and Tuesday as part of their week of ‘mountain school’.

This level of activity continued for much of my time in Kranjska Gora and I will be forever grateful for all of the new experiences and memories I gained from my time there. Each week I was privileged enough to be invited to join in with various class excursions or special activities, and even when school was over, my lovely colleagues would organise additional trips or hikes so that I could further get to know and appreciate all the wonders that the region had to offer: from hiking through the Tamar valley to swimming in Lake Bled and trying the famous kremšnita there. My ever-curious spirit loved being able to discover more and more about the Slovenian language, culture, cuisine (ajdova kaša remains my firm favourite), history and landscape. For example, I tried to learn a few new words or phrases in Slovenian each day, the most important of which was probably ‘Poslušaj!’for my work in the classroom.

What really touched me though, was how helpful and encouraging my colleagues and students were in these endeavours. They welcomed all of my questions and were more than happy to contribute to my daily word count or recommend Slovenian music artists that I might like to try listening to. It is the people who truly make a place, and the fact that I felt like I was a part of the community in Kranjska Gora for the month that I was there was definitely the result of the warm welcome I received from those around me. The main problem, in fact, was that I felt so moved by all of the kindness I had been shown, that I wondered how I would ever be able to work hard enough in my role teaching English to deserve such an unforgettable experience, although I certainly tried my best both inside and outside of the classroom.

Within the classroom, I enjoyed getting to observe, and learn from the different teaching methods of my talented colleagues, as well as being able to bring some of my own ideas and creativity into the classroom. From talking about my daily routine when I was in primary school with the younger pupils (complete with pictures) to playing rounds of powerpoint karaoke with the older ones, I aimed to find interesting methods of teaching for the students. What I had not expected when I signed up for this role though, was that a lot of my teaching and practicing English with the children would take place outside of regular lessons.

Initially I had felt a bit guilty that, because of all of the different trips and activities, there was never a week when I could attend all of my normal classroom lessons. Yet the more time that passed, the more I realised that my interactions with the students outside of the classroom were some of the most valuable teaching moments I could offer. They may not have been sat at their desks, but as the seventh grade told me all about their hobbies, music tastes, favourite foods and family pets while we hiked through the Triglav national park, they certainly were talking a lot of English. Outside of the classroom, and away from their regular English teachers, the students were far less worried about making a mistake and far more open to having a go and realising that the main aim of learning any language is to make yourself understood by someone else, regardless of whether or not your grammar is 100% correct.

Spending time with the students outside of the classroom gave me the opportunity to have much more in depth conversations with them, to explore the topics they were most interested in, and also to talk to those students who did not always have the confidence to speak up in class. The simple fact of being an English native (and non-Slovenian) speaker meant that I was, in myself, a valuable, living learning tool for the students just by increasing their exposure to the language. We had great fun, and it was even more enjoyable for me being able to watch the students develop much greater confidence both in themselves and in their English ability, which they then brought with them into the classroom. Having realised the value of this extracurricular English practice, I tried to spend as much time as possible with the students, often staying after school to hang out on the playground with those still waiting to take the bus home: joining in with football matches, basketball shoot-outs, and all sorts of playground games.

Of course, I did try and reciprocate the elements of cultural exchange too. ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’ has now become a firm playground favourite among the younger residents of Kranjska Gora, which is great because it also gets them practicing their numbers from one to ten. Having done a text on Liverpool and the Beatles, the ninth grade had to work their way through a musical quiz featuring some of the band’s most famous songs and lyrics, and I had the sixth and seventh grade attempting some rather tricky English tongue twisters. Moreover, as a thank you for all they had done for me, it felt only fitting that my time in Kranjska Gora should start and end with a baking session, with a much-appreciated cream tea served up for my colleagues in their breaktime on my last day at the school.

Reflecting upon my month as an English language assistant in Kranjska Gora, I feel incredibly blessed to have had an experience that was far better than my younger self could ever have dreamed of. I can see the positive impact that my presence and my teaching has had on the students, and feel the beneficial effects of my month in the mountains on my own life in expanding my horizons, and helping me to grow and develop as both a person and an educator. From a place that I had no real knowledge of, Slovenia, and the community of Kranjska Gora in particular, will now forever occupy a special place in my heart due to its natural beauty, diverse and fascinating culture, and the friendliness of its people. It is a place that has taught me a lot, and one that I cannot wait to return to and explore further. Speaking from the heart, I feel that there are only two phrases I can finish this article with, ‘ljubim Slovenijo’ and ‘najlepša hvala’ to all those who made this experience possible.

Literary Evening with Cvetka Bevc, Tuesday 28 November 2023 at 6pm, SSEES UCL

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UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) is organising a discussion with writer, poet, screenwriter, and musicologist Cvetka Bevc moderated by SSEES Slovene lector Maja Rančigaj Beneš. The evening will focus particularly on the parts of Bevc’s diverse oeuvre about or inspired by Zofka Kveder (1878—1926), a pioneering Slovene feminist and woman writer. These include Bevc’s 2022 documentary-fiction TV film Biti ženska, biti Zofka Kveder (Being a woman, Being Zofka Kveder) and the 2022 poetry collection Sled ognjenega svinčnika (The Trace of a Fiery Pencil).

Tuesday 28 November 2023 at 6pm

SSEES UCL
Masaryk Senior Common Room
16 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW

REGISTER

Cvetka Bevc (b. 1960) is a Slovene writer, poet, screenwriter, and musicologist. After completing her studies in musicology and comparative literature at the University of Ljubljana and University College Cork, she worked for Slovenian state television and the state publishing house. She is the author of over thirty books of prose and poetry, numerous radio plays as well as scripts for feature films and documentaries. Her most recent novel Ptiči (Birds) was published in 2022. She now resides in Paris.

Co-organised by the SSEES Study of Central Europe Seminar series and the Centre for Slovene as a Second and Foreign Language at the University of Ljubljana.

Co-funded by the Cultural Fund run jointly by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to promote Slovenian culture abroad.

Martinovanje festivity in Cambridge 11 November from 2 p.m.- members of the British-Slovene Society welcome

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Members of the VTIS Association Great Britain are inviting us to join for Martinovanje in Cambridge.

Together we will celebrate the autumn harvest and the time when the new wine can first be drunk. The festivity is named after St Martin, a 4th century Bishop of Tours in France who had Hungarian roots. In Slovenia every seventh inhabitant cultivates vines, and the practice is becoming more common now in Britain.

Members of the British-Slovene Society are welcome to join the celebration in Stow cum Quy, Main St, Stow cum Quy, Cambridge CB25 9AB. We will be cooking and eating and drinking.

The event is free, food will be provided as well as some drinks but it is appreciated if you bring some Slovene goodies. If you wish extra drinks, they can be purchased at the mini village shop 50m away.

Reserve your place through Eventbrite  https://www.eventbrite.com/…/vtis-velika-britanija…(obligatory)
HOW TO GET TO STOW CUM QUY:
From the railway station Cambridge North  take a taxi (around £15). Alternatively take a bus (https://bustimes.org/localities/stow-cum-quy), or drive to the address above.
The event is supported by the Slovenian Government Office for Slovenians Abroad and the partners of VTIS.