Welcome to the new Emptiness website

Published 18 February 2021 / By Michelle Chew

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Michelle Chew is Project Manager for EMPTINESS: Living Capitalism and Democracy after (Post)Socialism. She is responsible for the project’s day-to-day operations as well as being a member of the research team.

(blog updated on 8 March 2021)

We're delighted to announce the launch of the EMPTINESS project website, and to share with you how our project has been progressing since we started in September 2020.

This ERC-funded Horizon 2020 project spans several countries in Eastern Europe and Russia. We seek to understand what it means to live in and govern emptying towns and villages in (post)socialist places, and what such places can tell us about how flows of capital and shifts in political authority are reshaping the world we live in. Our new website seeks to be a lively, interdisciplinary hub for ethnographic and other related research on “emptiness”.

This 5-year project project grew out of Dace Dzenovska’s previous research in Latvia. An Associate Professor in the Anthropology of Migration, Dace leads this project as Principal Investigator and is currently conducting fieldwork in rural Latvia. Her short video explains the background and aspirations of the project.

We were recently joined by our two postdoctoral researchers Volodymyr Artiukh and Dominic Martin. Volodymyr is focusing on the movement of Ukrainian migrants between Donbass and Belarus, while Dominic is examining the experience, politics and governance of emptiness in the Russian Far East. I am project manager, and we look forward to welcoming a DPhil student to the team later this year.

Our multidisciplinary, international Advisory Board supports the team by advising on conceptual, methodological, and organisational issues. If you’re new to the project, you can learn more on the website about who we are and what we do.

Our Field Reports consist of blogs and reflections from the project team on discoveries they’re making in their fieldsites, as well as guest contributions from colleagues working on resonant themes. Our Publications page showcases a variety of externally published articles, papers, and other research outputs by the wider team. As the project progresses, you’ll be able to filter the Field Reports and Publications by location, theme, and type to find what most interests you.

For the project’s latest news and events, check out our News & Events page. This page features our conferences and workshops, as well as other professional events attended by the project team. In fact, we recently posted a call for submissions for our (online) launch conference “Emptiness: Ways of Seeing”, taking place 29 Sep-1 Oct 2021.

The Related Projects page offers links to works by other researchers, artists, filmmakers, etc. – including publicly available media (e.g. documentary films) – on how “emptiness” is observed and experienced around the world.

We will be developing the site further by adding more content, including additional blogs and other items in the languages of the study countries. Our hope is this website reaches beyond academia and will be accessible and user-friendly for anyone interested in the topic.

Please bear with us over the next few weeks while we sort out any glitches or bugs. In the meantime, we very much welcome collaboration and contributions from researchers working on related topics, so do get in touch!