In 2016, SERDE (meaning apple core – in Latvian) was accredited by the UNESCO General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to provide advisory services to the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Since its beginnings, SERDE has developed a public workshop centre with technical equipment for experimental and innovative projects, and offers residencies for local and international artists, culture workers, activists, managers, and scientists. SERDE has 3 different workshop studios:
- Classical black and white photography laboratory (pinhole, all sizes photo negatives),
- Ceramic art studio,
- Mixed material studio for work with metal, wood, plastic etc.,
They are famous with two things – one is their self-published “Notebooks of Traditions” that cover a lot of the local people’s history through a larger, even global perspective. Some titles include such unique aspects of the Latvian non-material cultural heritage as: the “Pig Funeral” or the tradition of pig slaughtering, traditions and knowledge of foraging herbs, edible and medical plants found in the nature – fields, forests, swamps, heritage of river raftsmen, or stories of the “Forbidden zone” – oral testimonies of living in the military area at the Western coast of Latvia during the Soviet occupation.
The other, their most popular event, is “Āboļošana” or “Appling”! What was an art fair once focusing on apples, their production and usage for creative and artistic interventions now has grown into a full-scale town festival still merging traditional crafts with contemporary arts and culture! Every year the festival gathers interdisciplinary artists, students and locals together to expand the idea of fermentation, food production and art!