Latest Events

  • London Georgian Film Festival 2023:

    Reflections On The Black Sea 28th September – 3rd October

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    Ciné Lumière

    LifeThroughCinema.com

    Here is a list of the seven Georgian films all at Ciné Lumière in South Kensington

    • First Swallow Pirveli Mertskhali 1975 Nana Mchelidze 2.00pm Saturday 30th September – Delightful film about the first football team in Georgia.
    • The Port That Never Was 2022 Stefan Tolz 4.05pm Saturday 30th September – In depth look at the story of the attempt to build a deep-sea port at Anaklia.
    • Bela 1927 Vladimir Barskiy 2.00pm Sunday 1st October – UK premiere of restored silent film based on Lermontov’s A Hero Of Our Time. Live piano by John Sweeney.
    • Taming The Garden 2021 Salomé Jashi 6.00pm Monday 2nd October – brilliant documentary about century-old-trees being uprooted and transported along the Black Sea coast. 
    • Glasses Crack, Tablecloths Splinter…2022 Anna Japaridze 8.00pm Monday 2nd October – Fascinating short film looking at Georgia’s undigitized home video cassettes.
    • Let Us Flow Vidinot 2023 Sophio Medoidze 8.00pm Monday 2nd October – A poetic documentary about Tusheti and it’s traditional summer festival. 
    • A Room Of My Own Chemi otakhi 2022 Ioseb ‘Soso’ Bliadze 8.00pm Tuesday 3rd October – The closing film of the festival. There will be a ‘cocktail hour’ reception before the film at the cinema which will be available through Eventbrite. 
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  • Repression of Writers in Soviet Georgia: A BGS Talk on 4th September 2023 at 6.30pm
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    British Georgian Society, TALK

    REPRESSION OF WRITERS – in Soviet Georgia

    The Athenaeum Club, LONDON. SW1Y 5ER

    4th September 2023, 6.30pm

    Most writers have experienced some form of censorship, or even repression. But none even remotely to the degree of Soviet Georgia’s Union of Writers in 1937. During the Great Terror, nearly all were forced to write denouncements of their closest friends, or love poems to Stalin and the Party. Failure to do so could be a death warrant. By its end, one quarter of the Union would be dead, either to murder or suicide.

    Tbilisi’s powerful new Museum of Repressed Writers, documents such far reaching effects of censorship. Not only on the lives and families of writers – but culture in general. It shows the mechanics of repression – archive documents with the phrases ‘to be executed’ against names; communal statements declaring the nation’s finest writers ‘vile parasites;’ film footage of poets reciting devotional poems to leaders of the Communist Party – who they hated. The systematic polarisation of public and private life – on an epic scale. And a warning to us all.

    Professor DONALD RAYFIELD

    is one of the world’s top scholars on literature during Georgia’s (and Russia’s) Soviet period. His book ‘The Literature of Georgia,’ originally published by Oxford University’s Clarendon Press in 1994, provides a vivid documentation and overview of the material in the Museum. He is a lively and knowledgeable speaker, creator of the first official Georgian-English dictionary, and first-time translator of many excellent Georgian texts into English, via his own Garnet Press.

    NATASHA LOMOURI

    is the Director of Tbilisi’s Writer’s House, container of the Museum of Repressed Writers. The Museum and its untold story, had been her dream for years, finally realised this year with help from US Aid Georgia. The Writer’s House is the actual home of the Writer’s Union of Georgia and its elegant, Art Nouveau rooms witness to many of the dramas now so graphically displayed on its walls. She will be showing us material from the Museum.

    Athenaeum Club London Nov 2006

    The ATHENAEUM CLUB (and dress code)

    with its origins in literature and science, book-lined walls, eminent members and elegant chambers, is the perfect venue for such a talk. True to its belief in the contemplative, it asks mobile phones are switched to silent and dress code is smart. No trainers, denim, sports clothing. Men are requested to wear ties. We are kindly invited by one of its members – and British Georgian Society ex-officio Board Member, Craig Oliphant. The event will be held upstairs in its Smoking Room.

    Booking

    Tickets are bookable through Eventbrite and must be booked in advance by 28th August. The cost is £10 for BGS members and £20 for non-members. Members please first email the BGS for the discount code at info@britishgeorgiansociety.org. We will send it. It can then be applied when ordering.

  • Georgia’s Digital World

    Georgia’s Digital World 

    Tuesday 25th July at 6pm

    Room 113, UCL, 26 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AP 


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    As you arrive at Tbilisi airport there is a Bitcoin ATM facing you. Georgia has long been on the radar of crypto entrepreneurs since energy-intensive crypto-mining exploded in Svaneti and to some extent Khaketi. Georgia is also currently a hotspot for digital nomads with Tbilisi as its beating heart offering fantastic opportunities. Recently the global Indigo Design Awards took place on the stunning rooftop of the Stamba Hotel. What are the implications and what will the future hold? Or perhaps you’re interested in finding out about blockchain, web3 and NFTs. BGS is delighted to welcome two young lively speakers with a wealth of experience to introduce us to Georgia’s Digital World, followed by Georgian wine and canapés.

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    Kitty Horlick recently lived and worked in Tbilisi developing NFTs with various companies and digital artists. She is the founder of Blackwood, a consultancy firm focused on onboarding traditional businesses into web3 and its associated technologies including blockchain, NFTs, the metaverse and cryptocurrencies. As well as running Blackwood, Kitty remains closely involved in a selection of web 3 projects. She is a Director at Rarify Services which develops the protocols and infrastructure required to transfer NFTs and cryptocurrencies between blockchains. In addition to her background in blockchain, Kitty is an experienced communications expert and a vivid storyteller. She has worked as a PR executive for Portland Communications, and a multi-media journalist, writing for publications such as The Sunday Times and producing award-winning documentaries.

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    Liza Zhvania is currently a post-graduate student at LSE, Msc in Media and Communications: Data and Society. After graduating from Yale University with a Bachelor in Mathematics and Philosophy, she went back to Georgia to pursue a professional career as a media and cultural manager. Past roles include being an Editor in Chief at Liberali – online political and literary magazine, campaign manager at Greens (Georgia) – an environmentalist movement, producer at Rustavi 2 – Broadcasting company. In 2018 she founded MAUDI. – artist-run multidisciplinary arts space, hosting exhibitions, concerts, screenings and artist-talks.

    RSVP essential due to changed security arrangements at UCL and limited places. 

  • Annual General Meeting and talk by Professor Thomas Wier 23 February 2023

    The BGS AGM will take place at 6pm on 23 February 2023 at the Georgian Embassy, 20 St George’s Square, London SW1 2HP

    This meeting is for members only and attendance at the embassy is limited and members should email the secretary Max Hess if they wish to attend in person. The meeting will also be online via zoom:

    https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83475291192?pwd=QmJsaTA4VVdRUVFDeEJMVUxoUi91QT090

    ID: 834 7529 1192- Passcode: 24597

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    The meeting will start with Professor Thomas Wier‘s talk “The place of Udi in the Language History of the South Caucasus”. Thomas Wier, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Free University of Tbilisi received his PhD in Linguistics focused on the Georgian Language from the University of Chicago and has lived in Tbilisi for over a decade. His weekly etymologies of Georgian words provide fascinating insights into the development of the language and its history and can be found by following him on Twitter @thomas_wier. He will present on the place of the Udi in the language history of the South Caucasus. Also known as Caucasian Albanian, Udi is endangered but is still spoken to this day by inhabitants of the village of Zinobiani in Georgia’s Kahketi Region. 

    BGS AGM February 2023final

    The board has passed the following resolution which should be considered in addition to the Notice for the AGM on 23rd February 2023:

    The board of directors of the British Georgian Society recommends the following nominees for election to the board at the next AGM on 23th February 2023 there being 3 vacant spaces:
     
    Matthew O’Hara a part-qualified accountant (CIMA) with over 12 years of experience in finance and accounting. He has been providing services through his accounting practice and has taught courses in Applied & Alternative Economics (MSc) and Doing Business in a Changing World (MSc) at Oxford, demonstrating his strong knowledge and experience in the field. Matthew is a confident, organised, and professional individual who can effectively work under pressure and adapt to changing environments. In addition, his passion for the performing arts and traveling showcases his diverse interests and well-rounded personality.
     
    Justin McKenzie Smith former British Ambassador to Georgia from August 2016 to August 2020. Justin McKenzie Smith joined Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service in 1994 and is a graduate of Oxford and Edinburgh Universities.  Justin was Deputy Director responsible for the UK’s relations with Russia, the South Caucasus and Central Asia in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 2008-2011. From 2004-2008, Justin was the Spokesperson for the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York and a member of the UK’s Security Council team. He also served in the British Embassy in Moscow in the second half of the 1990s. In London, Justin has also worked on European Union, human rights and press issues.
     
    Irine Surmanidze founder and director of REZONYAC Spirits Limited, currently leading a unique and empowering venture in the production of artisanal, small-batch beverages that use citruses sourced from small farms on the Black Sea coast in Georgia. Her mission is not only to create superior quality products but also to promote sustainable and community-driven business practices through a women-led cooperative. With extensive experience in the field of arts and culture, in her previous leadership roles as a manager and a head of the culture department, she initiated and implemented various collaborative projects with Georgian arts and culture institutions, the British Council, and other UK-based arts organizations. Irine is a Chevening alumna who holds an MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmiths University of London.
     
    IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that the board of directors hereby authorizes and directs the Secretary of the British Georgian Society to promptly notify the membership of the recommended nominees, and to include their names and qualifications in the notice of the next AGM on the 23 February 2023.

    There will therefore be three additional ordinary resolutions to consider at the meeting:
    To appoint Matthew O’Hara as a director of British Georgian Society
    To appoint Justin Mckenzie Smith as a director of British Georgian Society
    To appoint Irine Surmanidze as a director of British Georgian Society

    The board wishes to thank Eka Cox, Hubertus Jahn and Gia Sulkhanishvili for their time as directors of British Georgian Society.

    Board Secretary
    Max Hess
    15.02.2023

  • 6th London Georgian Film Festival 30th September – 5th October 2022

    British Georgian Society and Life Through Cinema present the 6th London Georgian Film Festival at Ciné Lumière from 30th September – 5th October 2022

    Friday 30th September

    6.30pm             Dead Souls’ Vacation | 2020 | 67mins | dir. Keko Chelidze Q&A with director

    8.30pm             Otar’s Death | 2021 | 105mins | dir. Soso Bliadze Q&A with director + actress

    Saturday 1st October

    1.30pm             Glory To The Queen | 2020 | 82mins | dir. Tatia Skhirtladze Q&A with director + Nona Gaprindashvili

    4.00pm            Merab Ninidze Masterclass talking to Bella Radenovic

    5.40pm             Repentance | 1987 | 153mins | dir. Tengiz Abuladze  Intro by William Dunbar

    8.25pm             Brighton 4th | 2021 | 95mins | dir. Levan Koguashvili 

    Sunday 2nd October

    2.00pm            Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors | 1965 | dir. Sergei Parajanov  Intro by Tetyana Filevska

    4.15pm              Cheerless | 1934 | 55mins | dir. Nutsa Gogoberidze Merab Ninidze tribute to Giya Kancheli

    6.00pm            The Criminal Man | 2019 | 135mins | dir. Dmitry Mamuliya Intro by Natalia Jugheli

    Monday 3rd October

    6.00pm            What We Shared | 2021 | 69mins | dir. Kamila Kuc Q&A with director

    7.30pm             What Do We See When We Look At The Sky? | 2021 | 150mins | dir. Alexandre Koberidze livestreamed Q&A with director

    Tuesday 4th October 

    6.00pm            Wet Sand | 2021 | 115mins | dir. Elene Naveriani 

    8.20pm            Inhale Exhale | 2019 | 91mins | dir. Dito Tsintsadze Q&A with Salome Demuria

    Wednesday 5th October

    4.00pm            Negative Numbers | 2019 | 110mins | dir. Uta Beria 

    6.10pm             Winter Blues | 2021 | 106mins | dir. Tazo Narimanidze Q&A with director

    8.30pm            Amok | 1927 | 70 mins | dir. Kote Marjanishvili with live score Vazha Marr and Giorgi Kuchukhidze and Intro by Natalia Jugheli

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  • Taming The Garden მოთვინიერება in UK Cinemas and On Demand from 28th January 2022
    Taming The Garden 1
    Taming the Garden 
    მოთვინიერება 
    Salome Jashi | 2021 | Switzerland, Germany, Georgia | 90’ | digital 

    The opening shot of Salome Jashi’s striking environmental tale captures a tree as tall as a 15-story building floating on a barge across the vast Black Sea. With astonishing cinematic style, this observational film charts one powerful man’s bizarre project to uproot and transplant hundreds of mature trees from the forests of rural Georgia to his own private garden. The film documents this brutal process of extraction as one-by-one the towering trees are pulled from the earth and transported to the palatial home of their new owner – a former Georgian Prime minister – as locals look on in horror and bemusement. Jashi captures the strange and terrible spectacle with a patient, forensic eye to construct a modern-day fable of wealth, power and privilege. 

    Since BGS partnered Open City Documentary Festival in presenting the UK premiere of Taming The Garden in September 2021, the film is to be distributed by Dogwoof.com in cinemas and on demand from 28th January 2022.

    For tickets and more information please click here

    Further Press Information

  • Cambridge Seminar “Georgia 1991-2021: Thirty Years of Independence” 25 June 14:00 BST
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    2021 is a year of multiple anniversaries in Georgia. It marks one hundred years since the Bolsheviks crushed the independent Georgian Republic in February 1921 and thirty years since Georgia became independent again after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This year’s British Georgian Society Annual Cambridge Seminar will focus on the path that Georgia has travelled since 1991.

    A welcoming speech will be given by HE Sophie Katsarava MBE, Ambassador of Georgia to the UK. Following the ambassador a panel of eminent specialists from Georgia and the USA – Zaal Andronikashvili, Nutsa Batiashvili, and Stephen Jones –  will give us their thoughts on the lessons Georgia has learned over thirty tumultuous years. A discussion with the audience will follow moderated by Dr Hubertus Jahn.

    The seminar will take place via Zoom on Friday 25th June, at 14:00 BST.

    You must register in advance for this meeting by clicking on the following link:
    https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYudeirqTspE9W6D3eftkYhWX2YEiPQ8Ppf 

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

    Panelists:

    Zaal Andronikashvili is a research fellow at the Centre for Literary and Cultural Studies in Berlin and Professor at Ilia State University in Tbilisi. His research focusses on narratology, meta-history of literature, minor literature(s) and world literature, cultural semantics, political theology, the cultural history of Georgia as well as Soviet and post-Soviet cultural history. He is the author of Die Erzeugung des dramatischen Textes. Ein Beitrag zur Theorie des Sujets (2008) and Landna(h)me Georgien. Studien zur kulturellen Semantik (co-edited with Emzar Jgerenaia and Franziska Thun-Hohenstein, 2018). He is currently working on a new book with the title Literature in Georgia: between small literature and world literature.

    Nutsa Batiashvili is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Dean of the Graduate School at the Free University of Tbilisi. Previously she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies. Her recent book, The bivocal nation: memory and identity on the edge of empire (2018), is about Georgia as a divided nation. It explains divisions and polarization as a form of cultural imagination. Her current research is situated at the intersection of cultural anthropology and the studies of nationalism, memory, and post-Soviet transformations.

    Stephen Jones is Professor of Russian Studies and Chair of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He is an expert on post-communist societies in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with a particular focus on Georgia. He is also a member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences and he regularly advises the US government on current events in the Caucasus. Among his many publications are Socialism in Georgian Colors: The European Road to Social Democracy, 1883–1917 (2005), Georgia: A Political History Since Independence (2012), and The Making of Modern Georgia, 1918-2012: The First Georgian Republic and its Successors (2014).

    Hubertus Jahn is Reader in the History of Russia and the Caucasus in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Senior Fellow of the Historisches Kolleg in Munich. Jahn holds a PhD from Georgetown University and a second higher doctorate from the University of Erlangen in Germany. He has taught at universities in the USA, Germany, and the UK. His research covers much of Russian history, with a focus on social and cultural aspects, as well as the history of Georgia and the South Caucasus. His current project explores the imperial scenarios and aesthetic representations of the Russian Empire in Georgia in the 19th century. Among his many publications are the monographs Patriotic Culture in Russia during World War I, a study of patriotic manifestations in Russian cultural life during the First World War, and Armes Russland: Bettler und Notleidende in der russischen Geschichte vom Mittelalter bis in die Gegenwart, an interdisciplinary study of begging and poverty in Russia from the Middle Ages to the present. He regularly guides Oxbridge alumni tours through Georgia and splits his life between Cambridge and Tbilisi.

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