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Ieva Lībiete is a lecturer at the Institute of the History of Medicine (IHM) at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) and is in charge of establishing an ambitious RSU Museum of Anatomy. Among the most successful academic projects she highlights the digitalisation, redefining of the IHM collection of articles Acta medico-historica Rigensia and the collection being made available to the public. This resulted in the aforementioned collection of articles being included in the largest open-access database of academic journals: Directory of Open Access Journals. In addition, Ieva also points out the achievements in popularising of the society of Latvian medical historians at the international level.

Next year, RSU in conjunction with the Latvian Association of Medical Historians and Pauls Stradiņš Museum for the History of Medicine will host a key event in the history of medicine – the Congress of the International Society for the History of Medicine.


Why am I involved in research?

For over a decade my work has been directly associated with the material heritage of the history of medicine, its study, preservation and use while both working with the collections of Pauls Stradiņš Museum for the History of Medicine and currently creating the new exhibition of the RSU Museum of Anatomy. Thus, research is an integral part of my work and my daily routine – every day I come across questions that haven’t yet been answered, and answers are to be found when compiling and analysing historical sources. In research I have always been oriented towards outcomes, I am less fascinated by the process. The imagined outcome – a valuable publication, fascinating lecture or interesting and well-attended exhibition – serve as a driving force. I am currently focusing on creating the Anatomy Museum exhibition, thus current research work is associated with the history of anatomy and pathology and anatomy collections. I am searching for the place of the RSU Anatomy Museum in the context of the world's anatomy museums and trying to answer the question – how to make a historical collection meaningful and exciting for the 21st century visitor.

Why will I attend the RSU International Research Conference?

Since I have been working at RSU I have never considered any other options – one has a duty to attend the conference because it's a part of academic work, a very pleasant part. This year, first of all, I want to participate in the medical history section. Over the past few years, the medical history section has become a popular interdisciplinary conference event that brings together medical historians, museum staff and practising physicians who are interested in the history of their field. I must point out that the RSU conference is the only regular platform for Latvian medical historians to meet and share the results of their research. Last year, colleagues from Saint Petersburg also joined us in the anatomy history section that was organised by us and the Institute of Anatomy and Anthropology. This year, as previously, we will spend the first day of the conference at RSU, while on the second day we will go on a field trip. This time, we will visit our colleagues in the Uppsala University Museum.


Secondly, this year the RSU Museum of Anatomy, in cooperation with partners from the Art Academy of Latvia and the organisers of the International Student Conference, is also offering a practical workshop for students. During the workshop, students, under the supervision of an artist, will be able to reconstruct normal and pathological human facial musculature in wax. The workshop will be hosted by internationally renowned medical artist and President of the European Association of Medical Illustrators, Pascale Pollier. It's going to be a very unique opportunity for students to learn how physicians and artists collaborate in visualising anatomical structures.

As for the remainder of the time, I hope to learn, as much as I can, about the exciting projects that colleagues from other structural units have been working on and how they present their studies. Finally, I hope to celebrate this marvellous Research Week at the traditional Academic Ball.

Why should others attend the conference?

This type of conference is like an annual knowledge update on the advancements in the field and the university's research in general. We don't actually interact that often with colleagues from other structural units during our daily work in our specific areas. It's a great opportunity to meet colleagues in one place, to learn about their current projects and, perhaps, to gain some ideas for scientific cooperation or improvement of the study process. Furthermore, this year as the conference is international, everyone should take note of the names of guest lecturers, so that you don't miss a presentation of a leading researcher.