Scientific and cultural project

Each ethnology centre is unique in the theme it chooses to question. In the case of the Basque ethnology centre, the main subject is the relation between heritage and creation. The themes of orality, documentary resources on Basque Culture as well as linguistic pluralities complement its scientific and cultural project.

Heritage and creation

Since its creation, the Basque cultural institute has been working on the Basque contemporary creation, and more specifically on the one related to inherited traditions. Questioning the link between heritage and creation is the backbone of the centre's action. Prior to the "ethnopôle" label, various initiatives were taken in this direction, including the creation of a working group that opened a broad questioning on creation, with ethnographic studies, study days and a symposium. To be treated with relevance, the heritage-creation question has to be studied from an ethnographic point of view and with its own modes of analysis. This is what the Basque ethnological centre proposes. On the other hand, the materials collected or kept at the Chateau Lota, the Basque cultural institute's home, are objects of great interest to researchers, whether they are linguists or anthropologists. However, compilation is not only a "collection of diverse objects" with the only purpose of documenting the contemporary state of Basque culture ; on the contrary, it seeks to nurture new creations and is subject to multiple forms of creative appropriation by today's bearers of tradition.


The aim of the Basque ethnology centre is to become an orality centre that will nourish exchanges, allow to share experiences and to form a transversal questioning on orality. The issue of orality won’t be limited to the language only, it will be extended to the methodology of oral research, to oral literature and musical practices and more generally, to the way artistic choices are justified, as the main research subject is the link between heritage and creation.

Documentary and digital ressources on Basque culture

The partners of the Basque ethnology centre want to stimulate a reflection on accessibility to documentary resources related to Basque culture in the North of the Basque Country at the digital age. The goal is to work collectively on the implementation of convergent methods and better practices that will facilitate the consultation of digital ressources. The document processing method, the indexation methods, the solutions for digitalizing and conservation, but also the perspectives for consultation are some of the questions on whiches the Basque cultural institute intend to reflect.

Linguistic pluralities

The Basque Country is without a doubt a plural linguistic area. Indeed, because of the linguistic domination, Basques are bilingual, usually trilingual, and often quadrilingual. Switching from a language to another is part of their everyday. The Basque ethnological centre will address this issue and show a particular interest in these situations of multilingual communication. The question will nurture transversal reflections, such as the sociolinguistic approach to the space attributed to language, languages in contemporary societies, artistic creation in minority languages, or the devices configured in a situation of diglossia.

In order to deal in an operational way with the four themes that articulate the scientific and cultural project of the Basque ethnology centre, an action program was written for the 2017-2021 period. Developed around three areas of intervention - research, creation and mediation - this action program is divided into 11 strategic orientations for which several actions have been defined.