The proud tradition of the Winter Schools began in 2013.
Already before that, the Viennese Department of Finno-Ugric studies had participated in international Erasmus Intensive Programmes organised by the (then still existing) network of European Departments for Hungarian or Finno-Ugric studies; the themes and backgrounds of these Intensive Programmes were heterogeneous, and many of them were connected to literature and cultural studies, especially Hungarian studies, rather than to Finno-Ugric studies in the strict sense of the word. (For a complete list, see http://finno-ugristik.univie.ac.at/studium-spl/international/intensivprogramme-erasmus/ .)
In 2013, time was ripe for resource pooling in Finno-Ugric language studies: why not share our expertise and invite colleagues from other universities to participate in lectures and courses which we simply cannot offer all the time and everywhere? In February 2013 (lecture break in Vienna so that the facilities of the department could be occupied by the Winter School), students and teachers from the universities of Helsinki, Tartu, Hamburg, Munich and Szeged together with their Viennese colleagues spent two unforgettable weeks learning how to revitalise a seriously endangered language, how to compose a poster and how to say “the squirrel goes to town” in almost native-sounding Kazym Khanty. Two weeks or ten work days, because this is the minimum time set by the good people in Brussels – only so were we eligible for EU funding.
The tradition continues: in a week from now, we will meet in Szeged, Hungary. Here, the PR video of our host institute – enjoy!