Who we are
The International Centre for Litvak Photography is a politically and religiously independent, non-profit organisation that uses photography in its many revealing forms as an original way of remembering and preserving the immense diversity of Litvak history and culture. Founded and run by someone who’s neither Jewish nor Lithuanian, our core team of three people is assisted by a huge diversity of individuals and organisations in Lithuania and abroad. Our small but growing portfolio of projects is made possible by the generous financial support of a wide range of individuals, companies and grant-giving organisations to whom we remain forever grateful.
Richard Schofield Founder/Creative Director
A resident of Lithuania since June 2001, the award-winning English photographer, curator, collector and occasional performer Richard Schofield graduated with Distinction on the ground-breaking Masters Degree programme in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of the Arts London in 2009. One of four nominees for the 2014 Sugihara Foundation Citizen of Tolerance Award and the key prosecuting figure in the infamous 2014 Pizza Jazz Nazi case, Richard is both the founder and the Creative Director of the organisation. An International Ambassador for the official Kaunas 2022 campaign to win the city the right to become European Capital of Culture during that year, Richard has been held at gunpoint twice and is the grandson of the acclaimed pilot and author, Harry Methuen Schofield.
Mariana Sutkienė Manager
Academically trained in political science and social policy, Mariana joined the organisation as our part-time Manager in May 2016. Actively involved in the NGO community for over 10 years, Mariana has created and implemented a wide range of projects for young people, specialising in the rights of the child, human rights, democratisation and development. As well as her general management duties, Mariana is refreshingly proactive in her approach to her work and has already added immense value and extra significance to the organisation.
Daumantas Skinkys Volunteer
At barely 20 years old, Daumantas’ self-professed deep interest in the preservation and development of culture in Kaunas led him to visit us at the week-long live performance of The Kaunas Requiem back in September, a visit that led to a brief conversation with us that rapidly escalated into the current situation where he’s now an indispensible volunteer within the tiny ranks of our NGO. Attending a Jewish Studies course as part of his International Politics and Development BA, Daumantas’ boundless energy and uncharacteristic interest in the world mark him down as one of the new generation of young Lithuanians who give us genuine hope for the future.
The International Centre for Litvak Photography is shaped and guided by a small Advisory Group of four people, at present those individuals being Sergey Kanovich, Milda Jakulytė, Mark Adam Harold and Jim McGeever. We’r also deeply indebted to Saulė Valiūnaitė, a young historian and researcher in Vilnius whose extraordinary efforts earlier in the year single-handedly cracked the mystery of the identity of the Varšavskis family, whose photographs, smuggled out of the Kaunas Ghetto shortly before they were murdered during the final months of the Holocaust in the Baltics, enabled us to produce our most meaningful project to date.
What we do
Our innovative projects, all of them either inspired by or driven by Litvak-related photographs, focus on two key areas of activity, namely rescue and engagement, the latter prioritising young people, especially young Lithuanians to whom the Lithuanian State struggles to teach the whole spectrum of Lithuanian history for fear of somehow embarrassing itself. At the moment we’re focusing on a small group of related projects of which we write about in more detail on this website. For information about our other work, and for regular project updates, readers are advised to take a look at our Facebook page.
Why we do it
The average Litvak-related event in Lithuania attracts audiences of a worryingly elderly age, the vast majority of these people already aware of the facts being presented to them. At best, young Lithuanians (and, to a lesser extent, visitors from abroad) aren’t being engaged in a way that’s appropriate to the 21st century. At worst, they’re not being engaged at all. We exist with a single-minded mission to facilitate a radical change in this absurdly unhealthy and darkly depressing situation.
Our income is spent on operational running costs, paying people for the work they do, buying the occasional piece of equipment and making sure we pay our share of tax. Our independence means we neither want nor need a Board of Directors, and our NGO status means financial records are available for anyone to see at any time.
The International Centre for Litvak Photography is a small NGO with big ideas that uses photography in its many revealing forms as the catalyst for a variety of thought-provoking projects aimed at creating a better understanding of both historical and contemporary Litvak life and culture in Lithuania and the world in general. Our main activities involve the rescuing of Litvak-related vernacular photographs in danger of being lost to history and using them in original ways to engage with the public through a wide range of exhibitions, workshops, performances, publishing projects and other similar activities and events. Primarily but not exclusively an empowering and participatory organisation, we value the diversity of Litvak life and culture as an inclusive subject open to everyone regardless of age, race, religion, ability or sexual orientation and we’re committed to preserving it for the benefit of future generations to come.