Our Memories and I (OMI)
Youth, Remembrance And Creativity In Face Of Society’s Identity Crisis. The Role Of Memorial Sites In Europe
Erasmus+ Project, 09/2017 – 09/2019
KA201 – Strategic partnership projects for school education
In partnership with:
- European Observatory on Memories – University of Barcelona (SPAIN);
- Lycée Aristide Maillol, Perpignan (FRANCE);
- Liceo Statale Antonio Rosmini, Grosseto (ITALY);
- OSZ Lotis, Berlin (GERMANY);
- Collège Marcel Pagnol, Perpignan (FRANCE);
- Institut Narcís Monturiol, Figueres (SPAIN);
- Istituto storico grossetano della Resistenza e dell’età contemporanea, Grosseto (ITALY);
- Museu Memorial de l’Exili, La Jonquera (SPAIN).
The central issue of this project is the social inclusion and promotion of diversity and mutual understanding as one of the most important goals and challenges for all educational institutions involved in this project. Recent events in Europe such as the welcome policies of migrants or terrorist attacks, significantly contribute to the complexity of these issues. The pedagogical sphere is getting more and more solicited to effectively accompany the youth, finding answers and developing integration and prevention strategies. This mission proves itself to be rather complicated since the profile of youth in our establishments highly diversified during the last few years. Their values, their stories and their cultures are often intersected without a mutual understanding. More and more pupils leave the school system earlier and we are faced with the challenge of learning how to handle this new problem. For this reason, the partnership with European memorials is a powerful tool for reaching common solutions and introducing memories in the educational sphere. The memorials have for their mission not only to inform about their own historical contexts, but also to teach citizenship and peace.
The added value of our project is the introduction of art and artistic expression as an innovative pedagogical method used for both, the acquisition of knowledge (history) and skills and the communication around more intimate memories in the context which goes beyond the school and the local setting. It is actually being integrated in a European perspective emphasizing the place of young people in the dialogue with the institutions. This approach will allow a concrete insight into the multiplicity of diverse memories and it will give pupils the possibility to express and become aware of common elements of those memories despite their diversity – in terms of joy and suffering, constraints and liberties, repression and rebellion, survival strategies and failures. Art will enable a true communication between all students participating in the project, transcending possible linguistic and cultural barriers and promoting mutual understanding. Through tracing personal family histories, this methodology will teach youth to gain ownership over memories and it will open a large space for expression of emotions and creativity.
Furthermore, sustainable outcomes of this project will be reflected in using the results in elaborating new training programs for teachers and adapting the educational offer of European memorials. We also aim to consolidate and further develop networks and collaboration between memorials and educational institutions as well as to foster and encourage new initiatives in this field by opening the theme of dealing with memories to the partner country – Croatia, where this kind of pedagogical approach of dealing with the past is a novelty.
Working on this subject is a constant, demanding and ongoing process which has to be adapted to new emerging circumstances at the European level. The opportunity to collaborate, learn from each other and exchange experiences and practices is a valuable step towards achieving more inclusive and tolerant societies. Understanding the multiplicity of memories which contribute to the perception and acceptance of the “other”, having new insights on the needs of youth and creating together common solutions to respond to these needs is actually the long term benefit for all participants and partners of this project.
The final activity of “Our Memories and I” project was held in Split, Croatia, from 07-09th of May 2019, hosted by Culture Hub Croatia. Eight partners coming from France, Spain, Germany and Italy together with the project coordinator European Observatory on Memories (EUROM) from the University of Barcelona shared their experiences of the 2-year project and evaluated the methodology used. A study visit to the fortress of Knin and its memorial museum was also organized with the aim to understand the challenges of interpretation of very recent memories in Croatia. A part from the final internal meeting, a pop-up exhibition and a public conference took place at the Alliance Française entitled “Youth, Remembrance and Creativity”. This event served to disseminate the results of “Our Memories and I” project to a wider public and was a useful learning experience both for international partners as well as for local history teachers and others interested in the subject. More about the conference and the photo gallery can be found under “events”.