Conèixer Història Association (Discovering History Association) is an NGO created in Barcelona in 2008 with the aim of researching and spreading knowledge of the past in order to better understand the present and achieve a fairer and more democratic future. Through its activities, the ACH aims to dignify and honour those that fought against totalitarianism and for democracy, as well as individual and collective liberties. Furthermore, the ACH seeks to recover the heritage that exists at so-called “spaces of memory” where important historic events unfolded, particularly in Catalonia and Spain during the Second Spanish Republic, the Spanish Civil War, the Franco dictatorship and the Spanish transition to democracy. Activities are based on research carried out by the association, as well as on already existing material and studies. Conferences, guided tours, Internet and social media are the most frequent communication channels of the association.
An example of the efforts undertaken by the association is the project of locating, cataloguing and spreading the spaces of democratic memory in Barcelona. The aim is to make citizens aware of places around the city where fundamental historic events have occurred in order to achieve freedom during the 20th century. More than 100 spaces of memory have been localized and catalogued through a documentary and bibliographic research that created the topography of the democratic memory of Barcelona. All this information, duly systematized, has been made accessible through the digital project Memoria Bcn, a web based platform that includes a website in four different languages and a mobile app.
Before the creation of Memoria Barcelona, the capital visited by almost 8 million tourists each year, was not home to any initiatives that made accessible for both its citizens and visitors the resources needed to interpret the different traces of memory contained in the city. These traces can help describe some of the fundamental episodes of recent history in Catalonia, Spain and Europe. Thanks to the AHC, these interpretative tools are available to any person interested in the matter. The City Hall of Barcelona participated in the project and promoted the mobile application that allows users to walk through the historical routes with all the information at hand. The Spanish government also collaborated by funding the website. Regarding the content, the University of Barcelona gave professional advice during the research phase and endorsed its results.
The experience reveals the importance of the involvement of civil society in memorial projects, as well as the participation of associations whose mission it is to defend and promote memory. It also points out possible future lines of action and new areas of work.