Developing an inclusive process for communicating dissonant heritage

The project aims to establish an inclusive and democratic approach to recounting the legacy of undemocratic history, with a focus on developing a methodology applicable to various dissonant heritage sites. Its innovative nature lies in its comprehensive strategy that embraces dissonance to foster dialogue, education, and remembrance.

A primary case study for this endeavor is the Buzludzha monument, an emblematic example of modernist architecture constructed to exalt the Bulgarian Communist Party, only to be abandoned shortly thereafter. Over the past five years, the Buzludzha Project Foundation has crafted a Conservation Management Plan and undertaken emergency measures to stabilize the monument’s sprawling 1000 square meter mosaic. Yet, amidst these efforts, questions persist: What narrative will Buzludzha ultimately convey? What does it symbolize, both presently and in the future? And who will be responsible for shaping its story, and how? These queries have lingered unanswered, prompting this project’s endeavor to develop an inclusive process and methodology, building upon the groundwork laid at Buzludzha.

This initiative will commence with campaigns aimed at gathering oral histories through in-depth interviews, followed by sociological focus groups involving experts and a series of historical, artistic, and cultural-anthropological studies. The outcomes will be presented through a digital replica of Buzludzha, serving as a publicly accessible online platform featuring interactive content and narrative elements. Additionally, the project will establish the framework for the inaugural prototype of an exhibition centered around Buzludzha.

Furthermore, two parallel case studies will be undertaken, each confronting similar challenges. One such case involves the fascist mosaics adorning the Collegio Aeronautico in Forlì, Italy—imposing, well-preserved artworks with a heavily propagandistic nature. These mosaics chronicle the history of human flight, from the inception of flying machines to Italy’s bombing of Greece, portraying aviation as a triumph of heroism. The Faculty of Architecture at the University of Bologna will spearhead an oral history campaign to gather memories, facilitating a comprehensive interpretation of the mosaics. Meanwhile, the European Observatory on Memory will collaborate on developing an exhibition for Barcelona’s Modelo prison, utilized for political detainees during Franco’s dictatorship. As the facility undergoes repurposing with new functionalities and museological components, the focal point will be on crafting a multi-layered narrative from the collected materials.


The international consortium comprises five organizations. The main partners are the University of Bologna, recognized as the oldest university globally, alongside its Faculty of Architecture, and the European Observatory on Memory (EUROM) of the University of Barcelona’s Solidarity Foundation. ATRIUM, affiliated with the Council of Europe, serves as an associated partner, focusing on the architectural legacy of 20th-century European totalitarian regimes. EuroClio, the European Association of History Educators, joins as another associated partner, committed to fostering innovative and responsible history education. Leading the consortium is the Buzludzha Project Foundation, dedicated to the preservation of the Buzludzha monument in Bulgaria.

Related activities

August 8-11, 2024
In its fourth edition, the festival draws thousands of participants to the monument annually. This year’s programme spotlights oral histories and discussions about the monument.

May 28, 2024
Online event:  “Heritage Agora: Communicating Dissonance”
Free registration. The porgramme will be available soon.

March 24-27, 2024
Kick-off event in Cesena (Italy)
In a series of visits, workshops and lectures, the project partners learned about the examples, good practices and challenges of the dissonant heritage from the Fascist period in Italy.

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