Youth, remembrance, and creativity in face of society’s identity crisis. The role of memorial sites in Europe
- The aim of Our memories and I is to nourish art and artistic expression as innovative pedagogical methodologies for the acquisition of history and memory with the purpose to develop new skills and communication tools that allow knowledge to go beyond schools and local settings;
- Social inclusion, promotion of diversity, and mutual understanding are the most important goals and challenges for the educational institutions involved in this project, funded by Erasmus +
The relevance of the subject
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 increasingly requested to effectively accompany youth, finding answers and developing integration and prevention strategies. This mission proves to be rather complicated since the profile of youth in our establishments have been highly diversified during the last few years. The values, stories and the cultures of young people are often intersected without a mutual understanding. More and more pupils leave the school system earlier and societies are faced with the challenge of learning how to deal with 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. Memorials have for their mission not only to inform about their own historical contexts but also to teach on citizenship and peace.
The added value of our project is the introduction of art and artistic expression as an innovative pedagogical method used for the acquisition of knowledge and skills and the communication around more intimate memories in the context which goes beyond the school and the local setting since it is actually being integrated in a European perspective emphasizing the place of young people in the dialogue with the institutions. The interdisciplinary art-workshops for each of the memorial sites in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy will be developed and directed by the German artist Roman Kroke.
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. 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, our aim is to teach youth to gain ownership over memories and open a large space for the expression of emotions and creativity.
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 that the multiplicity of memories contributes to the perception and acceptance of the “other”, having new insights on the needs of young people, and creating together common solutions to answer to those needs is actually the long term benefit to all participants and partners of this project.