Creative Drives for a Changing Europe
The history of Europe is full of upheavals, destruction and beginnings. In the process, the lives and orientations of citizens get mixed up. We are also currently experiencing a changing world: Corona, worries about money, growing social and political divisions, climate change, the challenges of digitalisation and more. In times of crisis, history may offer inspiration: Which decisions made people in the past? What new things have emerged from the upheavals? What influence do the events have – until today? The reference to the past also promises reassurance in the present. Even more: how historical events are talked about today, which perspective is chosen, which interpretation is preferred, “tells” about the here and now – and the future one wishes for. In the democratic discourse about history, attitudes, values and interpretations of the present are ‘negotiated’. In a favourable case, belonging is also lived and experienced in such a process.
In any case, the reference to the history of a country or region influences one’s self-image as a citizen and one’s position in society – whether consciously or unconsciously. The critical, differentiating analysis of the past is therefore not a luxury topic, but necessary for the democratic development of societies. It makes it possible to understand the other and one’s own, to accept breaks, contradictions and ambivalences, to cope with diversity and complexity even in times of uncertainty. In one’s own country, in Europe, in the world.
This is the subject of the cooperation between organisations from Germany, Finland, Greece, Poland, Serbia and Spain. Together, they are developing a multilingual learning platform on situations of transformations in the history of the respective countries – and how these are discussed today. The contributions are intended for interested citizens and adult educators.
The range of topics could hardly be more diverse: the Thirty Years’ War as a central European event, the German-German unification process, women during the transformation in Poland in the 1990s, the transition of the 1980s in Spain, the wars in Yugoslavia as an example of violent transformation, the Greek-Turkish war after the First World War and “ethnic cleansing”, the refugee experiences of Finnish Karelians after the Second World War, and many more.
Why a European project on „moving memories“? Especially in times of upheaval, transformation and crisis, it is important to preserve democracy and peace on the continent. The charm of European cooperation can retain its appeal even under difficult conditions. In the face of increasingly nationalistic interpretations of the past, the broader horizon of observation may help to make European dimensions of one’s own ‘national’ history visible, to get to know the culture of remembrance in other societies and to develop ideas for the future in a “European house” in which its inhabitants live well and with pleasure.
Photo: Fraternisation: during the armistice on the Eastern Front in 1918. German and Russian soldiers celebrate the end of the war between the positions.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S10394 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia
Helinä Rautavaaran etnografisen museon säätiö, Espoo, Finnland
ACTION SYNERGY SA, Athen, Griechenland
Akademia Humanistyczno-Ekonomiczna w Lodzi, Lódz, Polen
UDRUJENIJE GRAGDANA DAH TEATAR – CENTAR ZA
POZORISHNA ISTRAJIVANJA, Belgrad, Serbien
ASOCIACION MALAGUENA DE EDUCACION Y
FORMACION EUROPEA (A.M.E.F.E.), Málaga, Spanien
Photo above: Natalia Y auf Unsplash