Course dates:

Ongoing

Free access without certificate

Course Outline

The course is articulated in three modules encompassing an 8-week period. Participants are expected to engage in approximately 40 hours of active learning through readings, videos, podcasts, photo essays/slide-shares, discussions, webinars and quizzes. With examples and experts drawn from all regions of the world and a cross-section of constituencies, participants benefit from rich and varied knowledge.

Module 1 - The Conceptual Framework

Module 1 focuses on the conceptual framework behind memory sites. Starting from a reflection on why and what is important to remember, it then moves to discuss how memories are shaped and who is involved in 'building memory'. It will show the linkage between history, memory and human rights and the role of memorialisation in reconciliation and social reconstruction.

 
 

Week 1 - Why and what we remember: The dialogue between memory, history and human rights

Memorialisation as symbolic reparation to the individuals and the community as whole, makes the necessary dialogue between the past, the present and the future. Memory sites as physical representation or commemorative practices of collective memories reinterpret the historical narratives, tell them in the present, and inspire conclusions drawn on past lessons embracing the culture of non-repetition.

Additionally, equally important is the prior decision to remember: the social consensus on the need for memory sites in itself, and the frequently challenging issue of shaping of the corresponding public policy.

 
 

Week 2 - How we remember: Memories as (de)construction of historical injustices

Traumatic memories recalling or addressing a traumatic past and human rights abuses are complementary parts of memory studies. The regret and social repair regarding the historical injustice can be mediated through "memory narratives" as multidimensional approaches which explain the past events and transmit them various meaningful patterns.

The memory narratives are mutually constitutive with transitional justice and can influence actors` choices, but also the actors` choices can influence those narratives producing change of memories throughout generations.

 
 

Week 3 - Who remembers: memorialisation as reconstruction and democratisation tool

The broader function of memory sites is to provide common grounds for citizens to critically reflect and participate in the socio-political sensitive issues of reconciliation.

Through memory sites the process of transitional justice and democratisation can gain an important impetus under the influence of the reinterpretation of the memory and historical messages, setting the vision for a better future.

The profane character of the places is predominantly political and serves for reconstruction of the political community and as a forum for discussion not only for the past, but also for current human rights issues.

Module 2 - The Objectives of Memory Sites

Module 2 is dedicated to the objectives of memory sites, ranging from information and knowledge-sharing to the idea of providing evidence of abuses; from the role of memory sites for identity building/reconstruction and education to the ethical, legal and political challenges of the representation of horror.

 
 

Week 4 - Competing histories and truths: challenges in the creation of memory sites

The promotion of reconciliation and democratisation after the collapse of an authoritarian regime presupposes the plurality of memories and historical events.

The question of What should be remembered raises the dilemma of the inclusiveness of the memorialisation process incorporating multiple perspectives through debate (as democratic mean) or existence of only exclusive truth which justice should be based on.

The contestation of the narratives of the victims and perpetrators, the victims and the state, the state and the civil society, the state and the international community and so on, is in the core of the so called "problematic representation of horror."

 
 

Week 5 - Memory and (re)construction of identity knowledge

Memory sites shape education in various aspects, predominately political and historical.

Memorial sites as reinterpretation of historical events are leading to modification in the political culture, which can be more democratic, plural and broad, or can be narrow and absolute.

In interconnection with past abuses, memorials are rewriting histories displaying powerful messages through the intergenerational memories (re)shaping identities, collective memory and educational policies.

 
 

Week 6 - Sites of conscience: forum for dialogue, inspiration and action

Memory sites as public spaces offer more than just merely "symbolic reparation" to the victims of past atrocities.

The "sites of conscience" besides the goal of preventing the repetition of past abuses and victims` remembrance, look inward and make the visitors to critically reflect on the root causes of the violence.

In a variety of contexts memorials can use artistic modes to inspire civic engagement and actions, by opening new spaces for dialogue about threats and violations of human rights and give opportunity to find common grounds and solutions to address them in future.

Module 3 - A Comparative Perspective on the Concept and The "Museum" Design

Module 3 will focus on the aspects related to the 'design' of memory sites, thus dealing with format and content, use of testimonials and symbolic resources, artistic language and types of institutional approaches, stressing the artistic contextualisation vis-à-vis the visitors' reactions and empathetic sentiments for past atrocities and abuses.

 
 

Week 7 - Historical cut, formats and contents of memory sites; institutional design and testimonial reconstruction

Memorialisation is a creative process where artists, architects, curators, historians, designers, as well as community members, victims, civil society are also playing a very important role.

The disposition and content of the memory sites are the "real story tellers" of the historical trauma transmitted into some form of artistic language.

Thus, this language gives the reinterpretation of collective memories and determines the scope of justice through inclusiveness or exclusiveness of certain narratives.

 
 

Week 8 - Symbolic resources, use of artistic language, significance of objects and staging

The physical evidences, their composition and mode of display are forming the essence of the visitors` experience and contain the main message that should be transferred between different generations and regions.

The visitors` imagination, their empathetic sentiments and further actions towards non-repetition strongly depend on the personal reflection that the memorial sites provoke in the visitors` conscience.