Breaching the walls. We do need education! is one of the projects that won the European Remembrance 2019 call for proposals for the Europe for Citizens 2014-2020 program. It is promoted by the Fondazione Gramsci Emilia-Romagna as a lead leader together with 5 partners: the University of Bielefeld in Germany, the Institute of Contemporary History in Prague, the Municipality of Tirana, the Past / Non-Past Association of Paris and the History Meeting House in Warsaw.
It officially started in September 2019 and will end in February 2021.
The project does not have an eminently academic slant, but, on the basis of the guidelines that inspire a program such as that of Europe for Citizens, aims to develop a reflection on the history and memory of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the events that characterized 1989 that is on the active involvement and participation of European citizens themselves.
The idea is to reflect critically on the historical significance and political impact that the fall of the Wall, both as an event and as a process, has generated in Europe and in the countries of the former Soviet bloc, then paying particular attention to the echo that these events had in Italy and, specifically, in the territory of Bologna. We intend to reflect on the legacy of that experience in the light of the subsequent developments of European politics and the integration process, in an attempt to investigate the gap between the promises, hopes and expectations of the people of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 and the characteristics of today’s reality, which instead testify to the spread of extremely critical feelings towards the project of European construction, its institutions, its representatives, and its very reasons for being.
The aim is therefore to collect private and ‘public’ memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall and, more generally, of the 1989 event, and secondly to transmit and share all these testimonies to a selected ‘audience’, such as that of the younger generations, in particular high school students, who were not yet born in 1989.
In this sense, the concrete activities of the project will be developed along two main lines:
- on the one hand, the collection of memories through video interviews (which in turn will be the basis of a series of significant clips that will contribute to the creation of a video-documentary)
- on the other hand, the direct involvement of citizens, with respect to which we decided to develop a special focus on young people in secondary schools, which, of course, in 1989 were not yet born and have no direct memory of those events. This is also to respond to the specific requests for direct involvement of European citizenship, which is intrinsic to the very nature of the Europe for Citizens programme.
The main activities of the project will be divided into four phases:
Collection of memories through video interviews
Each partner will carry out a series of interviews with significant personalities in each of the national contexts of reference who witnessed the fall of the Wall. Public personalities, men and women with political-institutional positions, activists, but also simple citizens who were involved in those events and who, in the eyes of individual partners, can represent a significant sample of witnesses for the purposes of the project. The interviews will correspond substantially to the phase of collecting sources to work on and reflect on, and that will be preserved and catalogued – but made accessible – by the individual partners; focus groups will then be activated in Bologna that will focus on collecting further testimonies from citizens (both those who lived in 1989 and ‘young’ born after that year) around their memory or their knowledge and perception of the 1989-fall of the Wall event. Significant clips will be made and collected in a video-documentary projected in Bologna during one of the international events that will take place in the city.
Seminars on the subject in high schools
A series of seminars on the themes of the fall of the Wall and the Revolutions of 1989 in secondary schools will be organized in order to provide students with the historiographic bases that allow them to participate actively and with a critical approach to the realization of the materials that see them as protagonists.
The aim is to actively involve young people in the transmission of memory and European democratic values through a reworking of the artistic content, which restores their point of view on the issues under analysis. An artistic workshop will be set up, supervised by professional artists linked to Baumhaus, a reality that will collaborate in the project and that together with the students will work to create 10 posters linked to the themes that characterize this path. As for Bologna, thanks to the collaboration with Cheap Festival, these posters will be posted on the notice boards of the Municipality and will be included in one of the international events that will take place. The theme will be above all that of the construction and demolition of the walls of yesterday and today.
The project aims at activating a collective, transversal and transnational reflection on the historical, political and cultural roots of the EU and on the challenges that characterize today’s Europe, promoting international events that favour the debate and the meeting among citizens on the most relevant themes of the project. A series of international events will be proposed which, in different ways – open debates, public readings, poster projections, collective billposting, exhibitions – will allow the comparison between the different national memories of the Wall, a transnational and transgenerational dialogue on the main aspects of the project concerning the EU – memory, expectations, values and perspectives – and the dissemination of the results of the project.
Start of operations: September 2019 End of activity: March 2021