Days of Remembrance is based on the belief that culture of remembering and communication of memory in public space contributes to local community cohesion and incites citizens’ involvement in the development of their urban neighborhood. The project’s activities encompassed: 1. creative workshops with citizens on the topic of memory and oral histories related to the way of life, urban and community development of the Vracar borough; 2. public presentation of the workshops’ results in the form of multimedia on-line map displaying oral histories and memory of common people. It is envisaged as a community based participatory cultural project that explores the scope in which culture of remembering in a particular urban environment affects basic principles of its functioning – connection within the community, sense of belonging to the collective, care and responsibility of an individual for the common good, as well as overall quality of the local environment.
Innovativeness of the project lies in the choice of target groups/workshop participants as well as methodology applied in work with them. Primary target groups were senior citizens and young people while the whole project was conceptualized as the result of the intergenerational collaboration and dialogue between these two groups, which can be recognized as an innovative memory practice. Even though general structure of the workshops and methods applied in the work with workshops’ participants (group and individual interviews, discussions, narration, creative writing, practical work in various digital media) were defined in advance, project team was very open and responsive to the needs of the workshops’ participants. That resulted in good working atmosphere, very active workshops’ participants and contributors’ commitment to the final outcome of the project (content of the interactive on-line map). In that sense our methodology was in certain way one of the main outcomes of the project.
The project deals with oral histories and memory of citizens of Belgrade related to the way of living in the city that went through number of significant changes during the last 60 years. Being the European city, Belgrade has much in common with other European cities but also very specific socio-cultural and urban development caused by frequent socio-political transformations of the countries whose capital it was. Therefore, findings of the project represent a part of wider corpus of 20th century European memory. Apart from this, methodology applied within the project, which is aimed at recalling and safeguarding oral histories and memory of ordinary people could be supportive to the recognition of the importance of community memory preservation and communication in the public at European level.
Interactive online Remembrance map by Vračar’s residents: www.kulturklammer.org/days-of-remembrance
Kulturklammer - centre for cultural interaction: www.kulturklammer.org