Participants of the ¬‘In Between?’ project set off on a journey to discover the voice of various European borderlands
The borderlands of contemporary Europe share a unique culture of memory, shaped by the turbulent history of the 20th century: its wars, geopolitical changes and mass migrations. It is in such regions that the European Remembrance and Solidarity Network organises, for the eighth time, the 'In Between? Searching for Local Histories in Borderlands of Europe' summer school for students from all over Europe. This year the participants will meet in Warsaw and subsequently set off on study visits to Alsace, Friuli Venezia Giulia or Cieszyn Silesia, where they will interview members of the local community and produce a series of podcasts.
This year’s edition starts on 6 July with three days of training in Warsaw. The programme consists of lectures in anthropology and oral history, along with workshops on podcast creation and production. The part dedicated to the theory and practice of oral history research will include meetings with Liana Blicharska, a Ukrainian historian collaborating with the Territory of Terror Museum in Lviv; Maria Buko, a social scientist and oral history specialist; Ewa Maj, Chief Specialist in the Research Department of the ‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre in Wrocław and Jarek Kociszewski, a journalist, podcaster and the editor-in-chief of the New Eastern Europe magazine. John Beauchamp, a journalist and podcast producer (Free Range), will hold a workshop on podcast creation and production. On 9 July participants will be split into three groups and travel to one of the German-French, Slovenian-Italian or Czech-Polish borderland regions.
The destination of the first group will be partner cities of Cieszyn and Český Těšín at the foot of the Beskid Mountains on the Polish-Czech border. Before the First World War, Poles, Czechs, Jews and Austrian Germans lived in Cieszyn, the capital of the region. The provisions of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 began the process of regulating the borders of the Polish and Czechoslovak states diplomatically, militarily and politically. As a result, the city was divided by a border running along the River Olza. Here, the participants of the project will look for answers to the questions on how have the the mutual relations between the Czechs and Poles changed in the region since the borders opened up on joining the European Union? What roles do regional and national identities play? Do Prague and Warsaw set the tone or are local cultural and economic ties more important? The group will receive help from members of the Český Těšín’s Polish minority and from local activists from both sides of the border.
The members of the group going to Alsace are guests of the Albert Schweitzer International Youth Centre in Niederbronn-les-Bains, one of the sites run by the German People's Union for the Protection of War Graves. Niederbronn-les-Bains is the starting point for tours throughout the region and to Strasbourg, which lies 40 km away. Nowadays, the capital of Alsace and the seat of the European Parliament is considered to be a symbol of a peaceful coexistence and of economic and cultural integration in a united Europe. However, the Alsatian people living here have been victims to the territorial and political claims of France and Germany in the past. Have the local people managed to retain their own identity and language? Have the wounds inflicted by the wars and ideologies of the 19th and 20th century had time to heal?
The third group travels to the Friuli Venezia Giulia to explore the twin cities of Gorizia and Nova Gorica on the Italian-Slovenian border respectively. During the First World War, Gorizia, a city located on the banks of the River Isonzo became the scene of intense fighting, as evidenced nowadays by a large number of cemeteries and memorial sites. Similar to the neighbouring city of Trieste, Gorizia has been shaped by three cultures: German-Austrian, Slovenian and Italian-Venetian. The participants of ‘In Between?’ will follow their mutual relations. The local partner of the project will be Kulturhaus Görz – a cultural centre dedicated to preserving the multilingual heritage of the city.
Each team will gather materials documenting personal experiences of the inhabitants of the multi-ethnic borderlands and create a short artistic podcast, conveying the atmosphere and history of the region with the help of sound. The 2022 edition marks the start of a three-year-long programme by the ENRS dedicated to migrations in Europe. The interviews will become an integral part of an educational package planned for 2025. The podcasts will be shared in the ENRS’s multimedia library and on the streaming platforms Spotify and Simplecast.
'In Between? Searching for Local Histories in Borderlands of Europe' is an educational project focused on oral history research, which took place for the first time in 20+16. During the seven editions of the programme, 130 participants (young adults under the age of 26) have visited 22 European multicultural regions. The results of the study visits are, among others, filmed interviews with the inhabitants of past and present borderland regions. These can be found in the ENRS’s, EUscreen's and Europeana Migration’s resources. In 2018 'In Between?' received a special mention by the European Union Prize/Europa Nostra Awards for best culture heritage initiatives. You can find more information about previous editions at www.enrs.eu/inbetween.
Partners of this year’s edition of the programme are:
– Depot History Centre and Remembrance and Future Centre (Centrum Historii Zajezdnia, Ośrodek Pamięć i Przyszłość), Wrocław, Poland;
– German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge), Germany;
– International Albert Schweitzer Centre in Niederbronn-les-Bains (Internationale Begegnungstätte Albert Schweitzer), France;
– Cultural Centre Görz (Kulturhaus Görz), Italy;
– Post Bellum Centre of Memory of Nations in Ostrava (Paměť národa Moravskoslezský kraj), Czech Republic.
The project was funded by the European Union.
For further information about previous editions of ‘In Between?’, visit: www.enrs.eu/inbetween.
The podcasts from the 2021 edition of the project are available on the Spotify platform at: