Conference Report – Working Group 6: Training and Capacity Building

Conference Report – Working Group 6: Training and Capacity Building

Author: Vjollca Krasniqi

As an overarching theme, the slow memory concept is the cornerstone of the training and capacity-building working group that inquiries into how global and local societies confront their past. How do they contend with current environmental, economic and social change? How does the application of the concept of slow memory provide some answers to these questions? From this vantage viewpoint and in pursuit of epistemological underpinnings of the concept of slow memory, continuous learning, forging partnerships, and engagement with the communities of practice, namely the archives, museums, and policymakers, in co-creation and co-production of knowledge, has assumed the center stage. The main goal is to enhance learning through collaborative exchanges and partnerships concerning methodology and pedagogy of slow memory to better understand the global and local grand-scale transformations and respond to their urgency and exigency. 

There is a need for situated learning and educational experiences to sustain transformative politics. Hence, the focus on training and capacity building relates to innovative pedagogies and interventions in learning processes to harness aesthetic sensibility and artistic-creative power while applying the concept of slow memory in research and the work contexts of the communities of practice, and stakeholders more broadly. Moving away from the conventional paths in training and capacity building, the concept of slow memory constitutes the very first premise for learning, dialogue, critical reflection, and exchanges, with the academic, artistic, and community actors. Learning is dialogical and a collective endeavour as much as an individual pursuit.

Training and capacity building on slow methodology encompasses participating members, Ph.D. students, and stakeholders: archives, museums, and policymakers, in particular. Several entry points come to the forefront for enhanced learning and skills. They have included visual and sensory methodologies, art-based and creative methodologies, feminist methodologies, and object biographies, as tools for a social epistemology that emphasise the context and relationships in given social and memory situations, in flux. The modus operandi in this platform for learning is co-creation and co-design through art-based and feminist methodologies, and digital and archival research (public and amatory/private archives) to allow inclusion and diversity in the interactions between academia and practice. Collaboration and partnerships are fundamental for knowledge production, social development, and empowerment of the communities of practice.

Indeed, training and capacity building addresses the themes pertinent to learning processes and outcomes in the application of the concept of slow memory and how it resonates across memory contexts, social geographies, landscape histories, and memory activism. In this vein, training and capacity building constitutes a process of learning where time for critical reflection, collaborative exchanges, and ethical considerations on the process of memory work and knowledge production, gain much weight. Enhancing research capabilities entails access to learning venues envisaged through summer schools and seminars on participatory action research, art-based research methodologies (films and exhibitions); and archival research, to enhance co-production and co-creation of content (academic, artistic, policy-making). These learning strategies will help bridge the gap between theory and practice, and bring academia and communities closer for evidence-based responses to the challenges of the contemporary global society today.

Situating Slow Memory: Landscapes of Learning through Collaboration and Partnerships. Isle of Portland, June 2022

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On June 6, 2022, about sixty members of the COST Action on Slow Memory, which now has 38 member countries, met for the first time in person to discuss their research interests, to get to know each other as individuals, and to begin to figure out what this concept might mean for memory studies and remembrance practices.

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Eleven members representing eleven countries met in-person in Portland and had three days of lively discussions about the concept of slow memory, the approach to politics, and the nature and direction of transformation we aim to achieve. 

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