Slow Memory General Meeting, June 12-16, 2023
In Aarhus, Working Group1 had three insightful meetings. We started with a discussion on what educational materials we can contribute to the Action. We explored some outreach ideas in oral history, as well as we thought of a jointly prepared graduate course syllabus. At the two other meetings we focused on the main concepts underlying our common work and the guidelines for our interviews with the retired trade unionists. Our conversation was enriched by the key insights of the conference, as well as by the presentation by the members of our WG, Irene Diaz and Ruben Vega, of their pilot interview with Francisco Prado Alberdi, a unionist from Asturias, Spain.
In result of those discussions, we decided that our Slow Memo interview questions to trade unionists will focus on six key areas: “social practices”, “strikes/negotiations”, “solidarities”, “legacies”, “processes” and “future challenges”. A particular concept that came up in the key insights that was useful to us was the idea of “crossroads” as a framing for various institutional paths that were taken. We discussed the importance to emphasize unfolding and contingent processes over events and ruptures. This emphasis on intersecting paths and metamorphoses helps us move away from the emphasis on key events to a slower notion of individual, societal and institutional change that will emerge from the interviews. This builds upon the idea that we should think about the dialectic between struggle and negotiation in labor union activities as a long, often slow, process.
// Brian Rosa and Joanna Wawrzyniak
Image credit: © Brian Rosa. La Bordeta, Barcelona, 2020.