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Conference report (Aarhus) – Working Group 4 “Transformation of Conflict”

Conference report (Aarhus) – Working Group 4 “Transformation of Conflict”

Aarhus Report from Working Group 4

The training school was organized into two tracks under the broad categories of “storytelling” and “ethnography” – with a uniting focus on “moving methodologies” (i.e. walks and talks).

Over the course of the training school, we were introduced to different kinds of methodologies and sense-making, which we tried to relate to our own research, in order to develop ideas of how to work with slow memory/slowly with memory. On the train we “read” books from the Human Library and in Aarhus, we tried walking methodologies and photo elicitation.

During the following three days of the official meeting, we were introduced to research projects that are not specifically defined as “slow memory” research but hold the potential to enrich our understanding of slow memory through ideas of “critical junctions in knowledge structures” (i.e. as an alternative to focusing on events); “timing institutions” (i.e. underpinning new temporalities) and “slow moving mandates” (i.e. for peace-building, reparation, reconciliation and/or transformation). Each of the invited speakers’ research showcased different bridges into stake-holding communities (the agricultural sector/business, the heritage/museum sector, and foreign/cultural policy advice), thus modelling different forms of engagement beyond academia.

The presentations were interspersed with long discussions in the working groups and plenary debates developing insights across the action. Every day ended with an excursion of some kind – perhaps the most memorable one, to the museum Moesgaard, outside the city, where a delegation walked through the woods for an evening swim in Aarhus Bay.

WG 4 was very well represented at the meeting (around 20-30 members across the 5 days) and we had two separate WG4 sessions in which we discussed future outputs: educational materials, special issues and “good practices guides” (which were quickly renamed “inspiring practices guides”).

Educational Materials

Chris Reynolds (of WG4 and also part of the core group) made a brilliant introduction on how to develop educational materials and after a joint discussion, the group decided to focus on three outputs:

  1. A good practice guide for museum professionals (contact: Chris Reynolds)
  2. Rather than producing new educational materials about slow memory, we want to augment what is already there, by adding a slow memory dimension to existing educational materials (see https://euroclio.eu/projects/contested-histories/) (contact: Paula O’Donohoe and Sara Dybris McQuaid)
  3. Virtual exhibition and workshop guide (contact: Vjollca Krasnici, Hannah Wilson)

Inspiring practices guides

We decided to develop two “inspiring practices guides” on: 1) how to work together in a COST action, with all the specific challenges it entails; 2) how to work with slow memory/slowly with memory in research and practice. (Contact Annemarie Majlund Jensen, Sara Dybris McQuaid)

Special Issues proposals

We had four proposals for special issues, some of which might be more relevant for the action as a whole, than for conflict transformations specifically. There will be a core group meeting in September, where we will discuss how to collate the many special issue proposals from all the WGs and decide which ones are going to be the official outputs. We will also discuss this at the next WG4 meeting.

  1. Slow Memory and Literature (Contact Patrick Crowley)
  2. Slow Memory and the post-Yugoslav space (Contact Vjeran Pavlakovic)
  3. Slow Memory and Ukraine (Contact Tetiana Grebeniuk)
  4. Governmentalizing Memories of Conflict? Mechanisms of Management and slow transformations of conflict (Contact Tea Sindbaek, Sara Dybris McQuaid).
a photography of members of the slowmemory project in the north sea
© Stef Craps (2023)

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