European Commission grants funding for project on transgenerational transmission of trauma
The project partners from Finland, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Italy will develop and deliver four clusters of local events within their communities to test experiential learning tools (ELT). The project is coordinated by SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory at the School of History, Culture and Arts Studies of the University of Turku.
– The local events organised by the project partners are linked to events that are central to the history of their communities, such as the Holocaust, the Bosnian War, and the European refugee crisis, says the project leader Hanna Meretoja, Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of SELMA.
The project will develop tools that make it possible to learn experientially about the harmful effects of transmitted collective traumas and how they impact the continuation of hatreds and vengeance today.
– For example, the trauma of sexual violence, in the context of wars, is often transmitted from one generation to the next and it can have harmful effects on the ways in which the new generations understand their sexuality. To take another example, various forms of racism are linked to our everyday discursive practices and become normalised in the current political climate, in which right-wing populism has become increasingly influential. One example of this is the way in which hate speech is called "immigration criticism", Meretoja asserts.
The project's events will bring together around 450 students and teachers and additional 500 community members as invited audiences and will influence numerous other individuals by using event hashtags on the social media and online platform.
The processes and outcomes will be presented at "#NeverAgain: Teaching Transmission of Trauma and Remembrance through Experiential Learning", a workshop-based conference hosted by University of Turku in June 2019. The conference aims to attract between 50-100 professionals and young people from across Europe, from a variety of disciplines and fields of work, such as universities, NGOs, and public bodies such as museums and memorial houses.
– In the dissemination phase, we will develop and launch a transnational education platform, offering different in-class experiential didactic methods, online webinars and didactic videogames, Meretoja says.
The Project Leader is Professor Hanna Meretoja (Director of SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory) and the Project Coordinator is Dr Nena Močnik (SELMA Postdoctoral Researcher).