EuroClio’s 26th Annual Conference: Introducing New Perspectives and Encouraging Powerful Exchange

The 26th
EuroClio Annual Conference took place from 4 to 7 April. More than 140 history
and citizenship educators from 39 different countries met in the beautiful city
of Gdansk, Poland. They immersed in the topic Bringing History to Life:
making history education meaningful for all students
.

The conference saw the debut of three new programme elements: a critical movie screening, a plenary workshop, and a Historiana feedback session. To dive into the conference theme participants had the opportunity to attend the screening of the documentary film “The Warsaw Uprising” before the official opening of the event. This movie is composed of original footage recorded during the 1944 Uprising, colored in a laboratory and pieced together in a fictional story. Introduced by Dr. Mazur, head of the education department at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the movie sparked lively discussions on the concepts of history in the making, historical truth, and on the use of movies in the classroom.

During the
four-day training, participants took part to workshops, discussion tables,
panel discussions, school visits, and on-site learning activities, all aiming
at exploring the reasons for and the ways to make history meaningful and
engaging for students. With a collection of 23 different workshops, visits to 4
different schools, and in-depth discussions on the educational programmes of
the European Solidarity Centre and the World War 2 Museum, participants went
home with brand new and practical ideas on how to bring history to life in
their classroom.

The closing
day of the conference was characterized by two additional new elements. In the
morning, more than 50 attendants took part to the first ever Historiana
feedback session. They were introduced to new features in Historiana’s
eLearning Environment that are being developed, These “building blocks” will
provide more options for teachers who would like to create their own learning
resources using Historiana. The feedback collected from participants will
directly influence the design, user experience and functionalities of the
tools.

Finally,
Jacek Staniszewski and Richard Kennett delivered the very first plenary
workshop in the history of EuroClio Annual Conferences. They discussed the
theme “Why teaching history is more important than ever before”, and introduced
participants to a variety of activities that can be carried out in the
classroom to help students understand the complexity of historical figures and
events and to encourage them to take a multiperspective view on the Second
World War.

It has been
an intensive conference, characterized by debates and discussions on what makes
history learning meaningful. How to react to history in the making? How to help
teachers in preparing students to challenge historical interpretations?
Moreover, it has been a unique exchange opportunity, in which new friendships
were created and networks were strengthened. Over the course of the coming
weeks, we will share several in-depth articles highlighting aspects of the
programme, for those who could not attend the conference, but of course also
for participants who would like to refresh their memory!