In Memoriam to Martin Roberts

Joke Van der Leeuw-Roord Association, EUROCLIO ,

In Memoriam Martin Roberts (1941-2021),

Member of the first EuroClio Board and Bulletin editor 1992-1997

 

Martin Roberts died peacefully surrounded by his family on the 7th November 2021. His health suffered in recent years some serious setbacks and it had been slowly failing, especially since the summer of this year 

Martin Roberts started as a history teacher in Leeds, Essex and Bedfordshire. Between 1981 and 2002 he was Headteacher of the Cherwell School, Oxford. He was member of the Historical Association (HA), frequently on the HA Council and from 1991-93 Deputy President.  He contributed to the development of the History National Curriculum for England through its many iterations. After his retirement worked on the Academic Steering Committee of the UK Prince’s Teaching Institute. 


Mike Maddison, who was the National Lead for History from 2008-15 commented that: .... In all our discussions, his knowledge, experience and expertise shone through, and all were focused on improving what was happening in lessons in schools. He wanted pupils of all ages to have a rich diet and to take into adulthood a clear knowledge of the past, why history matters and why it must be understood by all. He was a fountain of knowledge and a great raconteur too...He was a passionate advocate of history teaching and history teachers, his contribution was immense, and he will be missed.


A delegate for the Historical Association Martin Roberts was present in 1991 at the famous Council of Europe conference History Teaching in the New Europe, in Bruges, Belgium, where historians from East and West were meeting for the first time since 1949. He also participated as Historical Association delegate in the founding EuroClio meeting in November 1992 in Strasbourg, France. At this meeting, Martin was elected a member of the EuroClio Board and volunteered to become editor of the EuroClio Bulletin. A complex endeavour in a time without the internet and in a period when EuroClio had still two working languages: English and French. Martin worked in close cooperation with Claude Alain Clerc, the Swiss French speaking EuroClio Vice-president, to ensure that the Bulletin appeared twice a year in the two official languages during the Nineteen Nineties. 

In the first editorial of Bulletin 1 of November 1993, Martin Roberts commented that he wanted to write about developments in history teaching in Europe. And remarkably, in this very first Bulletin there was already an article about history and information technology. Martin also edited thematic Bulletins on topics such as Teaching about Potsdam and its Consequences and History Teaching, a Key to Democracy both related to the EuroClio Annual Conferences in Berlin and Neuchatel.    


In Bulletin 5 (Winter 1996) Martin Roberts reflected on the deep impact made on him by his discussions with friends in EuroClio as well as by his editing of the Bulletin for four years. He wrote that such conversations “made me think harder about the purposes of school history teaching than at any time since I started work in the 1960s. Compared to 1966, I am much more an instrumentalist. School history with the right choice of subject matter and emphasis on particular skills is the most significant subject in the curriculum if young people are to gain a serious understanding of democracy with its inherent fragility and a healthy sense of national identity which is sensitive to the tensions between national and international needs”. An argument which seems still valid in 2021. 


In 1995, Martin Roberts led the English team in the project 'Encouraging Democratic Values through History Education', the first big EuroClio European Union project, sponsored within the Phare/Tacis Democracy Programme. Almost 100 history educators participated in this project with study visits to the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, The Netherlands, Scotland and Slovakia. The project ended in Prague in December 1995 with a big Conferenced with all the project participants organised by Maria Homerova and Helena Mandelova, very active Board Members of the Czech History Teachers Association (ASUD).  

The first EuroClio Board worked very well together, and enjoyed meeting each other. These meetings were most often in my house in The Hague, and were wonderfully well catered for by my husband Jan, who provided excellent food for us. The summer meetings were in Diksmuide, Flanders, in the house and garden of the Belgium Board member Paull Vandepitte. During those meetings Paul’s wife Alice lovingly looked after us. In 1997, one year before his mandate officially ended, Martin decided, with great regret, to step down from the Board, in order to avoid all the Board members retiring at the same time. He wanted to assure continuity and asked Sue Bennett, who later was elected the second EuroClio President, to take his place as Bulletin Editor.


I remember Martin as a very passionate historian, didactic thinker and School head. I was very happy to serve with him in the first board of EuroClio, and he was always an inspiration to me and other less learned and knowledgeable colleagues, whom he met with respect, interest and a great sense of humour. He always remembered that our main task as teachers is to serve and facilitate the learning and development of our pupils and students. Jens Jørgen Dalsgaard, EuroClio Board Member 1992-1998.


In 2004 Martin Roberts edited After the Wall. History Teaching in Europe since 1989. This publication addresses a wide variety of topics among others as History teaching, national identity and citizenship, minority issues, textbooks and information technology. The book was in 2008 extensively reviewed by W. Tulasiewicz in Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. And in 2020 Yosanne Vella states in her article The Development and Progress of the ‘Source Method’ as a History Teaching Method: Practical Classroom Examples from Malta for the Palgrave Handbook on History and Social Studies Education that After the Wall is “a classical work on the European history teaching of the period”


W. Tulasiewicz 

‘With 33 individual contributions written by 46 authors set to deliver a critical account of recent changes in the teaching of history in 27 countries, and allocated, according to a system of summarizing themes, to nine chapters (plus an appendix), this volume is an ambitious project. Given the growing interest in history teaching in schools in Europe, this is also an eminently topical book, the title bound to catch the attention not only of history teachers and historiographers but of wider groups of educationists and politicians.” 


After this last big endeavour for EuroClio Martin Roberts actively withdrew from the European scene and concentrated his energy on education and particularly history education in England. He leaves behind a big oeuvre of school history textbooks and articles arguing for high quality history education.


 "His passion for education and his commitment to what is best for young people is both infectious and influential not only in his own school but across Oxfordshire." Richard Howard, principal education adviser at Oxfordshire County Council.


In recent years I was planning to visit him in Oxford by using the new direct Eurostar connection from Rotterdam to London. However, the Eurostar company first postponed the beginning of the connection several times and when it finally would run, covid interfered. I am really very sorry not have been able to visit him. We exchanged occasionally (long) mails sharing our passion for history education and our concern about the Brexit. When the message of his death arrived in my mail box I felt sad. The world becomes slowly more empty around me, and some of these losses unleash more emotion than others. I shall miss Martin very much.

 

Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, First EuroClio President.

Sue Bennett, co-author, Second Bulletin Editor and Second EuroClio President.

A new EuroClio project: Who were the victims of the National Socialists?

Enabling young people to gain a deeper understanding of the roots of discrimination in the present by researching the victims of National Socialists is the goal of our new project. To achieve this, we will design, develop, and test local youth-empowered history projects around the key question “Who were the victims of the National Socialists?” in six countries. This will be done by an interdisciplinary cross-border team of history educators, specialists in the history of National Socialism, and museum educators in close cooperation with youth and community members.

Rationale for this project

On paper all citizens are treated equally. Constitutions do not differentiate between sex, gender or religion, ability, and all citizens above a certain age have voting rights.  The reality, however, is very different: Every day there are people in Europe who are suffering from racism, LGBTIQ hostility, anti-Semitism, anti-gypsism, discrimination, and xenophobia. The lack of justice and equality in society, makes people lose faith in democracy and human rights, give space for nationalism and populism, and undermines democratic values and systems. The best chance to realise a future that does justice to the promise of democracy and human rights, is education. To achieve this, there is a lot of potential to learn from the history of the National Socialist in Europe, especially since is the topic that might be most common in the history curricula in Europe.

Youth empowered history projects

As part of this project, students and educators from 6 countries representing North Europe, West Europe, Central Europe, East Europe, South Europe, and South East Europe. Our idea so far, is that students will start learning from the sources they like - such as games, tv series and books. They will then continue learning through place-based learning at museums, memory sites, archives, and NGO’s, and use their findings to improve their answers. Finally, they will learn from historical sources – selected by their teacher - to get an even fuller understanding of who the victims were. By this point, students will have acquired deep knowledge of all victims, including those who received less attention in the past (such as people with disabilities, Roma, Sinti, and Travellers, LGBTIQ, political dissenters). As a final step, the students will us their acquired knowledge to reflect on contemporary issues and think what can be done to prevent historical injustices to continue in the present. In each step of the process, the students will work together with peers, share research findings and lessons learned.

Outcome of the project

The project will result in several outputs that EuroClio and the Max Mannheimer Study Centre, intend to use as part of their educational programmes and membership services, and which will enable them to spread this as an inspiring practice across Europe:

  • A promotional video with footage from students and educators who are directly involved in the project that explains the rationale for the project, demonstrates how the project works in practice, and convinces educators to explore and use the toolkit.
  • A toolkit with a step-by-step instruction on how to design the history project for students, support materials (such as the peer-to-peer tutorials) for each step, including preparation and assessment. The toolkit will be translated in the official languages of the countries where the student history projects take place.
  • A research report on the effectiveness of the project in terms of learning outcomes.
  • An internal and external evaluation of the project.

A say for communities affected by the history

For the development of the project, we will consult representatives and members of the Jewish community, LGBTIQ community, Roma, Sinti, and Travellers, and people with disabilities on the design of the toolkit, and seek advice from academics who are specialised on the history of these groups during the National Socialist era. For each of these group there will be a Council Member representing this group.

A new partnership

The Max Mannheimer Study Centre is an extra-school educational institution that aims to enable, first and foremost, young people from throughout the world to take a more in-depth look at contemporary history. The educational services include single or multiple study day courses for school classes, youth association groups, students, and other interested groups. The Max Mannheimer Study Centre is running a variety of projects, including international youth exchanges, and offers educational programme for schools, teachers in training, and NGO’s. The focus is placed on examining and discussing the National Socialist period in general, with special reference given to the history of the Dachau concentration camp. Our joint project offers the Study Centre an opportunity to make teaching about the Holocaust easier in Europe, to reach more teachers and more students through participant-centred-learning. The project teams will benefit a lot from the knowledge and experience of the Study Centre, on the Holocaust and crimes committed by the National Socialists.

A new agenda

The project is supported as part of the Education Agenda NS-Injustice, an initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Finance (BNF) and the EVZ Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future, which was created in response to the worrying increase in antisemitism, antigypsyism, racism and LGBTIQ hostility and acts of violence and attacks, such as the recent attacks in Hanau and Halle, are occurring with increasing frequency. The idea is that lesson about the National Socialist past and the visualization of experiences of those affected by persecution, will reinforce democratic attitudes, and counteract antisemitism, antigypsyism, racism and LGBTIQ hostility, and project like these, are needed because learning about this period is on the decrease, with generation of survivors and with increasing temporal distance.

Next steps

The next steps will be to work with the project advisors and partners, on the human resourcing of the project. As soon as we are complete, we will all the team members together for a work meeting early next year at the Max Mannheimer Study Centre in Dachau.

Are you interested in this new EuroClio project or believe that you can help us achieve the project outcomes? Please email Executive Director Steven Stegers (secretariat@euroclio.eu).

In Memoriam of Annemarie Cottaar

On the 6th of October 2021 Annemarie Cottaar, Dutch historian, passed away. Annemarie lived to be only 66 years old. She contributed significantly to the history of different groups of migrants in the Netherlands.

Annemarie was born in Amsterdam in 1955 and grew up in The Hague. She continued her secondary education at the evening Athenaeum (preparatory academic education). There she met Wim Willems, who became her partner for life and with whom she would write several papers and books. She studied History at Leiden University. She told me they wrote their history masters’ theses already together - really romantic in my eyes - about the so called Indische Nederlanders (East-Indian-Dutch immigrants who came to The Netherlands during and after the Indonesian National Revolution)

Our paths crossed. The path of the migration historian Annemarie Cottaar and the history educators of EuroClio, in particular that of Steven Stegers (at the time Senior Manager, nowadays Executive Director) and of myself (member since 1991 and currently EuroClio Ambassador). Our paths crossed at the start of a new EuroClio initiative: An international education programme called Historiana - Your Portal to the Past. With Historiana, EuroClio was developing an online educational tool that offers access to trans-border, comparative approaches to history and heritage, as an alternative to a printed history of Europe and beyond.

We found each other at the end of January 2010 in a snow-and-ice-covered suburb of Berlin,  to deliberate the how and what of the first case studies for EuroClio’s brand-new digital component 'Historiana', conceived by Steven Stegers. The first Historiana project should be “Discovering Diversity”. And the theme became “People on the Move: An integrative approach towards the history of migration”. It was based on the experiences of migrants, with data collected and retrieved following a fixed pattern of questions. This framework with its standard set of key questions would allow comparisons between the different modules. This approach was right up Annemarie’s alley. Based on thorough archival research and in-depth interviews she had already published several accessible books on groups of newcomers in the Netherlands.  She had knowledge of the collections of the Centre for the History of Migrants (Het Centrum voor de Geschiedenis van Migranten). And at Leiden University, she had developed the Spoorzoekers (Track Seekers) Project. This tracker method trains children of migrants to collect and describe photos and documents from their own families, in order to add them to the collective heritage. In this way a selection of these were brought together in an online database, the Historisch Beeldarchief Migranten (Historical Image Archive of Migrants), forming a unique source for Dutch migration history. Annemarie pointed to the power of images for research. At last Steven found also the newly published website about ‘Five centuries of Migration’ hosted by the International Institute of Social History (IISH). The driving power behind both initiatives was Annemarie Cottaar.

Back to Berlin. In rooms of the Freie Universität, the first ideas of Professor Bob Stradling from Edinburgh were developed in consultation with the international team of developers gathered. We brainstormed which topics to choose and how to approach them. We thought of case studies. Every developer thought aloud: which group of migrants s/he would like and be able to tackle and also what period in the history of his/her country. Annemarie and I worked cordially together in our different roles of expertise. We looked for successful migrants on their way to integration in the new homeland. Annemarie knew of Roma caravan dwellers, Italian terrazzo workers, Chinese restaurant owners, Moroccan and Turkish guest workers. We rather quickly decided to base our case study on her book about 'Sisters from Suriname' (2003).

Dutch Prime Minister Drees' call shortly after World War II was powerful and beautiful: ”Please, nurses of Suriname, come to the Netherlands. We need you and you have an advantage: you already speak the language.” Annemarie had studied how the group of Surinamese young women were received in Dutch society. In live interviews they spoke about how they were treated and felt recognised in the hospitals by educators and patients, how far they integrated in society. Annemarie had followed the lives of several of them in the Netherlands and during the commemoration service for Annemarie on 14 October I realised my seat was on the same row as one of the former nurses.

With the pattern of basic questions Annemarie always managed to find the right sources to get answers to the key issues at hand. At the time Steven noticed that “we were the only couple”, the other members of the Historiana Editing Team operated more separately. He remembered the harmony of our collaboration. We both enjoyed the work a lot. I still remember how we proudly presented in The Hague the PowerPoint “Nurses from Suriname”, which she had made from her archive with the material discussed. And she told how the book was followed by a well-visited exhibition in both the Netherlands and in Paramaribo.

We continued to work on interesting tasks based on sources. Six modules were developed by the team during capacity building and hands-on workshops. In January 2011 the last of these workshops was organised in Istanbul:  the 2nd Historiana Capacity Building Seminar together with a training seminar for Turkish history educators. The last editing meeting took place in London. The project finalised in 2011, produced six historical online case studies on groups of people that were on the move.

In Istanbul, Annemarie and I stayed two days longer. There it happened that Annemarie said to me, on 24th January 2011: “I got so tired of walking, yesterday, l will visit a doctor back home.” It turned out to be a pleura cancer; she would live another ten years. We stayed friends in a less intensive way. Her partner, Wim, sent exactly 50 “progress messages” of Annemarie’s well-being and less-well-being till the end of this summer...

We remember Annemarie as a refreshing friend, a groundbreaking and original thinker; when dealing with major social themes she never lost sight of the human dimension. She strengthened Euroclio's mission and attitude how to deal with the past. What struck me in her character was her strength and self-confidence, her unfrozen way of knowing what she wants, her frankness, her straight opinion. We matched; we kept our friendship alive during her ten years of struggle for live. I miss a dear friend, she stays in my heart.

The EuroClio community will also miss a dear friend and we will not forget her.

Written by Ineke Veldhuis-Meester, EuroClio Ambassador, 6 November 2021

 

 

Dealing with the challenges of history teaching in an online and offline environment

The first Summer School for History Teachers organised by the Bulgarian History Teachers Association!

The first Summer School for History Teachers organized by the Bulgarian HTA took place in the end of July near
Razlog, a town and ski resort in South-Western Bulgaria (26-29 July 2021). The topic was “How to
make and use resources for history teaching in and online and offline environment”.

23 history educators from all across the country gathered together in person for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic to reconnect, network, and discuss:

  • Modern trends in history teaching;
  • The ready-made teaching materials created within the project “Transition Dialogue 2019-2021. Dealing with change in democratic ways”, which promote a participatory approach to dealing with transition in post ‘89 Germany and Eastern Europe, with a clear focus on European Civic Education;
  • what is Historiana (www.historiana.eu) and how it can be used to develop (online) history lessons – including sessions on how to create one’s own online resource using the e-Activity Builder.
Participants to the First Summer School organised by the Bulgarian HTA.

Bridget Martin, a history teacher and member of the Historiana Teaching and Learning Team, joined the Summer school 2021. She hosted the training for Historiana. Teachers became familiar with the historical resources on Historiana, both in English and Bulgarian languages. Bridget presented the e-Activity Builder and guided educators in creating their own teaching materials in Historiana based on the use of images (photographs and posters). Bistra Stoimenova dealt with the highlighting tool of e-Activity Builder for written sources.

In the last day of the Summer school educators presented their e-learning activities on Bulgarian history of the Transition after 1989.

The event gave to participants a common space of dialogue where they could share their ideas, problems and solutions. An additional social and cultural program was a nice touch for participants to be more open and creative in their work.

Bistra Stoimenova discusses with participants their eLearning Activities

History teachers evaluated very highly the organization of the Summer school in their feedback. They expressed how the event was very useful for their professional development, as well as a great opportunity to network with colleagues from the country.

They expressed also a desire to make the Summer School in Bulgarian a regular appointment for local teachers and educators.

 

This article was written by Bistra Stoimenova, Bulgarian HTA

Call for partners for Erasmus+ project

Andreas Holtberget Association, EUROCLIO , ,

Call for Partners in potential EU-wide partnership on Teacher Academies

EuroClio is looking for schools, universities, and teacher training institutes that would be interested in joining forces to create an Erasmus+ Teacher Academy, and we are currently collecting expressions of interest with deadline 27 July.

Erasmus+ Teacher Academies are one of the new sets of activities that the EU will fund under the new Erasmus+ Programme. They have been launched in response to the recent surge in studies that reveal how teachers, and especially subject teachers:

  • Do not feel valued in their role
  • Feel they do not receive enough training (especially related to some key challenges such as teaching to students with special education needs).
  • Would like to receive more international training

Broadly speaking, an Erasmus+ Teacher Academy will consist of a group of training or practice schools, initial teacher training institutes, and continued professional development providers. Together, they are part of a project that focuses on digital education / inclusive education / sustainability and that provides quality training opportunities to teachers.

EuroClio we would like to apply for funding to carry out a project that focuses on inclusive education and that develops a training module on teaching inclusive education for ITTIs and two Continued Professional Development Courses.

We are now looking for partners to join forces in this project.

In particular, we are looking for institutes that are:

  • Based in the EU or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Republic of Turkey;
  • A training or practice school OR an initial teacher training institute OR a provider of continued professional development according to your national legislation;
  • Experienced in inclusive education or willing to learn more about inclusive education;
  • Available in the period 20 August to 03 September for three meetings on the project and to give feedback to the project proposal;
  • Available in the period 01 April 2022 to 31 March 2025 to work together on this project, should we be granted it.

If your institute or association is interested in this opportunity, we would love if you could send us an email expressing your interest by Tuesday 27 July at 17:00 (Amsterdam Time).

Please find the full call for partners here and download the concept note here

 

Annual Conference Keynote Lecture: Dealing with Controversy and Polarisation in the Classroom

Alicia Rijlaarsdam Association, EUROCLIO

Maarten van Alstein, Flemish Peace Institute

Why is it important that we learn to disagree with each other? How can we teach young people to disagree in a democratic and peaceful manner? Maarten van Alstein from the Flemish Peace Institute contextualized and answered these questions during the opening of EuroClio’s 27th Annual Conference. His lecture Dealing with Controversy and Polarisation in the Classroom built on empirical research, democratic theory, and insights from conflict transformation. Based on his research, Maarten van Alstein came to the understanding that schools should be seen as a place where students can explore differences in a constructive manner. Through a wide diversity of methods ranging from dialogue to artistic practice, he made a case for conceptualizing the school as a laboratory for democracy.

Democracy as dialogue

Central to the idea of tackling controversial topics in the classroom is dialogue. As tensions are rising in our society in the form of conflict and polarisation, dialogue is a method which can facilitate deliberation about societal topics and acute questions. Van Alstein illustrated the extremes of democracy with two concepts relating to the digital sphere. The first is the echo chamber, the idea that the digital sphere creates one single voice and erases multiperspectivity. The second concept describes the chaos of tweets in which polarisation and chaos become the norm. As in society, we should take these extremes into account when facilitating dialogue. In the classroom, educators should create space for democratic dialogue ranging between these two extremes.

The meaning of conflict

“Conflict is like oxygen” (Bickmore, 2007 )

The quote illustrates the inevitability of conflict. Both Maarten van Alstein and Kathy Bickmore argued that conflict will always be present in society. The danger lies in the explosion of conflict. The group polarisation theory illustrates how, due to confirmation bias mechanisms, putting a group of likeminded people together will generally lead to polarisation. When people in groups polarize this can be very dangerous, think of hate groups or terrorist cells. However, polarisation and conflict can be used for the better, an example is abolitionism. There are numerous examples of positive change stemming from conflict, the women’s vote or the more recent Black Lives Matter movement. It can be, on the one hand, destructive and dangerous. But, if we are able to manage it well, we can create a force for good. Then if conflict is an ambivalent phenomenon, how do we deal with it?  

Suggestions for pedagogical practices

When dealing with controversy and disagreement in the classroom, recognizing that conflict is inevitable is the first step. When recognizing that conflict is normal, creating dialogue around it becomes easier. How do we translate this concretely to the classroom? At the Keynote Lecture three main suggestions were given.

Tailor your approach in function of what is happening in the classroom

While this may sound like kicking in an open door, the big challenge for educators lies in tailoring the approach to what is happening in the classroom. Finding good techniques for discussing controversy and polarisation requires making a distinction between different scenarios. Each scenario calls for a different approach. First, when the class is in turmoil, a more provocative or extreme discussion may call for depolarizing strategies. Second, controversial issues in the curriculum sometimes steer the educator into a certain direction complicating multi perspectivity. Finally, controversy as pedagogy means looking for multiperspectivity and controversy in the subject matter. This scenario allows for a more open discussion in which artistic pedagogical practices can be used, such as painting.

Defuse harmful forms of polarisation, but keep the space for discussion as open as possible

Creating an open classroom helps students express their opinions freely. When students are comfortable discussing controversial topics their generalized trust increases. Generalized trust means their trust in society and in others. This, in turn, has positive effects on citizenship attitudes as students are able to recognize that conflict is normal in a democratic society. In the classroom educators should be intent on teaching students to disagree. However, it is crucial for students to recognize polarisation. Of course, dialogue has certain limits and the emphasis should be placed on reasonable arguments. Maarten van Alstein advised that the teacher, especially initially, should focus on the language used during discussions. 

A good conversation often starts with a good question

The final suggestion was that a good conversation often starts with a good question. The use of open-ended questions is something educators themselves can train. Safety for all pupils should be guaranteed. It is a good idea to be impartial as a teacher, but not necessarily neutral, reflection is, of course, needed on positionality. Additionally, van Alstein advised not to start discussing the most controversial topics first. Start with a more safe and so called colder topic. When students feel more comfortable discussing, one can move on to hotter topics. Actively facilitate the discussion, it might be polarising otherwise. 

Conclusion

At the opening of EuroClio’s 27th Annual Conference, Maarten van Alstein argued that conflict is inevitable. Teaching students this notion can help facilitate dialogue and prevent polarisation. Van Alstein provided three suggestions for pedagogical practices when dealing with controversy in the classroom. First, tailor your approach in function of what is happening in the classroom. Second, defuse harmful forms of polarisation, but keep the space as open as possible. And finally, a good conversation often starts with a good question. 

Would you like to read more about Maarten Van Alstein’s work on Controversy & Polarisation in the classroom? You can find the full publication here

Statement on the murder of Samuel Paty

Press or other inquiries

Download our statement as a PDF.

For contact with EuroClio Secretariat and Executive Director Steven Stegers, please call Communications Officer Andreas Holtberget +31 6 30911384.

For contact with the Association des Professeurs d’Histoire et de Géographie in France, please contact EuroClio Board Member Ann-Laure Lieval +33 6 86 40 13 05.

For contact with the Network of Concerned Historians, please contact Prof. Antoon de Baets in writing at a.h.m.de.baets@rug.nl


Background

Summary produced by Prof Antoon de Baets of the Network of Concerned Historians:

On 16 October 2020, Samuel Paty ([1973]–2020), a history and geography teacher, was attacked with a knife and beheaded near his school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near Paris. Witnesses heard attacker Abdoulakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin, shout “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Greatest.” Anzorov then posted a picture of the beheaded Paty to a Twitter account, along with insults to President Emmanuel Macron and French “infidels” and “dogs.” He later fired at police with an airgun before being shot dead in Eragny-sur-Oise, being hit nine times in all. On 6 October 2020, Paty had taught a class of Enseignement morale et civique (EMS; moral and civic education) about freedom of expression to the fourth year (13- and 14-year-olds) and shown the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad while talking about Charlie Hebdo (the satirical magazine that had republished the cartoons in 2015 and suffered a deadly attack for it). He had advised Muslim students to look away or leave the room if they thought they might be offended. The class caused an uproar among some Muslim parents with a few posting videos asking for Paty’s resignation and one lodging a formal complaint. Paty had also received a number of unspecified threats in the days following the class. At least fifteen people were detained for interrogation, including four school students (who may have helped identify Paty to Anzorov in exchange for payment), relatives of the attacker, parents of a child at Paty’s school and radical Islamist preacher Abdelhakim Sefrioui (who was accused of having issued a “fatwa” against Paty). President Macron called the beheading an “Islamist terrorist attack.” In the National Assembly, deputies stood up to honor the teacher and condemn the “atrocious terror attack.” On 18 October 2020, rallies with tens of thousands of people were held in Paris and several other cities in support of Paty. In the wake of the murder, police raided the homes of dozens of suspected Islamic radicals and Muslim associations, including the Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF; Collective Against Islamophobia) and BarakaCity. Some of those questioned had reportedly posted messages of support for Anzorov.

Notes:

Jean-Michel Décugis, Jérémie Pham-Lê & Ronan Folgoas, “Yvelines-Val-d’Oise: un professeur retrouvé décapité, un suspect abattu,” LeParisien (16 October 2020); Elise Vincent & Nicolas Chapuis, “Attentat de Conflans: neuf personnes en garde à vue, dont des parents d’élèves et des proches du meurtrier,” Le Monde (17 October 2020); “Macron Calls Paris Beheading ‘Islamist Terrorist Attack’,” BBC News (17 October 2020); “France Teacher Attack: Suspect ‘Asked Pupils to Point Samuel Paty Out’,” BBC News (17 October 2020); Kim Willsher, “Macron Speaks of ‘Existential’ Fight against Terrorism after Teacher Killed in France,” Guardian (17 October 2020); Kim Willsher, “Teacher decapitated in Paris named as Samuel Paty, 47,” Guardian (17 October 2020); Gert van Langendonck, “‘Er is een Frankrijk voor en een na de onthoofding’,” NRC Handelsblad (18 October 2020); “France Teacher Attack: Police Raid Homes of Suspected Islamic Radicals,” BBC News (19 October 2020); “France Teacher Attack: Four Pupils Held over Beheading,” BBC News (20 October 2020); Lucy Williamson, Samuel Paty: Beheading of Teacher Deepens Divisions over France’s Secular Identity,” BBC News (20 October 2020).

EuroClio’s response to the Consultation on Digital for Cultural Heritage

Lorraine Besnier Association

Workshop during the 2019 Summer School in Osijek.

 

Over the summer, the European Commission launched a public consultation regarding the evaluation, and possibly the revision of the recommendations of 27 October 2011 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation aimed to support the digital transformation of the cultural heritage sector.

Individuals, academics, cultural heritage institutions, network organisations, Member State competent authorities with experience in the sector were encouraged to fill in a questionnaire to help the commission ensure that these recommendations still fit the needs and challenges of the cultural heritage sector in light of the extreme and ongoing changes of the current situation, and of the technological changes.

In addition to the questionnaire, the consultation offered a possibility to add a supporting document to the answers. EuroClio took this opportunity to underline the importance of the Europeana platform as an enabler for cooperation on digital heritage on European and global level.  

EuroClio recommended that the Cultural Sector, supported by the European Commission:

 

  • Recognises and emphasises the value of digitised heritage in education
  • Revives the ambition to give access to all public domain materials on Europeana
  • Promotes the use of licenses that allow educational use
  • Helps users find and use materials more easily
  • Ensures diversity and inclusion in the collections
  • Acknowledges and addresses the need for curation of the Europeana Collections
  • Creates an overview of the content that is already available

 

You can read EuroClio’s position paper on the Consultation on Digital for Cultural Heritage here.

EuroClio’s Position on the Digital Education Action Plan 2020 of the European Commission

Lorraine Besnier Association

Nique Sanders (Webtic) is leading a user testing session with history educators from EuroClio (London, April 2014)

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the related challenges for the sector of Education in general, the European Commission proposed a revision of the Digital Education Action Plan of 2018.  This revision was based on a public consultation to gather the views of citizens, institutions and organisations on their experiences and expectations during the COVID-19 crisis (both to date and during the recovery period), as well as their visions for the future of digital education in Europe. 

This new action plan is meant to support Member States, education and training institutions and citizens in their efforts to adapt to the digital transition and help ensure a fair and inclusive recovery for all.

EuroClio answered the call for expertise and contributed to the online consultation. In addition to filling the questionnaire, EuroClio also wrote a position paper to further its recommendations to the European Commission. In particular, EuroClio supported some of the existing priorities such as; making better use of digital technology for teaching and learning; developing relevant digital competences and skills for the digital transformation and improving education through better data analysis and foresight. 

However, EuroClio raised the issue that those ways forward will not be sufficient to achieve the goals that the European Commission set for the new action plan. As such, EuroClio emphasised a few other important point of actions such as the need for:

 

  • The development or improvement of easy to use tools that educators can use to create, share and adapt their own open education learning resource.  
  • The development of high quality open education.
  • Research to identify and share strategies for the use of effective digital technologies for teaching and learning, especially in the humanities. 

You can read EuroClio’s Position on the Digital Education Action Plan here.

Join EuroClio’s General Assembly 2020

EuroClio Association, EUROCLIO

Hello everyone!

On behalf of the EuroClio Board, we would like to invite you all to join EuroClio's General Assembly (GA)! It is open to all of our members and is meant to democratically discuss how the Association is doing.

As you know, the General Assembly was set to take place in Belgrade, Serbia, embedded in our 27th Annual Conference. Unfortunately, due to health and safety regulations implemented throughout Europe to face the spread of covid-19, we decided to postpone the Annual Conference to the Fall.

We decided, however, to hold the General Assembly when it was originally planned, on 04 April 2020 from 16:00 to 18:00. The General Assembly will be held online.

Why attend the General Assembly?

One of the most important events in the annual calendar of EuroClio is the General Assembly, as it allows our members to discuss the Association's results of the year, the budget for the coming year, and plans for the future.

In addition, this year, the GA will elect a new board member, re-elect two audit committee members, and vote on a new application for full membership. While only the full members can vote on those decisions, every member (individual, associated or full) can attend the GA!

The General Assembly 2020 will take approximately two and a half hours. You can access all the documents regarding the General Assembly here.

How to attend the online GA?

EuroClio will be using the platform zoom.us to host its GA. Zoom is a video conferencing platform that you can access from your computer.

To join the meeting, you will need to register at this link: (https://zoom.us/meeting/register/u5Mtd-mrqDsieVDe-QQ4hzl-ZIH4NuI0ew). On 04 April, you will just need to click on the link in your internet browser, register via google or facebook, and you will join us in the online meeting room. We would invite you to join at 15:45, so that we are ready to start at 16:00.

We hope to see many of you online!!