“We” is Defined by Where We’re Heading, not Where We Have Been

Jonathan Even-Zohar Association

The original article was written by EUROCLIO Ambassador Jonathan Even-Zohar on his website.

Talking Future of Madurodam – The small city of the smile

In 1952 a park was built in The Netherlands which aimed to reinforce a Dutch collective identity and a sense of positivity toward the future. Named after war hero George Maduro, a miniature park called Madurodam was created.
Today the place has a great calling for tourists for having many famous Dutch landmarks collected in one place. The park is visibly built with much care and attention for detail, drawing also a crowd of enthusiasts. But the largest group to visit the park is parents with young children, fitting perfectly to the foundational mission to help kids smile and have fun.

I remember very well the first time my grandfather took me there. I must have been 10 years old and very excited to ask him for some coin to put in the machines which would make the part come alive. Nothing spectacular according to current standards, but making the miniature world come alive for half a minute was actually quite thrilling back then, and probably still is to most kids. Nothing wrong with this.

But in the last few years the park has been re-invigorated, with new attractions being built. Just like with the existing features Madurodam, visitors can expect an interaction. And while the scale has increased and the visitor participation is more rooted in immersive experience, the thing which is really interesting is the coming of the historical narrative and framing to the park.

There are several reasons why this is so interesting:

  1. Building national historical narratives through public institutions, or via public funding is usually a governmental affair. Madurodam is a private foundation and receive no government funding. Its drive to foster collective identity with national historical narratives is rooted in its foundational mission, and is not the result of a public policy.
  2. The delivery of national historical narratives is a serious affair led by cultural and educational institutions. Madurodam, however, seeks first and foremost to entertain, inspire and (positively) energize the visitors. Similar to other popular histories (games, movies), academic validity plays a secondary limited role in the storytelling concepts. History as a feel-good story, in search of future happy endings.
  3. Madurodam is certainly an established name in Dutch households. It even has a real (school going youngster) mayor appointed annually. It financially supports a charity fund aiming for children to be prepared for active citizenship. In the Dutch language, however, it can be used to portray something as small and irrelevant. Being well-known but arguably less significant in the public mind, provides it further independence.

In the coming years, the park will have a large expansion. New attractions and experiences will be built. To reflect on the position of the park toward history, and matters relating to public historical awareness and national narratives, I had the opportunity to speak with Joris van Dijk, Managing Director of Madurodam, and avid reader of history books!

Retelling Dutch History

Go to Madurodam and you will find Dutch history retold. In addition to the many interactive features of the miniature part (such as running dams, sluices, trains, cars, etc), there are now larger attractions that seek to want the visitor to be inspired by episodes in Dutch history.

You can be in the room where 16th century citizens decide to declare themselves independent from the Spanish Empire and sense a feeling of Braveheart-esque yearning for freedom. You can board a 17th century ship sailing to New Amsterdam (before it became New York) and listen to Governor Stuyvesant’s motivational speech. You can help run the 19th century steam-powered pumps to help tame the “waterwolf”, eventually making a large part of land between Amsterdam, Haarlem and Leiden dry and fit for the 20th century building of Schiphol International Airport. And next season, you should be able to board a historical KLM aircraft to take part in a chronological fly-over of the Dutch country, landing in a future sea-based new International Airport.

Responsible History

Is this nation-making, or is it selective ‘slicing’ of history, as Van Dijk put it? Is it possible to take part, even if one is not a public body, in public history without seeking to address wrongs of the past? It would be easy to enter condemnation-mode, and urge Madurodam to turn several pages to include wartime collaboration with the persecution of Jews for example, or the Dutch role in slave trade and enslavement. Addressing issues that have been challenging the post-war and post-colonial Dutch collective identity seem to not fit in a place where that collective identity is grounded in national pride.

It would be too easy however to simply judge Madurodam as a chauvinist place and ignore the context in which Madurodam operates:

  • It attracts tourists and recreational visitors who are not there for learning per se.
  • It seeks to advance a collective sense of optimism.
  • It caters to young kids (mainly until 12 years old)

Moreover, the educational programme developed with ProDemos helps primary school students understand democratic decision making in simulation role play methods. It is in a way telling that there is no history activities offered in the educational packages.

Mr Van Dijk acknowledges that the historical dimension is not the main point of attention in the construction of the story-lines, but has also been very open about the need to work more with historians and generally ensure historical thinking and historical empathy play a role in future attractions.

Putting Inclusive Learning in Leasure?

Admittedly, planning a visit to Madurodam for many parents is all about their children simply having fun. Learning about the country’s landmarks, and to a limited degree its history is facilitated through the distribution of an informative booklet. Mr Van Dijk looks toward new technologies to build a digital environment in which all visitors will be able to engage with the landmarks, Dutch history, and possibly also values related to democratic citizenship.

This drive stems from a very broad view on society and the world today. It is clearly visible in the mission and vision of the Madurodam Children’s Fund which looks to develop children’s empathy, dialogue abilities and empower their participation in society. This means that simply having fun is not enough. It becomes clear that the fund is pursuing this to defend the future of children who live in a society of increasing polarisations and politicising of culture and identity.
The fund does not directly operate necessarily in the park itself, but the transformative values recognised by the park certainly could be instrumental in rethinking the ways in which the park provides historical context and/or motivates the visitors to engage in historical learning.
Going beyond the set pride-generating story-line, which at times might border national myth-making, the park has an opportunity to bring in layers of interpretation and relevance on the individual level.

Our Past and My/Your Future

Mr Van Dijk is motivated in this respect by the European slogan “Unity in Diversity”, or as the American Dollars say “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many one). He would strive for the park to attract visitors who seek to know who we (referring to the Dutch) are, but leaving the park with a sense of who they (referring to the individual) are, and where they would like to go to.
Positioning this ambition in what he sees as “thirst for targeted meaning” amongst visitors, the idea of taking national historical narratives merely as canvas for individual sense-making is very interesting. It fits with the ways in which museums for example seek to deliver authentic experiences to visitors. Mr Van Dijk refers to a high-cultural process, which – as far as I understood – means the ongoing collective creation of shared purpose among the nation. Without being very specific about who belongs and who does not, I understand in this regard that Van Dijk indeed means all the citizens of The Netherlands.
In order to contribute to this process, but not confuse the visitor, some form of mass customisation comes into play. History is so full of stories, but which stories get to be told, which get to be problematized, and which get to be sanctified?

On Message

I never expected to have such great conversations in Madurodam. For all I knew, this park of miniatures was an extension of hobbyists seeking to show their superbly crafted iconic landmarks.
Understanding that people seek an escape from reality, that they seek to have fun, how can Madurodam bring in history – argument-, evidence- and fact-based – without letting the visitors on to a national fairy tale of achievement?
Reversely, how to positive stories of courage and change, get told in such a way that young children, and society at large can find solace and inspiration to avoid the cynicism?
It is interesting to compare Madurodam with its contemporary creation – the Efteling, a fantasy-theme-park. Both, in a sense, seek to instil a sense of wonder, spark the imagination. Is the historical learning that Van Dijk aspires to merely an educational residu of a feel-good park, or should more be done to salvage historical learning?

The title of this article is a (approximate) translation of the line “Wij wordt bepaald door waar we gaan, niet waar we waren” from the song “Van de Regen naar de Zon” by Typhoon

Liberating the Big Data of the Past

EUROCLIO Association

 

The original article was written by EUROCLIO Ambassador Jonathan Even-Zohar on his website

It’s 2025 and you are looking at buying a house. Before you do, you access your timemachine, which puts you in a historical geographic information system. Maybe it’s an Assassins Creed-type immersive experience, or maybe it’s more like a Google Streetview. But whichever it is, you are free to encounter time- and location-specific primary source materials. Not only that. You might also be able to look ‘behind the scenes’ at different interpretations and connections between primary sources across various interpretations in society of said primary source…We are talking annotations, enriched stories, thematic pathways and much more. Before you know it, you have browsed through several centuries of change and continuity in and around your possible house.

This is Timemachine. Born from a desire to radically scale up the Venice Time Machine project (documented very well by the Arte Production “History and Big Data”), the partnership now brings together over 200 institutions from all over Europe. It brings together innovators, networks and users in many fields, including archives,artificial intelligence, data science, gaming, heritage, history and visualisation. One of my favorite organisations, Europeana, is a core supporter as well! What do they want to do, and how?

It’s an exciting time for this initiative as in the coming days the European Union will publish it’s selection results. If positive, the initiative will receive major funding in the years to come!

The initiative website already provides much information about the approach, the vision and the partners – but what would such a time-machine mean for the future of history and history education?

I spoke with Dr Thomas Aigner, Steering Committee member of Timemachine and President of Icarus (International Centre for Archival Research), to find out more about this vision and its implications.

Historians Needed

Timemachine is pitched to bring about a new paradigm for the historical sciences. This involves many new disciplines (AI, robotics, data, physics, etc.), but Aigner holds that the historians’ method of investigation, the philosophy and above all the art of interpreting will make historians more important than ever. No longer will historians be seeking for a needle in a haystack. Instead the masses will be playing around,educating themselves with needles and hay alike. Historians need to foray into designing user experience of interpretations. Much of which resides already in historical pedagogy and cultural heritage education already.

While the project expects to achieve technological breakthroughs in, for example, AI-enabled deciphering of historical scripts and smart translation, it will still be the responsibility of historians in society to assess sources, connect dots critically and tell stories. Only difference will be that they will no longer hold a kind of monopoly to the historical record.

This, one might say, is a process already very much in progress. Public historians seek to further understand their position in an increasingly digitized historical record.

Just as in the 19th century, being overwhelmed by the alleged “experience” of past times in some cases undermines the least distance to the historical subject presented. The borders between the individual-temporal levels become blurred and the observers run the risk of perceiving the representations as mirrors of the past without any reflection. This phenomenon can also be recognized with meticulously investigated Virtual Reality offers which, “in historical terms”, are as exact as possible. (Virtual Time Travels? Public History and Virtual Reality;Public History Weekly)

Trust in Data? Google? Europe?

Aigner talks about the imperative to “liberate the Big Data of the past” and make it accessible for all, in passing also referencing the need for Europe to do this “before Google does it”.This seems a very valid concern! Not only has the Google Books project been a warning shot in terms of figuring out “who owns heritage” (check out the 90 minutes documentary Google and the World Brain if you have a chance), but also in terms of how Google approaches knowledge through AI and algorithms. Playing around for example with “Talk to Books” shows that while it can be easy to find out what books say by asking questions, the perception on the validity of that knowledge, in my view, falls behind the accumulated contextual knowledge of historians, who are trained to cross-reference, as well as “read between the lines”.

Also Google Arts & Culture has featured extensive browsing capabilities of heritage markers.

Be that as it may, how does the noble goal of “liberating data” relate to the cluster of problems around fake news, disinformation campaigns, political echo chambers and polarization in public discourse?

Well, that struggle will go on. Aigner agrees that use and abuse of the past is not something to be resolved with technological breakthroughs. And perhaps Technology is actually part of the problem? But, removing the barriers (access, language, relational, etc) to the historical record will enable all stakeholders to better research, narrate and experience the past.  Timemachine essentially is about the creation of the tools necessary to open to a new world of technology-enabled-history, including “to develop new technologies for the scanning, analyzing, accessing, preserving and communicating of cultural heritage at a massive scale”.

…and Education?

Technologies in virtual/augmented/mixed reality, big data and AI are very promising, and Europe’s thirst for recreational, intellectual, political or simply personal historical experiences, will certainly help in pushing the envelope. Even we can see this as a form of democratisation of the past. Fair enough.

In education, however, the process of learning matters. There are pedagogical concerns and the question of the role of technology in learning still looms in the educational field. Timemachine might eventually offer learners experience which create ‘historical sensations’.It might inspire far more original archival research and even source analysis and critical thinking. But if will still need educators to run the show.

It seems a process which is just starting. While education policy makers orient themselves to the need to address democratic values, skills for the 21st century and so on. “Technology may enhance teaching, but requires good pedagogy and skills”, say the authors of Teaching in the fourth Industrial Revolution. I will need to read more and seek to follow these teachers.

Dots on the Horizon

Every citizen will be able to access rich historical data. The big funding from the EU should facilitate the building of a “massive semantic graph of linked data –probably the largest ever built about the past – unfolding in space and time as part of an historical geographical information system”. Still an overly academic project, hence the large EU science funding in the form of FET-Flagship, one can only hope translations to citizens of all ages through public,and general education, get prioritised as well.

Of course, as a historian, I am thrilled to get my hands on this technology. Already working with the Dutch National Library Delpheronline archive of newspapers has been an amazing experience and inspiring to do more research. But the idea of a massive single linked approach certainly is incredible.

Also I can see much enthusiasm in the field of cultural heritage, where so many different public authorities(museums, municipalities, provinces, etc) and private entities (tourist companies, seek to provide tourists and the public at large with immersive experience, in which the past can be experienced and more.

Exciting times ahead for sure.

But then I imagine. We have reached the new reality. Big Data of the past has been liberated. A plethora of new research emerges. The public is unable to ignore historical perspectives and anew layer to daily life is made possible. And then you look at the house your about to buy, and you see that is was an SS-headquarters during the Nazi occupation. Or, more to the point, you figure out that the house you are about to buy features high on crime. You won’t go there. The house price drops, and social cohesion with it…Perhaps you see the garden was the site of witch burnings.

Metaphorically, people have described history as a vast ocean of inspiration, but also as the monsters under the bed.

And it is at that point that some questions are likely to remain:

  • How will the public-at-large navigate the moral waters of history?
  • Are we at risk of algorithms catering for us to view only the history which is recommended to us? Like with Netflix,Amazon, etc.
  • Who will govern the data to the extent that the user behaviour might render some historical sources more valuable than others?

New Foundations for History Education in the 21st Century

EUROCLIO Association

In 2016-2018, the Council of Europe’s History Teaching Unit had been working to find out across Europe what makes for Quality History Education in the 21st century. This was done by having regional seminars where each country in that region would be able to delegate one official representative of that country’s Ministry of Education and a representative from the field, which would be a teacher, teacher trainer, curriculum developer or other. In all seminars, EUROCLIO was able to support with the identification of representatives, in particular those representing History Teachers Association. Many EUROCLIO Ambassadors were involved in these seminars as well.

A small group of Council of Europe experts, and at times involving key stakeholders from the regional seminars, prepared questionnaires before the four regional seminars took off, analysed the results in between, and sought to integrate all findings into a common view – ultimately resulting in the new Guidelines on Quality History Education. Two key challenges were overcome in the creation of these guidelines.

First there was the challenge to find out what messages have been common from all the countries which participated. This was done by having clear themes and subthemes defined from the onset, and with the questionnaire results at hand, themes which were more important for some and less for others could be positioned better in the guidelines. In addition the thematic approach, it was also early on agreed that these guidelines would centre on only a couple contextual issues: curricula, teacher training and assessment.

The second challenge was related the need to not re-invent the wheel. There is much literature and there are many projects in the field of innovating history education. The guidelines are commissioned by the Council of Europe Member States and their ministers, and are aimed mainly at a policy audience. As such, the central aim became to issue a document which would reflect the field’s overall state and translate into clear cut guidelines which illustrate how history education, as a separate subject in school education can contribute to the shaping of inclusive society.

It is now hoped that all involved individuals, but even more so the history teachers associations connected in EUROCLIO, will highlight these inter-governmental guidelines in their conversations with national educational authorities. The challenges we are facing in Europe are similar (digital age, polarisation, sensitive (historical) issues and migration), and the history education sector, including the policy makers themselves, have all contributed to the creation of these guidelines. So it is now for all available to work for the further implementation of them.

The guidelines reflect essential values put down in the EUROCLIO Manifesto. EUROCLIO supported the creation of these guidelines. Now it will work to push them further ahead.

Download the full text here.

This article was written by Jonathan Even-Zohar.

Good peace or bad peace? EUROCLIO provides workshop at War or Peace conference in Berlin

 

“War or Peace: Crossroads of History” is the full name of the festival that was organized in Berlin by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (BPB), and took place from Wednesday 17 October to Sunday 21 October 2018. Approximately 350 young people, aged between 18 and 30 years old, came together in 20 different workshops over the course of three days to learn and exchange ideas about notions of peace and democracy, in light of the centenary of the end of the First World War. In the words of the president of the BPB Thomas Krüger: “Learning about history might not give us answers to all of today’s challenges. But engaging with it can help us to understand each other’s narratives, fears and hopes in order to find common solutions.”

EUROCLIO provided a workshop called “Good peace : bad peace – balancing self-determination and realpolitik” developed by trainers Ute Ackermann Boeros and Bob Stradling.

The morning of the first workshop day was reserved for introductions and briefing. During the introductions, it became clear that the group of nineteen young academics was diverse and very lively. In the warm-up activity that Bob Stradling and Ute Ackermann had prepared, the group was asked to draw borders on an ethnic map of Central-Eastern Europe where they thought there should be borders after the First World War. New confederations were drawn up, keeping in mind several criteria such as language, ethnicity, (a common) history, but also the level of militaristic power for self-defence, and possible claims to the territory were thought about. Then, participants received another map, showing how the borders were actually drawn, and they were asked to compare it to the borders they drew themselves. Interesting perspectives and ideas about self-determination arose – from Namibia and South Africa to Syria, the Balkans, and Turkey from a Kurdish perspective.

After lunch, the participants sat down in their respective groups, and worked on their case-studies. They could choose between the cases of Cyprus, the Middle East, Czechoslovakia, the Kurds, and Poland. In each of these cases, the concept of self-determination comes to the fore in a different manner. Sources were divided and the rooms were quiet, apart from the regular sound of paper being turned, and sighs of concentration. After reading and discussing about the case-studies within their groups, participants reviewed the case-studies in light of four over-arching questions:

  1. To what extend does history show that self-determination solves the problems of the people seeking it?
  2. Under what conditions has self-determination contributed to peace and under what conditions does it appear to contribute to conflict?
  3. Are there solutions that can lead to minorities getting self-determination without conflict arising between the minority and the majority?
  4. What still needs to be done by the UN to make it an effective means of ensuring peace in multi-national, multi-ethnic countries and regions?

The second day of workshops, Friday, started with a plenary wrap up of what the groups discussed. Conclusions on the focus on these first case-studies showed that the concept of self-determination has many dimensions and plays out very differently depending on the context. It can lead to a peaceful separation, but also to decades of struggle, and even violent conflict. Moreover, to identify the actors in the decision on self-determination proved to be insightful and sheds light on the fact that self-determination is not always the only issue at stake.

After the plenary discussion, the participants chose their second case-studies, on which they worked throughout the morning. In the afternoon, no workshops were planned, which allowed participants to take part in one of the many side activities the organisers had planned, and to meet other international participants outside of the selected workshop. The programme included interactive and creative parts, performances, lectures, and discussions.

The morning of the last day was dedicated to finalizing second case-study in order for the participants to be able to compare and contrast with the first case-study they had analysed. Participants realized that some cases proved to be more difficult than others, and terms such as concessions, consistency, and institutional reform were named as concepts that could push in the right direction for reaching agreements.

The Saturday afternoon was reserved for an exhibition of the outcomes of the workshops in the Palais am Festungsgraben, next to the Gorki Theatre. All twenty workshops had a spot throughout the Palais in which they were able to show to other participants what was done in their workshop, and what they had learned. In order to prepare for this, our participants worked on creating a video consisting of different components. Questions such as what does self-determination mean for you, and how to reform institutions to become more effective in dealing with these issues are addressed in this video.

Overall, the workshop proved to be very successful, as participants were engaged with the material and tackled the production of the video together. Their different backgrounds provided an interesting exchange of knowledge and ideas.

Text and photos by Agatha Oostenbrug

Two Decades of Mapping History Under Threat

The Network for Concerned Historians celebrated its twenty-third anniversary on October 13, 2018. With more than two decades of monitoring cases of prosecuted and censored historians around the world, this network has put a neglected issue on the agenda, raising awareness about the multiple threats that history producers are receiving on a daily basis. Here you can find the story of the origins of the NCH, in the voice of its founder, Antoon De Baets, Honorary Board Member of EUROCLIO and holder of the EUROCLIO Chair for History, Ethics, and Human Rights at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.  

Maina wa Kinyatti, a Kenyan writer and historian, joined the history department of Kenyatta University in Nairobi in 1975. His research was mainly focused on the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule, and he wrote several papers and books addressing Kenyan history. In June 1982, five police officers came to search his house, without a warrant, confiscating 23 books, 29 personal files, and Maina’s typewriter. On the basis of this “evidence”, Maina was arrested for allegedly possessing seditious literature. His Marxist approach to history and his critical stance towards the authoritarian regime of then President Daniel Arap Moi brought Maina 6 years of imprisonment, after which he fled to Tanzania to then apply for asylum in the U.S.

Sadly, the story of Maina’s prosecution and imprisonment is not an isolated case. The censorship and prosecution of historians is a global phenomenon: historical research and education are targeted by both state and non-state agents in scores of countries around the world. To a certain extent, it resembles the worrying trend of prosecuting and murdering journalists. Antoon De Baets, a historian at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, first observed this disturbing phenomenon in the early 1980s. “While working at Amnesty International’s former publication office in San José, Costa Rica, from 1980 to 1982 (…), I noticed that in every corner of the globe historians were among those who suffered from political persecution”.

But not only that. De Baets also noticed that most of these cases were probably overlooked by other historians and that this could be the principal reason why many preventive or remedial measures were not contemplated by the victims’ colleagues. With this bleak scenario in my mind, “I began collecting material that caught my eye”, De Baets said. A few years later, the data of these cases gave shape to comparative research into the relationships between history, freedom, and power, thus enabling academic analysis and scholarly inquiry. “I began lecturing on the topic before an audience of history students at the University of Groningen. In 1991, this resulted in the first publication in Dutch, entitled Palimpsest”.

Perhaps unexpectedly, this attempt for raising awareness into a widely overlooked issue resulted in a network that could be called a “Historians without Borders”. In its turn, this led to more systematic attention for persecuted historians in several academic circles. In 1995, the 18th edition of the International Congress of Historical Sciences in Montréal organized a special roundtable on “Power, Liberty, and the Work of the Historian”. “This provided a new and lasting impetus to the idea. At the roundtable, I presented a paper, The Organization of Oblivion: Censorship and Persecution of Historians in Africa, Asia, and Latin America”, De Baets said.

Facts-based advocacy

So, for over a decade, De Baets had gathered information about ongoing cases. Nevertheless, early on he realized that the urgent character of many of these cases required more than data collection: it required an immediate response. “This situation appealed to me, not only as a researcher but also as a member of the community of historians. The ongoing cases clearly called for more than research: they called for action also”. This call for action could not be made from scratch, though. The international human rights organizations, which had already been campaigning from time to time against such abuses seemed like a good ally. “After the Congress, the time for action seemed to have arrived. I attempted to unite colleagues I had met in Montréal who were willing to campaign for their persecuted colleagues in this Network of Concerned Historians (NCH). On Friday 13 October 1995, a website was created. That is how it started”.

From that day until now, the NCH has been monitoring the state of the situation globally, publishing 24 Annual Reports to this date with an assessment of cases in countries worldwide. In its mandate, the NC

H states that it serves as a link between concerned historians and human rights organizations, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Amnesty International, Article 19, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, International PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee, and Scholars at Risk.

In addition, Antoon De Baets has continued conducting research, systematizing databases and looking for worldwide patterns and trends. The results of these efforts will be presented in his next book, Crimes against History, which will be published in January 2019. This material includes, among others, 428 cases of history producers who were killed for political reasons from ancient times until today. One of De Baets’s conclusions about the repression of the historical profession is the following: “The present age is no exception; it even has the worst record. In myriad ways, the outcome of the historian’s work can damage those happening to hold power, and, therefore, critical history with its unwelcome truths is always potentially threatening”. In this regard, history producers are described as fragile, yet their work is not. “With some luck, their views may survive the regimes that killed or censored them”.

Check here the latest NCH Annual Report, and visit the NCH website at http://www.concernedhistorians.org

EUROCLIO Community Welcomes Nine New Member Organisations

EUROCLIO is happy to announce that nine new members were accepted into the EUROCLIO family at the General Assembly in Marseille.

Six new organisations have become Associate Members: Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI), the Gernika Peace Museum Foundation from Basque Country, Spain, the Cambridge International School of Tunis, the St. Petersburg Academy of In-Service Pedagogical Education, the Centre for Education and Innovations from Slovakia, and the history department of Hamburg University. According to the EUROCLIO governance structure, Associate Members play a role in network consultations to help set priorities for project fundraising and for the development of educational materials, but do not vote in General Assemblies.

Three new organisations were accepted as Full Members: the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, the Swedish History Teachers’ Association, and the Association for History Education in Greece. In addition, one organisation which had previously held membership as an Associate Member has now been accepted as a Full Member: Education for the 21st Century from Serbia. Full Members have the same participatory rights and responsibilities as Associate Members, and are allowed to vote during the General Assembly.

We at EUROCLIO would like to re-welcome Education for the 21st Century, whose partnership we look forward to continuing, and extend our warmest welcome to the newest members of the EUROCLIO community!

First Impressions on a Successful and Intense Annual Conference

EUROCLIO Association

 

From the 21st to the 26th of April 2018, Marseille was the setting for a rather unique experience: the 25th EUROCLIO Annual Conference “Mediterranean Dialogues: Teaching History Beyond our Horizons”. Approximately 200 people, including history and citizenship teachers, educators, members of civil society organizations and policy makers from more than 40 countries, gathered in a series of locations across the city of Marseille and the Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur to discuss teaching history of and on all the sides of the Mediterranean.

Guided by the themes of “A common heritage”, “War and peace in the Euro-Mediterranean region”, and “People on the move?”, the participants of the conference took part in six intense days of roundtables, workshops, discussions and cultural visits, sharing and deepening their knowledge of sensitive issues such as the Armenian Genocide, the Landing in Provence, the Migration Crisis, and the teaching of the history of Islam on the one hand, and of European history on the other.

“Marseille was a wonderful site for the theme (…), and the opportunity to exchange ideas and gain insights from EUROCLIO’s diverse membership was stimulating.”

– Attendee at Marseille

“An extraordinary day, characterized by many interesting workshops.”

– Conference Participant

A special role was held by the interactive elements of the programme, which occupied almost entirely the 24th and the 26th of April. The 24th of April witnessed 18 different workshops (five of which were held in French), touching a variety of topics ranging from the role of documentaries in historical narrative, to case studies of political pressures on history curricula, to migration, to the use of Wikipedia’s edit history and of Historiana as a teaching tool.

After the annual meeting of EUROCLIO General Assembly, the 26th of April featured a more informal discussion setting. Five discussion tables were held, touching upon five extremely different topics: intercultural education, the role of Europe, EU education agenda, the role of teachers as researchers, the teaching of Turkish history in Danish classrooms, Industrial Heritage.  Discussion Tables were followed by a compelling World Café session on history, memory, and pluralism, 6 different groups tackled three key questions on history teaching and inclusiveness in society.

In other words, the 25th EUROCLIO Annual Conference touched on a variety of different micro-topics, all connected to the primary issue of Teaching History Beyond our Horizons. But, and this is perhaps the most important feature of the whole event, exchanges between educators did not stop at the end of the formal every-day programme: networking, in fact, continued also during lunch, dinner, cultural visits, and breaks, laying the foundations for new (and strengthening old) partnerships, and consolidating, we are proud to say, our friendships.

“I came back from the conference full of enthusiasm, the head filled with new ideas and new projects. I am impatient to attend the next conference!”

– Conference Attendee

Lóa Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir Ends Term as President of EUROCLIO, Succeeded by Mire Mladenovski

At the General Assembly 2018 in Marseille, France, Lóa Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir formally stepped down as President of the Board. Mrs. Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir was elected to the Board in 2012, and held positions on the membership committee and as Vice-President, before finally becoming President of the Board in 2016. In the past, she has been involved as a contributor to the web application initiative Historiana – Your Tool to the Past on rights and responsibilities.

“EUROCLIO has benefited immeasurably from her knowledge and guidance over the years, and is grateful for all her commitment and dedication,” Steven Stegers, Acting Executive Director, stated in Marseille. “We wish her all the best and look forward to continuing to work with her as an Ambassador of EUROCLIO.”

EUROCLIO is excited to welcome Mire Mladenovski as the new President of the Board. Having been elected as a Board Member in 2013, Mr. Mladenovski served as its Treasurer for four years, and has shown undying support for numerous EUROCLIO projects, most notably serving as an editor for Historiana. In addition to his work with EUROCLIO, he is one of the founders and current President of the ANIM (History Teachers Association of Macedonia), as well as having co-authored and edited supplementary teaching material for secondary school history curricula, such as Understanding a Shared Past, Learning for the Future and Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Country.

The EUROCLIO Board of Members is now composed of Mire Mladenosvki as President, Paolo Ceccoli as Vice-President, Riitta Mikkola as Treasurer, Sinéad Fitzsimons as Secretary, and Frank van den Akker as Board Member. EUROCLIO looks forward to a productive term under their leadership.

Decisions and Dilemmas: “Changing Europe” Materials Translated and Used in Local Member Events

EUROCLIO is excited to announce that educational materials from the Historiana unit “Changing Europe”, developed in  the previous edition of Decisions and Dilemmas, will be translated into several languages and used in workshops. The workshops will take place in the countries of the following EUROCLIO member associations: Bulgarian History Teachers’ Association, Croatian History Teachers’ Association, Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (Cyprus), History Teachers’ Association of the Czech Republic, Portuguese History Teachers’ Association, Federal Association for History and Geography Teachers (Spain), Finnish Association for Teachers of History and Social Studies and the Latvian History Teachers’ Association.

A preparatory meeting for these events took place from 9-11 February in Brussels at the House of European History. During the meeting, additional training was provided to representatives of the member associations, who will be responsible for organizing a training event based on the “Changing Europe” materials. These 1-2 day events will include workshops and provide teacher training on interesting and innovative ways to teach about the European Union. Together with the member associations mentioned above, we are currently in the process of selecting which materials from the unit will be used in these events.

Stay tuned for more news about these upcoming events!