Across the continent from 1939 to 1945, civilians were subjected to several acts of barbarism. These events contributed to the establishment of the promotion of tolerance and peace in the twenty-first century. Significantly, the further into the past the Second World War recedes, the more ‘memory work’ about it there seems to be. Several initiatives and research programmes have already been set up to capture memories of crisis survivors for posterity.
In more recent years, many newcomers have been accepted into European societies, some of them having fled intractable war-torn conditions across the Middle East and North Africa. There has not been an equivalent effort to capture their stories. Their arrival has raised many challenges and very little connection has so far been made between the ‘memory work’ of the Second World War and the memories of those who have more recently escaped war and conflict to find a refuge in Europe.
We believe that bringing these stories into dialogue will contribute to a recognition of shared experiences that can promote a sense of common humanity and citizenship. There is also an additional intergenerational dimension, an intended dialogue (not necessarily face to face but certainly online) between elders and younger generations.
In line with our general concept and objectives, our aims are to:
Create resources and spaces to facilitate multicultural/multigenerational dialogue.
Promote an inclusive model of building and using repositories of intangible heritage.
Provide transnational experiences for artists and other cultural activists that will enhance their appreciation of the possibilities of promoting inclusion and multicultural dialogue in different and diverse settings.
Deepen understanding of migrants’ and refugees’ perspectives regarding engagement with art and cultural heritage, as creators (artists) and consumers (audiences), in European contexts
The impact – or measurable change – that WE-Hope will have is that:
The project will create opportunities for audiences and artists to share experiences, so that their needs may be more fully understood.
This website enable people to tell stories and be heard in their own words, thus valorising their presence and participation in our societies, rather than being ‘spoken for’ or stereotyped by others.
The store of testimonies we will collect and publish on the testimonies platform, and the educational materials we produce, will be lasting resources that fill a gap in the provision of materials for formal and informal learning.
Volunteers will acquire new skills which can support integration.
Artists will make connections with socially-relevant projects and established practitioners, in countries where they may not otherwise have worked, that will enhance their careers.
Artists will acquire new understanding of the variety social contexts of inclusion and exclusion in different European countries and will be encouraged to reflect this understanding in their work, so that they become positive change agents.
We will be reviving an art form that was once vibrant and connected closely to ordinary people – it will be enjoyed once again at grassroots level.