Preliminary Programme

Wed 18 March
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 19 March
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 20 March
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 21 March
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.00 - 17.00

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Wednesday 18 March 2020 11.00 - 13.00
R-2 ORA13 Oral History and Life Stories in the Museum and in the Archive
Lipsius, 307
Network: Oral History Chair: Malin Thor Tureby
Organizers: - Discussants: -
Ene Kõresaar : Revisiting the Use of Life Stories in the Museum: a Baltic Perspective
Since the turn toward new museology in the 1980 oral history and life stories have become increasingly used in museums worldwide. It is now generally acknowledged that there are numerous advantages in applying biographical methodology in exhibiting the past as
„they give vivacity and colour to an exhibition.
they allow people to ... (Show more)
Since the turn toward new museology in the 1980 oral history and life stories have become increasingly used in museums worldwide. It is now generally acknowledged that there are numerous advantages in applying biographical methodology in exhibiting the past as
„they give vivacity and colour to an exhibition.
they allow people to identify more easily with historical characters or imagine what it was like to live in the past.
they offer a multitude of perspectives and interpretations, thus challenging dominant, often national narratives about past events and demonstrating how complex history can be.“
Baltic museums’ belated turn toward new museology took place after the post-communist transition in the 2000s which coincided with the biographical boom as well as with ‘memory wars’ over the meaning of the 20th century past. As a result of these entangled processes biographical methodology’s potential to enhance empathetic and critical dialogue with the past and eventually facilitate the re-democatizing memory culture in the respective societies was recognized and applied to in the museums. This paper analyses the recent use of oral histories and life stories in exhibiting the difficult 20th century past in Estonian and Latvian museums focusing on
• The core exhibition ‘Encounters of the Estonian National Museum, opened in 2016
• The core exhibition ‘Freedom Has No Limits’ of the Estonian Museum of Occupations and Freedom Vabamu, opened in 2018
• An exhibition project ‘Latvia’s Century’ of more than 60 Latvian museums, opened in 2018 in the Latvian National History Museum.
The analysis focuses on the aims and modes of applying biographical perspectives in these exhibitions in representing the difficult past as well as on the relationships of biographical and material representations. The paper also raises a critical question about the outcomes of what may be called a biographical turn in museology and history education in the museums. A biographical exhibition with its fragmented dialogues, multiple perspectives and voices, hybridity and blurring of messages constitutes a challenge for the visitor as well as for museum educators. Curiously, a dominantly biographical exhibition (as in cases of ENM and Vabamu) that replaces historical time almost entirely with subjective biographical time may also fail in its attempt to ‘demonstrate how complex history can be’ (see Hajek above). Can there be too much oral history and life stories in the museum? (Show less)

Nikita Lomakin : Bringing Oral History to Media. The Case of “Eastern Workers” Archive of International Memorial (Moscow)
The “eastern workers” digital archive tastorona.su consists of approximately 170 published and 100 unpublished interviews of Nazi-Germany forced labourers. Most of the interview were taken in the early 2000-s and published on an open-source platform “Archivist” in 2016-2018.
After publishing the interviews, the most vivid questions concern attracting the interest of ... (Show more)
The “eastern workers” digital archive tastorona.su consists of approximately 170 published and 100 unpublished interviews of Nazi-Germany forced labourers. Most of the interview were taken in the early 2000-s and published on an open-source platform “Archivist” in 2016-2018.
After publishing the interviews, the most vivid questions concern attracting the interest of broader audience and implementing the materials to the educational practices. In 2017 and 2018, Memorial organized summer internships for students and school pupils with the aim to create media products out of the digital archive. Internships showed themselves as a quite successful mean to solve both qestions. The results were: an exhibition shown in 3 city museums and 5 Moscow schools during the last year, a cartoon “Eastern worker” nominated for National animation Award “Ikar” and an audio podcast “Ostarbeiters” with more than 85 000 subscribers.
In the paper I would like to discuss the experience and raise the question of an afterlife of digital oral history archives.


Links:?archive.tastorona.su — digital archive of interviews
fond21.memo.ru — digital archive of photos and documents
ost.glagolev.fm — Audio podcast
https://vimeo.com/300350998 — cartoon “Eastern worker”
https://www.memo.ru/ru-ru/projects/vystavka-postscriptum — information on exhibition (Show less)

Jeoffrey van Woensel, Melanie Dirksen & Marjolein van der Werf : New on the Scene? The Oral History Collection of the Netherlands Veterans Institute and the Use of Interviews with Dutch Veterans for Research on Combat Experience
The Netherlands Veterans’ Institute (Vi) was formed at the initiative of the Ministry of Defence as a partnership between the key partners involved in veterans’ policy. One of the objectives of the Vi is to disseminate knowledge of subjects relevant to veterans and encourage scientific research on those subjects. ... (Show more)
The Netherlands Veterans’ Institute (Vi) was formed at the initiative of the Ministry of Defence as a partnership between the key partners involved in veterans’ policy. One of the objectives of the Vi is to disseminate knowledge of subjects relevant to veterans and encourage scientific research on those subjects. For this the Vi has a Centre for Research and Expertise which unites various scientific disciplines including military history, psychology, political science and cultural anthropology. Its military historians manage the Netherlands Veterans Interview Collection.
The oral history collection of the Vi contains stories of Dutch veterans who have been deployed in conflicts and missions in virtually all continents. Nearly 1,200 personal accounts of more than 1,000 veterans have been recorded on sound-recording media. These personal accounts provide a treasure trove of information. They give an insight into veterans’ perceptions, social relationships and the day-to-day work during a military mission. Personal experiences and the revisiting of those experiences can add an extra dimension to literature and archive material and thus increase knowledge of a war or peacekeeping mission. Moreover, the interviews deal not only with the mission itself, but also the preparation for it, after-care, the transition from serviceman or servicewoman to civilian and the impact military experiences might have on service personnel later in life. At the present time, nearly 700 interviews are publicly accesible and can be listened to via the Vi’s website.
Military historians are increasingly aware of the personal experiences of the soldiers in the field (New Military History). Oral history is one of the most important methods and interviews (life stories) are important sources. Researchers from the Center for Research and Expertise are currently studying combat experience. It is an interdisciplinary study in which military historians, psychologists and anthropologists work together. The interviews with the Dutch veterans are the main source. The first results indicate that the image of the Netherlands as a non-military nation, morally superior to other countries, must be adjusted. (Show less)



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