In Between? is an educational project for students interested in exploring the history of the European borderland regions. This year the participants will meet in Warsaw and subsequently set off on study visits to Alsace, Friuli Venezia Giulia or Cieszyn Silesia, where they will interview members of the local community and produce a series of podcasts.
The programme starts on 6 July with three days of training in Warsaw with lectures in oral history, along with workshops on podcast creation and production. The part dedicated to the theory and practice of oral history research will include meetings with Liana Blicharska, a Ukrainian historian collaborating with the Territory of Terror Museum in Lviv; Maria Buko, a social scientist and oral history specialist; Ewa Maj, Chief Specialist in the Research Department of the ‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre in Wrocław, and Jarek Kociszewski, a journalist, podcaster and the editor-in-chief of the New Eastern Europe magazine. John Beauchamp, a journalist and podcast producer (Free Range), will hold a workshop on podcast creationn and production. On 9 July participants will be split into three groups and travel to one of the German-French, Slovenian-Italian or Czech-Polish borderland regions.
The destination of the first group will be partner cities of Cieszyn and Český Těšín at the foot of the Beskid Mountains on the Polish-Czech border. Before the First World War, Poles, Czechs, Jews and Austrian Germans lived in Cieszyn, the capital of the region. The provisions of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 began the process of regulating the borders of the Polish and Czechoslovak states diplomatically, militarily and politically. As a result, the city was divided by a border running along the River Olza. Here, the participants of the project will look for answers to the questions on how have the the mutual relations between the Czechs and Poles changed in the region since the borders opened up on joining the European Union? What roles do regional and national identities play? Do Prague and Warsaw set the tone or are local cultural and economic ties more important? The group will receive help from members of the Český Těšín’s Polish minority and from local activists from both sides of the border.
The members of the group going to Alsace are guests of the Albert Schweitzer International Youth Centre in Niederbronn-les-Bains, one of the sites run by the German War Graves Commission. Niederbronn-les-Bains is the starting point for tours throughout the region and to Strasbourg, which lies 40 km away. Nowadays, the capital of Alsace and the seat of the European Parliament is considered to be a symbol of a peaceful coexistence and of economic and cultural integration in a united Europe. However, the Alsatian people living here have been victims to the territorial and political claims of France and Germany in the past. Have the local people managed to retain their own identity and language? Have the wounds inflicted by the wars and ideologies of the 19th and 20th century had time to heal?
The third group travels to the Friuli Venezia Giulia to explore the twin cities of Gorizia and Nova Gorica on the Italian-Slovenian border respectively. During the First World War, Gorizia, a city located on the banks of the River Isonzo became the scene of intense fighting, as evidenced nowadays by a large number of cemeteries and memorial sites. Similar to the neighbouring city of Trieste, Gorizia has been shaped by three cultures: German-Austrian, Slovenian and Italian-Venetian. The participants of ‘In Between?’ will follow their mutual relations. The local partner of the project will be Kulturhaus Görz – a cultural centre dedicated to preserving the multilingual heritage of the city.
Each team will gather materials documenting personal experiences of the inhabitants of the multi-ethnic borderlands and create a short artistic podcast, conveying the atmosphere and history of the region with the help of sound. The 2022 edition marks the start of a three-year-long programme by the ENRS dedicated to migrations in Europe. The interviews will become an integral part of an educational package planned for 2025. The podcasts will be shared in the ENRS’s multimedia library and on the streaming platforms Spotify and Simplecast.