Fostering civic engagement and raising awareness about cultural heritage for European Students

The objective of this project is to develop training tools that use stories of activists who stood up against fascism in a time of war and through these stories explore what happens when free speech and democratic practices are denied.

The project brings students together to debate on contemporary democratic achievements in Europe and how European solidarity plays a key role in promoting civil society, free media and open debate which are indispensable elements of democracy and peace. The focus of the training will be for university students who are at most risk of engaging with the current propaganda which is being distributed by the right across Europe through social and digital media.

This project will develop a war and remembrance training approach based on a theatre workshop model that aims to promote knowledge on the most significant EU wars and conflicts, highlighting important learnings from cultural heritage remembrance, and fostering debate to highlight the importance of freedom and respect for democratic values. By this, Remembrance instills in young people the necessary life skills and human rights values, that contribute to positive identity development, building resilience against extremist ideologies and ensuring their personal well-being.

Partners will conduct research and produce an online digital book with 15 stories together with the online Platform for Assessment of Cultural Heritage. The 3 stories per country will be about artists and activists who stood up against authoritarianism and tyranny. All stories will have links to the partner’s countries historical war and conflicts, and will highlight the importance of cultural heritage in relation to what it was like to live at that turbulent time in Europe and their impact of despotic politics in Europe. The stories from the participating countries will relate to the activism and bravery of individuals in those countries who resisted oppression. The project will create and distribute a digital book through an online portal available to students in the future.

Partners will conduct the storytelling theatre workshops in 5 EU countries. Building on the 15 stories that have been gathered; all the partners will organize a two hour workshop titled Democracy, Tolerance and Freedom which uses theatre games and exercises to explore the issues of freedom, democracy and crisis management on the stories collected in addition to promoting the remembrance of other inspirational stories from the workshop participants. This will involve students in a participative drama workshop that uses fun activities to promote cultural heritage. In this workshop, stories of struggle and solidarity during times of war and civil war will be remembered. It will help students to relativize our current struggle, assimilate what happens when fascism takes over, learn what can be done to prevent the rise of extremism and totalitarianism and the role of civil society in promoting democracy, peace, and solidarity.

The partners are AHE, Lodz, Poland; Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, Dublin, Ireland; Instalofi Levante Sl, Valencia, Spain; University of Cyprus, Cyprus; and Panepistimio Thessalias, Greece.

The project is funded by Erasmus+.