Workshop on Dialogic Memory: Memories of Transition in Germany

On Saturday, 6th May 2023, we had the honour of hosting a workshop at the Humboldt Labor in the Humboldt Forum in cooperation with an international team from the research group “Reconstituting Publics through Remembering Transitions”. Our workshop titled “Memories of the Transition Period” provided a platform for sharing and understanding diverse experiences of the transformative times in Eastern Germany, and was attended by a wide range of participants spanning different age groups, professions, and genders.

The focus of this workshop was in line with the larger theme of the ongoing applied research project, which is aimed at facilitating critical engagement with the transformative times of the 1980-90s on local and transnational scales by focusing on the concept of dialogic remembering.

The workshop was one of a series of dialogue-focused events, which served as a forum aimed at remembering the transition period. The participant group was a rich mix of eyewitnesses and those influenced by the ripple effects of the era, which offered enlightening insights into the historical context and its enduring impact.

One of the core objectives of the research group is to develop dialogic strategies of remembering transitions, promoting critical thinking and transnational connections. In line with this, the six-hour workshop involved mediated group exercises on memory recollection and participatory observaton. These activities encouraged attendees to express their memories and to understand others’ experiences from that period, fostering a mutual learning environment of empathy and respect.

The researchers and facilitators from the group also actively participated as “observing participants”. Their role was not just to listen but to actively involve themselves in the discussions, helping to stimulate dialogues between different socio-cultural experiences.

We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the participants for their willingness to delve into personal memories and the impact of the transition period. Their readiness greatly enriched our understanding and research insights.

This workshop is one of several public events being hosted in collaboration with this research group as part of our Transition Talks series on dialogic memory. We have already hosted successful events in Gdansk and Berlin, and we are now preparing for our upcoming events in Lodz, Poland, and Eisenh├╝ttenstadt, Germany.

As part of our project, we are also exploring the audience’s reactions to various topics like gender, the dichotomy between urban and rural spaces, and experiences of violence, through film screenings and discussions. These screenings serve as a tool to encourage transnational remembrance and to understand how different audiences in different countries respond to these subjects represented in films on the transition period.

The findings from these workshops and public events will contribute towards our ultimate goal: creating practical recommendations for organising dialogic remembrance events, with the aim to foster dialogue about transformation and dialogic memory in various countries.

If you are interested in participating in future workshops or events, we invite you to apply via our website and through our Facebook page advertisements.

Stay tuned for more updates on future events and workshops!