Content & Program (04-10 March 2018)
The first two blended mobilities for school learners took place simultaneously at the border French-Spanish region. The partner school “OSZ Lotis” from Berlin brought a group of its students and teachers to Perpignan and the partner association “Culture Hub Croatia” two of its representatives. They were hosted by the two local partner schools from Perpignan – the “Lycée Maillol” and the “Collège Pagnol”. At the same time, the “Liceo Rosmini” school from Grosseto brought its students and professors to Figueres, together with one representative from the “Istituto storico grossetano della Resistenza e dell’età contemporanea (ISGREC). They were hosted by the school from Figueres “Institut Narcis Monturiol”. Both mobilities were not only a learning opportunity, but also a chance to get acquainted with a different culture and understand the similarities and other common features among the students which fostered the intercultural dialogue and contributed to better understanding among them. Many social activities were organized for this purpose in each of the hosting schools. The fact that the both mobilities took place at the same time enabled joint study visits to memorial sites in the border area which was an added value to the activities. This is also a reason why we are presenting jointly the results of these two mobilities.
Sunday, 4th of March was the arrival day. The group from Grosseto was welcomed in Figueres by the representatives of the Institut Monturiol and the group from Germany and Croatia was welcomed by their host families in Perpignan.
On Monday, 5th of March, the welcome sessions were organized in both partner schools, which was followed by the joint official study visit to the Museo Memorial de l'Exili (MUME) in La Jonquera:
Visit to the MUME and students' presentations
Partner of the project, MUME, welcomed a group of international students and organized a guided visit together with an educational workshop. During these last months of preparation in their home countries, the students worked on memorial sites in their home towns and now they had the opportunity to compare experiences and exchange points of view towards these memorial institutions. They have compared and analysed the space, permanent and temporary exhibitions and the educational offer of MUME. In their host schools, the students worked together in international groups to document their impressions. Afterwards, groups from Berlin and Grosseto had the opportunity to share the work they have done with their teachers on tracing their personal family histories and the memorials they have visited.
Opening of the exhibition in the Institut Monturiol, Figueres
In both hosting schools from Perpignan and Figueres, two opening of students’ exhibitions were organized during the mobilities, in the presence of Roman Kroke - the artist responsible for the creative workshops in the framework of the project. In January and February, this interdisciplinary artist from Berlin, has worked in the “Collège Pagnol” in Perpignan and in the “Institut Narcis Monturiol” in Figueres in order to establish a link for the students between their personal lives and family histories on the one hand and the historical heritage of their region as treated in a local memorial site on the other hand. These exhibitions serve for dissemination purposes to a wider audience and as a bridge of encounter and discussion between the students of the different schools who presented to each other their personal and regional universes through the medium of the arts. In addition, the opening of the exhibitions enabled a large space for discussion and reflexion between students, parents, teachers and other participating partners and visitors.
Read the article from the local press HERE.
On the 6th of March, the students worked in international groups in order to present and share their experience of visiting the MUME as well as the impressions of the space and the content of the Memorial. Later that day they have visited the Dali Museum. The partners also organized a meeting to discuss practical aspects of the project and plan more in detail the upcoming mobilities. In the evening, a social international event was held in the Institut Monturiol where the participants had the opportunity to taste traditional catalan food and meet each other better.
On the 7th of March, the pedagogical activity in Figueres consisted of visiting the refuge (1936-39). Under a guided visit, the students were able to enter the space of the former refuge and experience the life of the people who where hiding there during the bombings. In the afternoon a joint study visit to the Walter Benjamin Memorial in Portbou was organized. In 1936, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Portbou had about 3,000 inhabitants. When the war ended in 1939, a large number of the 350,000 people who went into exile in France passed through or near the town. The end of the War brought great destruction to Portbou, which was shelled and bombed from land, sea and air. The students learned about exiles, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and particulary about the life and death of W. Benjamin. The recovery of its memory began in 1979. As a Jew, fugitive, an exile, a philosopher and a probable suicide, his death demanded silence and discretion: he was buried in the Christian part of the cemetery under a stone without any name. One of the key moments in ensuring his remembrance was the unveiling of the memorial Passages by the Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan in the town cemetery.
Opening of the exhibition at the Collège Pagnol, Perpignan
As it was the case in Figueres, another exhibition was opened on the 8th of March, in the Collège Pagnol. The students from both partner schools from Perpignan presented their work from the last few months. Fourteen classes from the Collège Pagnol and seven classes from the Lycée Maillol, together with a great number of teachers, were involved in this activity which had a significant impact in the schools both on professional and personal levels. Starting with their personal family stories through an interactive approach using new technologies, the link was made with collective memories. Each student had the opportunity to closely work with their family members in order to present a touching story of migration. Furthermore, the results of the creative workshop with the artist Roman Kroke were also exhibited and the students were eager to explain their approach and meaning of their art work to the visitors and their peers. Roman worked with these students in January this year. Their works represent real emotions and personal discoveries in a material, artistic way.
Visit and pedagogical activity in the Memorial of the Camp of Rivesaltes
After a visit to the Camp and the permanent exhibition of the Memorial with professionals from the educational service, the student ambassadors worked in international groups. A two-year cultural programme of the Memorial was presented to them, particularly the main objectives of the project "Dealing with difficult European past through arts and culture (how can arts and culture contribute to a constructive dialogue on the complex history)?” Their task was to contribute to the program of a conference which will take place in the Memorial, related to the role of arts and interpretation in memorial spaces. The students elaborated different proposals adapted to a wide audience. After the visit, an international social evening was organized in the Lycée Maillol for the students, professors and partners of the project.
Visit to the city of Collioure
A joint visit to the city of Collioure near the French-Spanish border was organized on Friday, 9th of March, at the end of the program. The students visited the Royal Castle and learned about its history and function as a disciplinary camp in 1939, presented by David Gonzalez (EUROM). They also discovered an important memorial site of the city – the tomb of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado - Queti Otero talked about his life and work, international significance and the ongoing efforts to preserve its memory made by the Foundation Antonio Machado. This was the last official activity in the framework of these two mobilities. The 10th of March was the departure days for all the participants.