26th october 2019
On Monday, 26th August 2019, Iris Anne Osen and Thomas Lewe opened the exhibition at the Marek Edelman Dialogue Center «Memory Dialogues». The exhibition was based on three international workshops that took place in Łódź, Poland, from 2016 to 2018. At the event, workshop experiences from media, design, art and history students from Germany, Poland and Norway were shared through personal impressions, concept sketches and interviews.
The Holocaust memory culture has long relied on witness descriptions as a central way of conveying the horrors related to ‘The Final Solution’ by the Nazi regime. When these witnesses’ stories gradually disappear, communicating them includes a transition from lived culture to the culture of experts and mediated communication. This happens at the same time that the impact of legacy media is changing. Young people’s approach to accessing the media is in flux and the political European landscape can be considered challenging.
During the three international workshops, each lasting ten days, students visited the former site of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, Radagast and other relevant localities in Łódź and Poland (including the WW2 Museum in Gdansk or the Polin Museum in Warsaw). The participants set out to develop a subjective processing of this topic, dealing with future orientated communication of the Holocaust. Their aim was to bring historical and political relevance to a contemporary and particularly young audience. Cultural and educational specificity among the students made the workshops a very interesting field of research, and an outstanding area for international educational collaboration.
Students and teachers from the following universities were participating in the three workshops: OWL University of Applied Sciences in Lemgo (Germany), University of Bergen (Norway), Volda University College (Norway), the University of Łódź (Poland), The Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź (Poland) and Freie Universität Berlin (Germany). A total number of 82 students, teachers and organizers have been involved during these three workshops.
The exhibition was planned and initialized by me, while the conceptualization and the design has been a joint project between Iris Anne Osen and me. Iris graduated from Volda University College, she participated in the 2018 workshop and is educated in the field of media and design. In addition to providing insights into workshop processes and experiences through a collection of images, voices, videos and sketches, the exhibition aims at addressing a question central to the workshop project: How can we expand and challenge existing perspectives on the Holocaust narratives?