The aim of the project Unveiling personal memories on war and detention is to affirm personal memories of all interested witnesses of political events in Croatia and to preserve them from falling into oblivion. We believe that it is possible to obtain a deeper understanding of seemingly hidden aspects of political turmoil and conflicts, which happened in these areas, through recording and conveying people's personal experience. Our aim is also to initiate and strengthen personal and social processes of dealing with the past, which we see as necessary prerequisites for building sustainable peace and stability in societies.
During 2010, we started recording personal memories on the territory of the entire Croatia and have recorded more than 400 video interviews. Interviewees could choose from one of the options regarding to the level of privacy of the recorded material. A large part of the video materials has been transcribed, translated and made available in the video archives of this web site, while a part of the interviews is available only for research in Documenta.
We have contacted more than 1,000 people, via post, phone or in person during project presentations, and have tried to take into account age, sex, ethnicity, and origin of the interviewees, in order to provide a certain level of representative interviews. We have also tried to include interviewees from different places and areas affected by the war, and particularly those places which have suffered severe damage and destruction or those around which certain political controversies exist.
Although the project Unveiling personal memories on war and detention was imagined as a process of gathering and documenting materials, the fact is that such materials should be made available to as many people as possible and used in the highest possible number of scientific, art, documenting and educational programs. In accordance with that, effort has been made in order to disseminate the gathered materials to various institutions and to present it to the public and interested individuals.
One form of these presentations aimed to raise the awareness on different perspectives and experiences of the war and on the importance of respect for human rights. The knowledge of suffering of their neighbours or the people from other parts of the country, and especially of those who belong to different ethnic communities, should initiate debates among people in local communities and contribute to communication among different social groups. Our aim is to contribute to the creation of a social climate in which consciousness of the other's experience of the war would provoke compassion and solidarity towards all victims. In that sense, the material can be used for different purposes, in the media, as well as in artistic and documentary work (publishing stories and articles on the actors from the interviews in the media, documentary films, exhibitions, etc.).
Other types of activities elated to presentations of the project are oriented towards mobilizing organizations, institutions and individuals to use the materials in:
- educational purposes
- research in the filed of humanities
- research related to psychosocial consequences of wars and political violence
- drafting research programs of comparative studies in the process of dealing with the past
- conducting case studies.