Audio-visual Memory Collection Launched

2010. April 15.

SPECIAL PROGRAM LAUNCHED TO RENEW EDUCATION OF POST-1945 HISTORY EDUCATION PRESS RELEASE OF THE FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH ON EAST AND CENTRAL EUROPEAN HISTORY AND SOCIETY

SPECIAL PROGRAM LAUNCHED TO RENEW EDUCATION OF POST-1945 HISTORY EDUCATION PRESS RELEASE OF THE FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH ON EAST AND CENTRAL EUROPEAN HISTORY AND SOCIETY
April 15th, 2010

The post-1945 period is relatively disregarded in Hungarian secondary education. The public opinion is divided on these issues, and they are also able to stir up emotions, especially among certain disadvantaged social groups. These quarrels could be fixed up with this unique European Union project of HUF 549 million. The contract for the project was concluded on October 29th, 2009 between the Institute for Researching East and Central European History and Society, as the project administrator, and the National Development Agency.

The project aims at preserving the common social memory, developing a wide range of student skills, and introducing oral histories into the public education. In the framework of the program entitled "Collecting Audiovisual Memories", secondary school students from all over the country will make at least 500 oral histories with eyewitnesses of the past decades, thereby contributing to the renewal of teaching the post-1945 period.

Teachers' Training Begins Today

In post-communist societies, the failure to adequately process the recent past, even at a local level, effectively blocks the consolidation of social cohesion thus impeding steady and balanced development. History and citizenship education with their current form and methods in formal education have only limited means and are slow to soften the problem. The "Audio-visual Memory Collection" program aims at improving this situation.

The goal of the "Collecting Audiovisual Memories" program then is to provide new pedagogical and methodological tools for the teaching of 20th century Hungarian history, especially for secondary school pedagogues and history teachers. These methodological guidelines help transform the know-how of creating and processing oral histories to useful everyday pedagogical practices.

During the program, secondary school students take part in afterschool activities under the guidance of their duly trained teachers to find and contact eyewitnesses of recent decades, and to make a historical record of their memories in the form of digitally recorded video interviews. These interviews are then put into a framework and made available in the World Wide Web for teachers and students alike in other educational institutions. Digital multimedia presentations of historical records, either traditional or new kind, are able to grab the attention of the targeted secondary school age-group.

The program results in advancing, broadening, and developing the methodology of teaching history by practical experience and in creating historical archives of interviews. These archives allow those teachers who did not participate in the program to apply the new methodology, and, on the other hand, offer historians and other researchers access to primary sources on the recent past.

Based on the oral history methodology, students involved could directly encounter history as it lives among us, particularly through memories of an era that is covered usually hastily before graduation. Such programs, supporting direct experience with history, are already being successfully run in several countries of the European Union and they play a major role in drawing the attention of the most concerned age-group to the recent past of their surroundings and to the general context of modern political and social history.

Video recording of the press conference and launch event of the "Audio-visual Memory Collection"

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