EUSTORY Network Meeting 2017
During this year’s EUSTORY Annual Network Meeting, representatives from19 national EUSTORY competitions discussed experiences from and strategies for political- historical education in the light of current Europe-wide trends of renationalisation and digitalisation. Their aim is to ensure a stable perspective for historical research competitions through steady participation of students and teachers. Best-practise for didactical and methodological support, effective jury work and the integration of new media formats were presented and exchanged
The venue of the first day invited for a closer look at current debates in Portuguese commemoration culture: »Padrão dos Descobrimentos« is a memorial from the times of the Estado Novo dictatorship portraying the Portuguese colonial legacy. Prof. Irene Flunser Pimentel, historian at the New University of Lisbon, and Prof. Miguel Monteiro de Barros, Director of the Portuguese History Teachers’ Association and host of the Network Meeting, discussed the heritage of the Salazar Regime in Portugal and the implications for the field of historical education. Inside the memorial a special exhibition aims to discuss the relationship between racism and citizenship in over six centuries, from 1497 to the present. The exhibition focuses on the Portuguese case, though it opens windows onto a comparative understanding of racism as prejudice concerning ethnic background combined with discriminatory action. The dealing with authoritarian national pasts as well as the combination of emigration with immigration, exclusion and integration, lack of rights and access to citizenship traditionally plays an important role in the EUSTORY competitions.
For that reason the »Museu do Aljube – Resistência e Liberdade«, an activist museum with the clear purpose to remember and document the struggle against the Salazar Regime was also visited by the group. From 1928 to 1965 the museum was a political prison. It has now seen its purpose reversed, examining in an informed and informative manner the ways in which fascism was resisted and fought against.
At the meeting, a new member was also officially welcomed to the EUSTORY Network. The Irish competition »Breaking the S.E.A.L.«, which is run by the University of Northern Ireland in Galway, was presented to the network’s representatives by Dr. Paul Flynn. Its application to membership was subsequently confirmed. The competition promotes the students’ learning through original sources from archives and has recently concluded its second round.
The Annual Network Meeting also elected a new Steering Committee for the 2017/2018 term. Furthermore, the discussion of future innovations to competition formats, the exchange on recent experiences with competition topics and the work with alumni networks is a pivotal part of shaping EUSTORY’s agenda for the next year. One main event will take place in October, when 100 national prize winners will gather in Berlin for the EUSTORY Next Generation Summit.