How Do Young Europeans Experience the Crisis?

Collage based on photo by Tobias on Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/photos/CyX3ZAti5DA)
Collage based on photo by Tobias on Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/photos/CyX3ZAti5DA)

The whole world is experiencing the crisis, but young people’s voices are often ignored. The EUSTORY eCommemoration Campus 2020 "Beyond the Crisis" focused on young Europeans' perceptions of the crisis. For two months, 40 young Europeans from 16 countries addressed questions such as how we as individuals and as a society deal with challenges and whether looking at past crises will help us deal with current ones? The participants used digital spaces as a laboratory for researching history. They approached the topic of “Crisis” in three different cross-border workspaces.

Collage from Instagram posts of the participants
Collage from Instagram posts of the participants

The workspace "Childhood During Crisis - Growing up in Difficult Times" was run in cooperation with the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo. Participants looked at experiences of crisis in childhood and processed and presented these experiences in an impressive virtual exhibition. Hussein (20) for example, shared his story and his four golden rules of survival during the war in Afghanistan and during his flight to Europe with a young Swiss woman from Zurich, slightly younger than Hussein.

Collage from the images of the virtual exhibition
Collage from the images of the virtual exhibition

In the workspace "Hope in Difficult Times - How to Cope with Crises?” participants dealt with the question of how we overcome crises and retain hope. From stories from all over Europe and from different times, they created a digital kaleidoscope of hope made up of One Page websites. Mariami (20) from Georgia, for example, decided to contrast the bare statistics on active soldiers and fallen heroes in her country. She researched the stories of three people from her village whose fates bear testimony to survival, cohesion and reconstruction in everyday life during the war and post-war period.

Title screen of retrospect
Title screen of retrospect

In the workspace "Home During Crisis - Stories of Losing, Leaving and Finding a Home", the participants used social media storytelling to approach the question of the role the home can play in times of crisis: It can be a safe place and retreat or a confining or threatening space. Many stories also revolve around the existential experience of completely losing a home. In addition to presenting stories of flight, displacement and forced migration in the mid-20th century, the results of this workspace also offer insight into the situation of young people in contemporary Europe: Rafa (23) delved into the experiences of his cousin, who – due to high youth unemployment in Spain - had to leave his home in 2012 to start a working career. Rafa contemplated the question of whether the anguish and homesickness could be too high a price to pay for good job prospects.

During the eCommemoration Campus 2020 "Beyond the Crisis", participants developed new, interactive and participatory forms of remembrance culture and took advantage of the many digital opportunities for cross-border cooperation. In addition to virtual group rooms on the EUSTORY History Campus, so-called flipped classrooms, participants met in video conferences, learned digital working methods, deepened their digital skills and received training in modern storytelling. There were also Community Events that focused on intercultural learning in more informal encounters.

For more information on the eCommemoration Campus please click here.


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