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South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation
Country: South Africa
6 Projects, page 1 of 2
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/P005268/1
    Funder Contribution: 80,626 GBP

    The project will work with groups of young people across the Gauteng province of South Africa to challenge the rising tide of xenophobia to be found in the country today, supporting the work of the international development NGO The Bishop Simeon Trust (BST) and the 20 Community Based Organisations (CBOs) it services in the region. Working in partnership with BST and the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC), the project will use the exhibitions, archive and other resources of JHGC to create a set of digital educational materials that will explore the lessons that can be learnt for South Africa today from the ethnic violence of the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide. The project will draw on the research findings of Cooke's AHRC project 'Experiencing the Digital World: the Cultural Value of Digital Engagement with Heritage' on the ways in which the co-production of digital heritage assets can, when time and resources permit, genuinely connect grassroots communities with heritage institutions, effecting a fundamental shift in the relationship between the two. Over the course of the project, the group will work together to make a range of digital resources, the precise nature of which will be decided via a process of knowledge exchange and co-produduction. It is envisaged that the project will produce short films, video and photographic essays, curate small digital exhibitions, research family histories or produce creative writing, all of which will be presented in such a way as to raise questions, draw comparisons with, and prompt discussion about the rise of contemporary xenophobic violence in South Africa. These resources will then be used as part of an educational programme to be rolled out across, and embedded within, the wider educational activities of all the CBOs. In so doing, the project will give BST the opportunity to further strengthen the CBOs, as well as explore new means of building the confidence and resilience of the children and young people supported. It will provide a safe space for the exploration of the highly sensitive issues around xenophobia and empower young people to consider root causes, consequences and means of resolution within their own communities. This will have the impact of helping to challenge prejudice at community level, leading to greater prioritization of xenophobia by community leaders and help identify long term and sustainable community-led solutions. The project will also give JHGC the opportunity to undertake a sustained period of work with CBOs that have a far more diverse demographic than the visitors they have worked with hitherto. It will develop the digital skill-base of colleagues working at the centre, allowing them to undertake future digital co-production projects, exploring how digital tools can provide new and better ways to deliver its broader mission 'to use the history of the Holocaust and Rwandan genocide to intervene directly in contemporary debates on human rights abuses, xenophobia, racism and bigotry'. The material produced will be incorporated into the centre's online offering and will be freely available to all. A selection of the materials will also be exhibited as a digital installation at the centre itself. Thus, the project responds to the 'Highlight Notice for International Development'. It will 'catalyse knowledge exchange, shared learning and capability development' between cultural organisations and diverse community groups and 'explore ways that arts and humanities research can inform approaches to inclusive participatory decision-making, community engagement, co-production, social innovation and user-led service design in an ODA recipient country', in order to make 'a significant contribution to the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development', specifically, Goal 16 to 'promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies', by 'challenging discrimination' and supporting 'participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/L006766/1
    Funder Contribution: 79,786 GBP

    This programme of knowledge exchange, dissemination, and the production of an exhibition and teaching resources draws on the findings of the AHRC major research project 'From Victims to Perpetrators? Discourses of German Wartime Suffering' (2005-2008). In that project, the complex interaction of narratives of victimhood and perpetration from the end of WWII into the 21st century was established: tropes associated with the Holocaust were found to have been instrumentalised within German accounts of what they had endured as the victims of Allied bombing, mass rapes, and expulsion, even as German complicity in Jewish suffering and Jewish suffering itself were marginalised. We also discovered, however, that more nuanced narratives have emerged since the mid-1990s. These aim for an inclusive juxtaposition of the complexities, and ambiguities, of the experiences of individual Germans and Jews while remaining mindful of how such a juxtaposition might appear to relativise German responsibility or Jewish suffering. Such narratives raise productive questions within today's globalisation of Holocaust memory as a model for coming-to-terms with injustices far removed from the concentration camps. Specifically, recent German fiction, film and memorials raise questions relating to 1) the possibility of empathy with 'ordinary' Germans; 2) the balance between recognising the ordinary German's 'absolute' victimhood (e.g. that he or she was bombed) and the need to set this suffering in the context of how Germans benefited from the racial state's exploitation and elimination of others; and (3) how opposing perspectives might be sensitively juxtaposed and so be able to generate inclusivity and dialogue without a blurring of historical accountability. These questions resonate in the post-apartheid South African context. Working with The SA Holocaust and Genocide Foundation (SAHGF), we aim to adapt our research findings to intervene productively in SA's efforts to confront the legacy of apartheid and, specifically, to contribute to the SAHGF's educational outreach with SA schools. The primary outcome will be a travelling exhibition for the SAHGF centres in Cape Town, Jo'burg and Durban documenting Germany's coming-to-terms with its past and prompting visiting school groups (and the public) to rethink their SA context, i.e. how can we square historical justice with reconciliation; how are the experiences of all groups to be narrated without relativisation? Our research on Germany suggests that posing these questions within agreed parameters (i.e. accountability remains vital) can in itself open up a difficult past to democratic debate. We will also stage public events in both SA and the UK. In Cape Town, we will organise workshops at the SAHGF for pupils and the general public to mark the launch of the exhibition and to prompt wider discussion of its contemporary relevance. The UK High Commission in SA and the British Council will also be involved. In the UK, we will work with the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre (Notts) to set the exhibition into a new context; we will launch the UK exhibition, with SAHGF and Beth Shalom staff, at events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2015 and Beth Shalom's 20th anniversary. In addition, we will collaborate with Leeds City Council and a Leeds theatre company on a three-month drama workshop for young people, based on the exhibition. At 3 performances and after-show discussions, we will engage city residents, with SAHGF and Beth Shalom staff, on 'global traumas' and their local significance. Finally, we will work with Beth Shalom to create teaching resources designed to deepen pupils' grasp of traumatic pasts and today's debates on historical accountability, racism and social exclusion. These materials, downloadable from the project website, will benefit pupils across a range of disciplines, in the UK and globally. We will also offer CPD opportunities for a postdoc and staff at our partner institutions.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/L014424/1
    Funder Contribution: 23,953 GBP

    The aim of this project is to provide a critical review of the role of digital engagement and access in shaping cultural experiences in the context of museums, galleries and heritage. Since the late 1990s the potential of the digital world for generating new ways of engaging with the heritage sector, widely defined, has been a key focus of both academic work and cultural practice. Academics and practitioners alike have explored the potential of digital technology for offering new insights into our understanding of the past for an ever wider section of society. This has taken a number of forms, from 3D modelling of archaeological sites to large-scale digitisation projects for the long-term preservation and curation of material heritage. At the same time, colleagues have explored the ways in which the digital world can be used as a tool for increasing and broadening public participation in heritage culture. On the one hand, this has focussed on how the internet can help provide a 'shop window' for museums, galleries and heritage, and translate this into physical visits to sites. On the other, the sector increasingly seeks to use the digital sphere to provide a space for more dynamic, two-way engagement with heritage culture, aimed at providing a complementary experience to the physical visit that can, in turn, enhance the cultural value of heritage through a range of phenomena (e.g. user-generated content, online communities, crowdsourcing projects). The last decade has seen a huge number of digital projects take place on a variety of scales operating in a whole host of heritage cultures around the world. These provide a plethora of case studies for the potential of the digital both to widen access to the world's heritage and provide new ways for individuals and communities to experience and consume heritage, from the Europeana Foundation - an interactive forum which provides access to millions of artefacts from across Europe - to small scale projects such as the 'Ostalgie Kabinett' which helps support community engagement with the historical memory of the former East German State. At the same time, there has been a growing emphasis, both amongst scholarly and grey literature, on how we measure the value of this activity and what we mean by value in this context. As Parry (2010) highlights, this is an area of activity which can easily 'fetishise the future, and neglect the past'. Or it has potential, somewhat counter intuitively perhaps, to help limit access to material culture, locking it away behind a 'protective' digital wall (Cameron and Kenderdine 2010). Our review will examine this tension through the critical lens of 'cultural value', placing discussion of digital engagement within the broader literature on interactivity and participation with heritage per se, the potential for co-production in research and the ramifications this can have on the question of the 'ownership' of heritage, all issues that shape current conceptualisations of the relationship between the physical and the digital sphere. The aim of this CR is threefold. 1) It will give an overview of the ways in which the heritage sector currently engages with the digital world, providing a range of international case studies in order to highlight leading-edge practice globally. 2) These case studies will be embedded within a critical analysis of the scholarly and grey literature, and in particular an investigation of how the literature has sought to understand the issue of 'value' in this context. 3) The findings of the critical review will be evaluated, via a workshop to be held at Leeds, by an international group of heritage professionals in order to explore what they perceive to be the continuing gaps in the literature and potential new directions for museological and heritage practice. This will, in turn, also lead to the production of briefing document for heritage professionals looking to enhance their digital engagement with audiences.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/T008121/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,997,690 GBP

    Several African countries have been marred by decades of war, violence and conflict. Despite concerted peacebuilding efforts they have struggled to find stable, durable pathways to peaceful societies. Peace education can play a critical role in engendering the knowledge, values, skills and attitudes required to prevent and reduce conflict but so far it has had limited effects. Part of the problem lies in the pedagogies and curricula that underpin peace education which, much like the wider peacebuilding project, are grounded in Eurocentric and liberal values, principles and methods. There have also been increasingly insistent, even violent, demands to decolonise the wider African curriculum but this has largely remained at the level of critique. New materials generated within local communities and representative of their knowledges and values, including of peace, are yet to be embedded in teaching materials to support those most affected by conflict. This project will address that gap. It addresses the question: What are the different knowledges and values underpinning peace and how can these practices be connected and compared across countries to create curriculum content and mode of delivery in informal and formal, Secondary and Higher Education (HE), in order to decolonise peace education? The project will, for the first time, provide new data based on Arts and Humanities methodologies on how peace is understood within displaced and marginalised communities. Researchers, community workers and communities in conflict will connect to produce a state of the art of existing knowledge. These methods are often dialogic and can reveal long-held community perspectives in unique ways. This data will then be collated, compared and evaluated so as to draw out lessons of existing peace practices and their underlying knowledges and values. Teaching materials will be developed and delivered through 14 weeks of teaching to young people who have had interrupted study due to conflict and are aged 16-35. The peace materials will be embedded in locally desired teaching materials ensuring that the teaching is meaningful. It will be evaluated by the teachers and students. These activities will be done in 4 Proof of Concept projects in Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe as part of Strand 1. In Strand 2 further projects will be undertaken to enhance and expand these initial findings. The values and knowledges of peace will be compared to identify similarities in how they can be approached and understood. They will be synthesised and evaluated as part of Strand 3. A peace education framework will be coproduced collaboratively at a network meeting. Three Open Educational Resources will be hosted in order to provide a freely available that can influence peace education teaching for years to come. The framework will also be embedded in HEI's teacher training with an initial reach of a minimum of 12,000 trainees per year in Strand 1 and a further 8,000 thereafter. Training will also be offered to community-based organisations providing informal learning to ensure that we offer the benefits of the project to those who are vulnerable but hard to reach. The project also seeks to embed these learnings in education policy (as in Zimbabwe) where it will ensure long-term legacy of the key findings. Throughout the project we will adopt a gender-sensitive lens - concepts, methodology and beneficiaries - as women and men are differentially affected by conflict. The project will deliver at least 9 journal articles, 4 co-edited special issues of journals and an interdisciplinary edited book. In addition, the outputs from the arts and humanities methods will be showcased through exhibitions, performances and workshops. The project will also create a visible network of researchers, policy-makers and community organisations that work together to offer new meaningful knowledges, pedagogies and teaching materials for a decolonised peace education

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/R005354/1
    Funder Contribution: 3,013,740 GBP

    The legacy of internal conflict, violence, even genocide poses one of the most intractable obstacles to development in post-conflict states. The on-going lack of resolution of the past is often a very significant factor in the marked fragility of any development gains in such countries. Our project investigates the efficacy of civil society organisations (CSOs, including museums, heritage organizations, community participatory arts and activist groups) in promoting social reconciliation and respect for equality and human rights in the aftermath of conflict in 5 countries from across the DAC list of ODA recipients and from the OECD list of 'fragile states': Colombia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Kosovo and South Africa. Over the last 40 years, these countries have had to confront the material consequences of their violent pasts. Each has a very different relationship to this past, from Colombia, where the processes of reconciliation are only just beginning, to Cambodia where the violence of the Khmer Rouge has passed into history and yet its memory continues to shape contemporary society. The international development community and donor states have invested heavily in the work of CSOs supporting reconciliation initiatives, particularly focussed on children and young people - a disproportionately large part of the population due to the effects of past violence on their parents' generation. This demographic imbalance is often exacerbated by the long-term impact of a wide range of social issues (e.g. HIV/AIDs in South Africa, on-going visa restrictions in Kosovo). CSOs are invariably considered 'an essential component of peace-building work' (Zelizer 2003). For example, the role of community theatre in Rwanda is often cited in efforts to support transitional justice, similarly the growth of inter-ethnic musical groups in post-war Kosovo. Such initiatives can have immediate, therapeutic impact for participants. They are also often considered to play an important role in the building of stable institutions, and stronger societies, raising awareness of human rights in the face of weak state structures. However, given the lack of resources generally available in CSOs and the focus of colleagues in international development on the frontline delivery of services to the communities they support, there is only a weak research evidence base for the efficacy of these interventions. Building on our previous GCRF projects, we will deliver the first large-scale comparative study of CSO practice across a range of post-conflict societies, confronting the challenge of building strong institutions for the delivery of social justice for young people. We will begin by undertaking a critical review of current work by CSOs across these countries, in order to highlight innovative practice, as well as areas that require further investigation. This will lead to 5 'proof of concept' pilot projects, based on lessons learnt from this review. Our initial R&D phase will then lead to the commissioning of 2 rounds of projects, one aimed at ECRs, one at colleagues at all career stages. Adopting quantitative and qualitative, co-production and action-research methodologies, we will work in partnership with researchers at HEIs and IROs across these 5 countries, locally-based CSOs, the British Council (BC) and its in-country network of partners, as well as other international development organisations (including UNICEF, UNESCO, Hope and Homes for Children, Plan International, Salzburg Global Seminar, PAX). We will develop new methods, case studies and practical toolkits, for engaging children and young people with the many ways that violent national pasts continue to impact on their communities and countries. In the process we seek to make a significant intervention both on the ground and at policy level across and beyond our 5 case-study countries.

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