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War in Ukraine: Challenge for Oral History

Workshop on Oral History

The Workshop on Oral history “War in Ukraine: Challenge for oral history” took place on 24th and 27th October 2022 in Berlin. It was focused on diverse experiences of collecting oral history accounts in order to create a Network of the Institutions, who are collecting memories right now and planning to do so in future. The event was organised by Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Ukraine and Pilecki Institute Berlin as a reaction to a new challenge for oral historians after the full-scale war broke out in Ukraine.

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The Workshop on Oral history “War in Ukraine: Challenge for oral history” took place on 24th and 27th October in Berlin. The event was organised by Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Ukraine and Pilecki Institute Berlin as a reaction to a new challenge for oral historians after the full-scale war broke out in Ukraine. Partners of the new Network were invited to join the event: Lviv museum "Territory of Terror", Aspichi Inc., "War stories from Ukraine" and Lemkin Center (Warsaw and Berlin).

The Workshop was focused on diverse experiences of collecting oral history accounts in order to create a Network of the institutions, who are collecting memories right now and planning to do so in future. Participants of the workshop elaborated on the methods of work as well as common storage and format that future generations of historians, journalists, and artists could use.

The work within Workshop was concentrated on three main queries, which were discussed in the work-group as well as with the invited experts. The first topic for the discussion was the idea of the work on the concept of the interviewing, especially: target group, which will use recorded interview, good and bad practices of the interview, questions, which are most important to answer. The second query was work on the trauma-sensitive approach in interviewing: how we can protect respondents from (re)traumatization, how we can reach maximum objectivity, how we can work with emotions. The third topic was dedicated to work on the storage of oral stories. That was done in two blocks: whether we will use collected interviews now or in the future; data retention: methods of transcribing interviews, tags for them and storage for them; access to storage, and copyright.

Before the practical part started each representative of the institutions presented themselves by raising the main idea of their work on oral history.

There were two experts invited, who made their own workshops to build the principles of the work in the frame of a cooperation between the institutions.

Dr. Imke Hansen held the first workshop "Trauma-sensitive approach in the interviewing". Dr. Hansen is an interdisciplinary historian of Eastern European history with a focus on oral history. As a civil society trainer and mentor, she has been supporting traumatised people in the Ukrainian conflict zone since 2016. Since 2021 she has been working as an international peace worker for KURVE Wustrow in eastern Ukraine.

In the second part of the day Dr. Olha Mukha made a keynote speech about the target audience, who can use interviews of oral histories based on the experience of Lviv museum "Territory of Terror".

Next day the workshop was performed by British journalist and author Christina Lamb. She is an author of war reportages on sexual violence against women during armed conflict “Our Bodies, Their Battlefields. What War does to Women?”. She talked about her work as a war reporter, her experience and perspective of victims of gender-based violence during the war. She also raised a question about the rights of victims. Possible paths of prosecution (seeking justice) were also discussed. A particular focus of the conversation was put on the gender-based crimes committed after the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

The last keynote speech was done by the representative of Lemkin Center Warsaw - Kateryna Leotyeva. She presented her experience about storages for interviews of oral histories. After that followed a brainstorming about the possible storages of the Network.

Thus, we have laid down the foundation for the future Network of the institutions, which are collecting oral histories as well as have created the Concept of work within the Network.

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Contact Person

Anna Portnova

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Project Coordinator

anna.portnova@kas.de +380 44 4927443 +380 44 4927443

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