From Monday, November 19th to Wednesday, November 22nd, 2012, the concluding Conference of the TeacMem project was held in Hamburg.
The project involved researchers, teacher-trainers, teachers and students from Denmark, Norway and Germany, focusing on Memory Culture related to World War II in the three participating countries from different perspectives and elaborating concepts and methods for addressing this subject(s) in teacher training and school history teaching,
On this event, the project presented both its proceedings and results to multiplicators and interested public. Invited were teacher trainers and researchers as well as students from all three countries, as well as guests from related fields of research and education, among the latter, Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, director of EUROCLIO (the European history teacher association), Cecilie Felicia Stokholm Banke from The Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS) and Prof. Dr. Kristin Skinstad van der Kooij from Oslo and Akershus University College’s Master’s Program in Multicultural and International Education (Faculty of Education and International Studies), who gave leactures and comments on the project and it’s place in the scope of memory culture and history teaching.
The conference started at Hamburg University’s Library with the presentation of the forthcoming book “Teaching Historical Memories in an Intercultural Perspective” (edited by Helle Bjerg, Andreas Körber, Claudia Lenz and Oliver von Wrochem), which combines articles on the experiences the project’s members made in their three international and interprofessional encounter seminars in Hamburg-Neuengamme (Germany, 2010), Copenhagen (Denmark, 2010) and Oslo (Norway, 2012) with presentations of the concepts and methods for teaching and teacher training developed within the project and materials on selected subjects — such as dealing with perpetrators and the White Buses rescue-operation — which help to address specific questions related to learning memory culture.
The first evening also saw an overview presentation of a video documentary on the project’s three seminars, making available more of the “look and feel” but also the dynamics of discussion processes. The video material will also be the basis of educational video material.
It was followed by a key note address on the contect of the project’s work by Cecilie Stokholm Banke on “memory Culture as a Subject of History Didactics”.
The second day offered participants the opportunity to both get to know the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, but foremost was dedicated to presenting (even testing) and discussing activities and methods developed in the project. Apart from a presentation on the theoretical background based on the concept of competence-oriented history learning and teaching based on the model of “FUER Geschichtsbewusstsein” (Andreas Körber) methods both for encounter and project didactics, e.g. such for actualizing and addressing prior concepts and attitudes (Helle Bjerg and Katrine Vinther Scheibel), for methodically de- and re-constructing memorials and memorial narratives (Claudia Lenz and Anne Talsnes. This aspect was also addressed by the presentation of a teaching programme on the different memorials in the Norwegian village Talavag and Bergen (accompanied by an instructive series of photos of these memorials) presented by Jenny Heggvik and May Britt Wiel Haugland. Other examples of activities was focusing on intra-classroom activities (Harald Syse) as well as on specific thematic aspects (Oliver von Wrochem, Ulrike Jensen).
The third day was dedicated to reflection and evaluation, which was delivered by some students from the three countries who had been integrated to parts of the project and especially two of the invited guests, namely Joke van der Leeuw-Roord and Kristin Skinstad van der Kooij, addressing specifically the aspects of the value of the project’s conceptual background and value from the perspective of history teaching and from intercultural education.
Both commentators acknowledged the project’s contribution to an important field of development of history teaching and promoting international and intercultural understanding with Europe, but also suggested broadening of its conceptual and methodical work to other historical topics within Europe and on a larger scale.