The training will provide the participant with methods and skills in collecting private or family histories into a short biography. Working through a semi-open interview will help the work go along and will result in an outcome that can be printed out.
Intergenerational memory-work through writing a short biography can offer emotional support. Sharing and listening problematic memories together can enhance empathy and learning. Understanding of experiences from an evacuee’s trail or other challenges in one’s life history will grow. The memories from the older generation will be passed on as new knowledge and new skills.
Preparation: An offline pre-workshop OR reading independently:
– Well-known memoirs for reading excerpts, as models for captive impressions, for example The Diary of a Young Girl, also known as The Diary of Anne Frank or Fabio Geda’s In the Sea There are Crocodiles
Online template for interviewing and writing down memories, with open questions regarding life history. Annexed as online material:
From 2 to 24 persons (divided in pairs)
Online template for writing a short biography based on interviews and memories
Optional preparation: offline workshop. The method of creative biography writing based on interviews and memories, works well as a workshop to start with. Time permitting, an extra gathering can be added to get in the mood. It can include some rehearsals, such as walking in a landscape, finding old dear objects from the past, dancing dance steps from past decades, singing a song evoking old times and places or cooking a traditional recipe.
1. Choose either the online template for interviewing your father (or grandfather) or the online template for interviewing your mother (or grandmother).
2. During the interview itself, it is possible to open up old silences. The only thing needed is to gather between an elder person who is ready to share their life story and a child, grandchild, a relative or a volunteer who has the time to listen and to write down the story, using a template with questions to start with.
It is crucial for the interviewer to create a kind of safe space of co-working, which enables the interviewee to describe his or her experience without the need to protect him- or herself. Reminiscing is tiring. Depending on the age of the interviewee, a suitable length of a session to fill the online template may vary between 1 and 2,5 hours.
The annexed online template for interviewing can be edited, and the title changed into grandfather/ grandmother, or another name. Print out the edited interview and ask for possible corrections from the interviewee.
In adult education it is also possible to create new partnerships between museums, creative spaces and artistic recreation premises in order to find the safe spaces necessary for reminiscing, for interviewing and for producing creations based on memory-work.
Evaluation can take place either by face-to face contact or telephone or other online contact between the interviewee and interviewer. It can also, be carried out in a workshop, during which texts can be shared between pairs and read, followed by spoken feed-back.
Example of intergenerational reminiscing:
Challenges that might occur:
The suitable meeting spaces for interviewing (in libraries/ culture centres) may be reserved for bigger group activities. The writers/ creators may need more time that the interviewer has available.
Wartime memories may seem too heavy.
Create a group of peers. Start with cultural program. Provide some decoration with objects that can function as identity symbols.