Strengthening democracy through critical reflection in European countries

Shared and deep concerns about the fragility of democracy in Europe today further led to the development of this ambitious project. The “Changing Democracies” is a unique collaboration between organisations with a common mission. The drive for this project resembles the motivation of the Evens Foundation and EuroClio to work together on the Sharing European Histories project, but building on this previous project, it goes way beyond in its scope and scale.

The present project builds on the work of multiple project partners, but finds its inspiration especially in the project My Story/(Y)Our Story, a European project of the Antwerp Peace Centre. In My Story/(Y)Our Story, stories were collected from 15 people who had migrated to Belgium from Central and Eastern Europe before or soon after the democratic transitions of 1989-1991. These stories were presented to young people (in the form of an educational resource) as well as to a wider audience (in the form of an exhibition) to raise awareness about the recent history of democracy in Europe. Another inspiration is the Rif Tour, organized by the Centre for the History of Migration, where young and old with a Moroccan background explored their migration history. The project collected personal stories and objects of people and brought these back in the form of a travelling exhibition. Unique to this experience was the connection between personal and transnational history.

Children and Young People Protection Policy

Duration of the project

January 2023 - December 2024

  • To support and facilitate a process of constructive reflection and dialogue about democracy and peace across generations, cultures and countries;
  • To increase the historical awareness and knowledge about transitioning to democracy among people who have not witnessed such transitions;
  • To promote multiperspectivity: to develop, pilot and share a variety of practices in different settings across Europe, to provide balance and insight, and promote critical thinking. The untold personal stories, including those of minorities and women, about recent transitions to democracy will be the starting point;
  • To better understand how the process of engaging with histories of dictatorship, totalitarianism, violence and transitions to democracy works in actuality;
  • Build a European memory space where histories and memories of communism, dictatorships, resistance and transitions can be told and explored from a European perspective. The transnational ambitions and project scale where this happens sets us apart from many other oral history collections and initiatives across Europe;
  • Compare the quality of different approaches when using these stories during live events. This implies researching if and how these approaches work, and in what contexts (replicability);
  • Work with artists and utilise new media, using personal histories to trigger people to ask fundamental questions
  • Create a travelling experience that should resonate with people from 10 different countries;
  • Create a documentary with an experienced filmmaker whose films have been shown at various film festivals;
  • Present stories and map their interconnectedness through an interactive website.

What is going on in the project?

The first project partners’ meeting took place in Vilnius on April 27-28.