Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - MEMOSUR (A Lesson for Europe: Memory, Trauma and Reconciliation in Chile and Argentina)

Project objectives

The project aims at developing an interdisciplinary perspective on the field of transmission and possible reconciliation of conflicted and divided memories, confronting case studies in Europe and in Latin America, with specific reference to Chile and Argentina, the two extra-European partners. MEMOSUR main objective is thus to build a long term international and intercontinental cooperation network and durable and effective synergies between partners of all four countries involved.
In order to achieve the above mentioned objectives, the project will examine and compare complementary expertise within the fields of memory, post-conflict and post-traumatic studies through workshops, conferences, research, training and networking activities, both to strengthen, and to plan, post-graduate degree programmes dedicated to the study of memory and post-conflict situations, and to generate a basis for long-term cooperation, such as the setting up of shared international research projects.

Work performed since the beginning of the project

In the first 18 months, which is half the duration of the project as a whole, we have successfully achieved all planned objectives and technical goals. We have reached all our milestones, and accomplished all our planned deliverables and secondments. The task of a general review of the State of the Art (WP 1) coordinated by the Bologna team was completed at month 12, and the task of elaborating interdisciplinary tools is progressing. As for WP 2 “Trauma and post-memory”, guided by the Nottingham group, we started working on a comparative theoretical, methodological and empirical approach to processes of reconstruction and reconciliation, transferring our advance of knowledge to students, stake holders, diplomats and Government Ministries. With the leading role both of the Córdoba team and Santiago team, we focused on social and media discourses and artistic works and perfomances (WP3 and 4) that, by re-elaborating the memory of dictatorship in Argentina and Chile, have contributed to building an official and ideological public memory, and to investigating significant case-studies where performative practices have been a relevant tool in elaborating traumatic memories.

Main results achieved so far.

In these first 18 months, the main research achievements have been:
• The construction of a shared trans-disciplinary methodology for the investigation of the social, cultural and political memory in post-dictatorship countries
• The selection of original and innovative research topics, such as the processes of public and collective commemoration and the legal discourse surrounding the call for justice and truth that usually follows a period of collective violence and suffering.
• The development of a broader network and of intensive relationships with various stakeholders involved in different cultural, social and political domains;
• The strengthening of the already existing academic network between all the partners.
• The transfer of knowledge, with a constant organisation of activities both within each research team and between all the partners. Various meetings have been held during the months of the secondments. Out of the numerous workshops held by the different members of the projects, and of the ongoing research, there are several publications already available, or in press.

Expected final results and their potential impact and use

The expected final results of the Memosur project are:
• A further consolidation of the academic relationships among the Universities of the four countries engaged in the project; such a cooperation should produce a common curriculum in Memory and Post-Conflict Trauma studies. In this direction, we have already established exchanges of PhD students between the University of Bologna and the University of Cordoba, and we are working on a prototypical syllabus for a course on this topic.
• A reciprocal transfer of knowledge between European and Latin American partners, in particular on the difficult heritage of European wars on the one side, and on the other, the difficult post-dictatorship experiences of both Chile and Argentina. We are envisioning a knowledge transfer not only limited to academic researchers and University environments, but extended to a much broader audience that includes many different actors and organisations in the public arena and civic society. So far this goal has been achieved mainly through numerous meetings and contacts with possible civic society, and political stakeholders, associations and institutions working on memory, commemoration and legal discourse, in order to create a basis for a solid cooperation in terms of communication, publication, public awareness and the organization of public initiatives for the citizenship.
• An increasing amount of high quality research in the domain of memory and trauma, post-conflict societies, human rights, heritage and cultural transmission, with specific attention to memory sites and museums. A specific and peculiar feature of such research is the development of a trans-disciplinary methodology that will result in a specific methodological kit for the study of post-traumatic situations, with contributions from many different approaches, such as: semiotics, cultural studies, history, media and discourse studies, performing arts. We have already published some articles in learned journals and chapters in co-edited volumes on these topics, and we are planning a volume to be published in English by the CCC Press (Nottingham, UK), and to be translated into Spanish and published in Córdoba. All the researchers involved in the MEMOSUR Project will contribute to the book, which will be officially launched during the closing event of the project, which is to take place in June 2017, in Bologna.
Through the various dissemination activities planned by MEMOSUR, we will have many potential social and political outcomes, such as in consulting activities for private and public institutions and NGOs dedicated to human rights issues. The impact of the project will extend to people working with trauma at a social level, and with conservation, transmission and diffusion of traumatic heritage. In particular, we have already established contacts with the curators of the most important memory sites and museums both in Chile and Argentina - The Museo de la Memoria y de los Derechos Humanos in Santiago, Chile, the Parque de la Memoria y the ESMA Memory Site in Buenos Aires, Argentina - which will be involved in the final event, to be held in Bologna, June 2017. This event will take the form of a week-long multifaceted event with different appointments, such as conferences, performances, exhibitions and different kinds of collateral events (round tables, workshops, etc) that will involve the citizens of Bologna .
Extended dissemination of the activities and successes of the MEMOSUR project will be achieved principally through the recently launched website (, to which the members of the four participant institutions will contribute cumulatively as the second phase of the project develops.

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