Enhancing Social Cohesion through Sharing
the Cultural Heritage of Forced Migrations
The project “Enhancing Social Cohesion through Sharing the Cultural Heritage of Forced Migrations – SO-CLOSE” is a project funded by the European Union programme Horizon2020 – research and innovation (agreement No. 870939). It will last for 3 years, from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2022.
The mission of the project is to contribute to social cohesion and to fight the marginalization or exclusion of migrants by facilitating the encounters between similar life stories, through the mediation of innovative digital and artistic tools.
Based on theories of cultural heritage-making, by exposing the commonalities of past and present experiences, by listening to the target groups’ needs and through the development of a methodology template of co-creative design of replicable digital tools and cultural products, SO-CLOSE will improve social cohesion and promote mutual understanding between migrants – especially asylum seekers as well as refugees – and their local communities.
SO-CLOSE offers the right milieu of peaceful and trustworthy mediation in which to develop cultural encounters among all those with histories of forceful displacement. Taking a collaborative and participatory approach, the project will encourage the local communities (including, where possible, survivors from past forced migrations) and the refugees to discuss and to exchange their views.
The resulting data and methodology will be used to develop several digital applications, for which we have strong, experienced technological partners in our consortium. Working at the intersection of history, sociology, cultural studies, art and computer science, SO-CLOSE will design educational and cultural tools like interactive cookbooks, interactive documentaries based on immersive video recording, AI-powered chatbots, interactive exhibitions based on personal memories and storytelling as well as an online platform, named Memory Center, built as a content aggregator and a services platform.
The development of SO-CLOSE will be implemented in four different pilot locations, selected due to their connections with the present and to the actual existence of memory work and intangible cultural heritage:
– Villa Decius Association, Cracow (Polonia)
– Ex-concentration camp of the Trikeri Island, Trikeri Island (Grecia)
– Museo Memorial del Exilio, La Jonquera (Spagna)
– Scuola di Pace di Monte Sole, Marzabotto (Italia)
The planned, interactive platform Memory Center with its embedded repository of multimedia content and advanced services, will be a global instrument transforming old-fashioned museums into Living Labs through designing new cultural experiences, based on the cultural heritage of refugees, to generate social awareness. The Memory Center guarantees the sustainability of the general public’s access to the results of the project beyond its completion.