Erinnerungskulturen – Cultures of Memory (Unofficial translation)
Type of Information
Zentrum für MigrantInnen in Tirol (Center for Migrants in Tyrol)
Christina Hollomey-Gasser (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Erinnerungskulturen (Cultures of Memory) aimed to raise awareness of migration as an integral part of the history of Tyrol, one of the nine Federal States of Austria. By approaching migration and integration via history and life stories of contemporary witnesses, the project allowed the public to gain a deeper understanding of the processes and economic-political framework of migration and integration. The project collected and documented different historical sources in cities and municipalities in Tyrol and engaged in different types of awareness-raising activities related to migration.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
The project focused on labour migration in Tyrol, starting 50 years ago with state-organised recruitment of labour migrants. Since then, migration has become an important factor contributing to changes in the social, cultural and economic life of Tyrol. However, there is a lack of knowledge and awareness of the contribution of migration and migrants to society. Moreover, migration is often framed negatively in public discourse.
By raising awareness of these issues, the project’s goal was to contribute to the acceptance of migration and migrants, reduce discrimination and promote social integration at the local level.
How does it work
The practice collected and documented, through interviews, life stories of contemporary witnesses on migration. The contemporary witnesses were people both with and without migratory backgrounds. For example, those without migratory backgrounds included former teachers, entrepreneurs, neighbours, police officers, etc. The focus of the interviews was on the early phase of labour recruitment in Austria, starting in the 1960s until the 1980s. All interviews and memory workshops were documented (via audio recordings and transcripts).
To reach contemporary witnesses, the project collaborated with municipalities and migrant organisations. Personal contact and communication in multiple languages were necessary for the success of this initiative.
Parallel to these interviews, the project raised awareness by organising public talks (Erzählcafe) in cooperation with municipalities, workshops at schools, city walks on migration history in specific neighbourhoods and public events co-organised with the Federal State of Tyrol and the City of Innsbruck, such as a festival of diversity and a conference on migration and history.
In 2015, the project established the Documentary Archive of Migration Tyrol (Dokumentationsarchiv Migration Tirol), which documents and collects objects, oral history interviews and material from migrant organisations and NGOs for further research on migration history.
Together with the Tyrolean State Museums and other partners, the project organised a trilogy of exhibitions dealing with issues of identity, processes of othering, migration and flight in Tyrol. The aim was to initiate an intercultural opening of the museums and to establish a collection on migration in their depositories for future exhibitions.
Objects, videos of interviews and other materials collected and developed by the project were exhibited at the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum in two different exhibitions during 2016-2017. In 2018, the project organised the Forum Migration, which included over 60 events such as readings, workshops, discussions and films.
The initiative conducted interviews with over 70 contemporary witnesses on the history of migration in Tyrol. The project organised a trilogy of events to spread awareness and increase understanding of migration and migrants in Tyrol:
- In 2016, the exhibition ‘Alles fremd – alles Tirol’ examined the history of cultural exchange between Tyrol and other cultures.
- In 2017, ‘At home here – Stories of migration in the Tyrol’ featured videos of 27 eyewitnesses speaking about their experiences of the history of migration in Tyrol. The exhibition also included 200 objects collected by the project. Nearly 20,000 people visited this exhibition.
- In 2018, the project organised over 60 readings, workshops, discussions and other cultural events as part of Forum Migration.
Evaluation of the project consisted of:
- Regular reports submitted to donors regarding the project outputs and challenges
- Regular meetings with all partners and donors
Collaboration between the project and the Tyrolean State Museums can be highlighted as a success.
Who will benefit?
The target group for the project was the Tyrolean public. Specific target groups were experts and multipliers in the field of education (especially for history), local integration coordinators, teachers, employees of museums and historical archives, as well as members of migrant organisations and NGOs.
The project collaborated with six different municipalities and expected to reach about 20,000 people through each exhibition.
Source of funding and Resources used
The project was co-financed by the State of Tyrol and the City of Innsbruck. In 2014, the project also received co-funding from the European Integration Fund and the Assembly of Austrian Cities, and in 2015, from the Federal Ministry of European and External Affairs.
The project cost was approximately € 95,000 in 2014 and € 58,000 in 2015.