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Dialogues on Memory: Strategies for reconstructing memories in conflict and post-conflict zones
Pilar Riaño-Alcalá
This project is supported by grants from the Swiss Government and UBC Faculty of Arts and is a collaboration between the Historical Memory Commission of Colombia and the Transitional Justice Network of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia.

The Colombian Historical Memory Commission was created in 2005 as part of the National Reconciliation and Reparations Commission.  Its specific mission was to document not ‘the truth’ of the ongoing violence, but rather different perspectives on it - with a focus on victims’ perspectives.  As part of that work the commission held collective memory workshops. Many who participated in these workshops wanted the tools to run similar sessions, and so a toolkit was created that spoke to both the how and the why of this sort of work.  It is available online in Spanish.

That toolkit was very well received in Colombia, and it was suggested that it could also be useful to those doing memory work in other contexts of violence.  So as to make the toolkit more appropriate and relevant in other countries, a dialogue was opened. Thirty-three memory workers in 20 countries (across 4 continents) were asked to read and comment on an initial English translation and adaption of the toolkit.  Twenty of these then attended a workshop held in Vancouver, BC, Canada May 26th and 26th, 2011.  The photos show below are from that fruitful gathering. A huge thanks for these to the fabulous photographer Jesus Abad Colorado, who is a member of the Colombian Historical Memory Commission.  More of his powerful human rights photography can be seen online.

As well as many very particular recommendations for the global version of this toolkit, workshop participants’ discussions coalesced around a few key issues for this work.  These are available online here.  These key points are being incorporated into a further adaptation of the toolkit, which will be circulated to participants one more time for further feedback.  Once the global version of the toolkit is finalized it will be posted on this site.  If you would like to be notified when it is available please let us know here.


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