Social history

Ever since 2003, we have been researching the history of everyday life and dealing with its promotion in multiethnic communities. The program “We and the Others” was conceived through the work with young people and their teachers in this area.

Group 484’s publication with the same name (“We and the Others”), is important for the development of the entire program, particularly the program unit engaged in researching local social history. It is conceived as a handbook for researching multi-ethnicity in the local community. It includes theoretical texts, instructions for field work, cases studies and presentation of local history in Subotica, Bela Crkva, Dimitrovgrad, Vranje and Leskovac…

The authors of this program unit are Smiljka Blažin, founder of the educational program of Group 484 and long-time coordinator, Radina Vučetić, Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade and Mladena Prelić, Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnography SASA.

The essence of researching social history is to promote peaceful life in which people of different cultural, religious and ethnic identities live together, share cultural and other goods and influence each other. The selection of topics is made so that the mixture of cultures is made as much visible as possible. One of the projects that is particularly illustrative in this respect was called “Luncheon in Belgrade”. The project participants discovered and documented that the history of Belgrade at every step revealed the mixture of various cultures and influences and that the offer on the table and around it was very luxurious. Using the data, stories, objects they had found, the participants conceived collections, exhibitions, performances, reports, and even short films.

In the process of researching the history of everyday life, young people collect information, interpret sources and materials they have collected, discuss, evaluate the content of the collected material, look for the connections between the past and present, trying to understand historical processes and find their place in them. The topics that repeatedly generate the interest of the youth are childhood and adolescence, position of women, relationship between the sexes, marriage and family, holidays, celebrations and customs, food culture, popular culture and entertainment. In addition, good results are achieved by analysing works of art: films, music, architecture, painting…

Particularly important segment of this program unit is the presentation of researched material in the form of local street actions, exhibitions, publications, television and radio broadcasts, short films. Artistic associates in this part are Ivana Bogićević Leko and Dragan Protić – ŠKART.

Implementation of this program unit would be impossible without cooperation with educational and cultural institutions, above all schools and museums. We are trying to support this cooperation through concrete work (cooperation with high schools and museums), and we also advocate for the strategic and program documents in education and culture to emphasise the necessity of this connection.

We also used these methods during the establishment of the new program unit, dealing with the relation between the community and migrants: we have established cooperation with the Museum of African Art, Belgrade high schools, educational institutions and cultural institutions in towns that temporarily accommodate asylum seekers. We plan to expand the cooperation with other educational and cultural institutions in Serbia.

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