Community Engagement for Social Inclusion

Toolkit

Collecting Memories

Beneficiary / Participants

Adults of a specific area or target group.

Objective

To facilitate the creation of a collective memory of a determined area (for example a neighbourhood, a small village, etc); To value local memories and places as a way to reinforce social relationships and inspire transformative processes (community development and empowerment).

Description of the method

The method Collecting memories is based on the research and collection of stories of people and places, of links and transformations capable of bringing inhabitants and territory closer together, connecting generations and imagining the future. It is based on the pedagogy of memory identified as an analysis and reinterpretation of people memories, emotions and feelings as a self care process. The collective memory, is composed by individual memories but it is also the expression of the identity of a group/community. By collecting memories of a determined area it is possible to start a participative and transformative process of local development. Through the construction of shared memories a community could review its past, creating a common scenario, necessary for the definition of a common future. It is a participative process in which all the voices and memories are important and contribute to the construction of the collective memory. In this sense it is a methodology that could be applied to a target of disadvantaged adults or adults at risk from disadvantaged urban contexts as depositaries of memories and actors of the local community. The creation of a collective community memory requires both listening and relational skills. It should identify and define the main values, experiences, rituals and habits of those living in the territory. This process develops new ways of narration, starting from places, objects and daily practices that identify a community.

How to

Identification of the participants: ‘memory owners’, local partners (municipality, schools, library, museum, etc) and ‘memory collectors’ (local participants who are willing to not only share their own memories but actively collect those of others). The group of local participants includes people of different ages and different cultural and national heritage, to reflect the diversity of the area. The group identifies a series of topics to be investigated and prepares a way of using the collected material.

Collecting memories: Before beginning to collect memories, participants are trained on how to interview members of the community; how to introduce themselves and the project; how to decide on the relevant questions and actively listen to the answers; and how to record the stories (with a voice recorder or by using a camera). The participants begin to collect the memories of the identified ‘memory owners’.

Return to the community: Once the memories have been collected, the ‘memory collectors’ decide how to share the material collected with the community. This could be done with the publication of the memories as a text/book or by using a more creative way as a theatre performance, a photo exhibition, a web platform, etc.

Time

A minimum of 5 meetings of 2-3 hours each (the final number of meetings depends on the number of memories to be collected).

Resources

Links

http://www.memoro.org

http://lua.it/pubblicazioni/benelli-caterina-diventare-biografi-di-comunita