“Playground Village History” aims at activating pupils from two schools in the rural areas of Armenia and Turkey to explore the multi-religious history of their own villages. Under professional guidance of local expert coaches they conduct independent field work about the history of their own villages. In face of closed borders and non-existing diplomatic relations, the project aims at raising awareness for a past where Armenians, Kurds and Turks lived side by side.
Van province, Turkey and Aragatsotn province, Armenia
In spite of cultural and geographical proximity, pupils in Armenia and Turkey continue to be raised with negative stereotypes of one another which are tied to the violent events of 1915. However, little is remembered about the day-to-day cohabitation between Armenians, Turks and Kurds throughout long periods of history. Besides, school education in both countries largely focuses on authoritarian teaching that leaves few room for pupils to engage in a critical and active way with history.
1. Break down the dogma of top-down, national histories by encouraging young pupils from rural areas to independently, self-responsibly engage in the multi-facetted histories of their villages. 2. Question negative stereotypes in favor of a new, more inclusive understanding that embraces the other as other as part of one’s own history. 3. Equip young pupils from the rural areas with the experience, self-confidence and knowledge to actively envisage their past and thus shape their future.
1. Introductory sessions: selection of interested pupils.
2. Early mentoring sessions with young local research experts: finding their most favorite research topics and introduction to basic methods of oral history and interviewing.
3. Embarking on self-responsible and independent research in their home villages under the guidance of both the cooperating teacher and their mentors.
4. Periodical reporting of their results not only to their own classes but also through skype interviews to the participating pupils on the other side of the Armenian-Turkish borders. (Multi-lingual mentors will serve as language intermediaries)
5. Exhibition of their results with the support of local artists.
6. If possible: moving exhibition and mutual visit of both participating pupils' groups.
The target group consists of pupils between 14-18 years in the rural areas of Eastern Turkey and Armenia. Participating pupils from Turkey will be recruited from a boarding school in Van, where most of the pupils come from rural areas and the poorly educated social strata. Participating pupils from Armenia will be recruited from cooperating schools in the Armavir and Aragatsotn province.
Unlike other projects that often tackle urban areas of the region and seek at indirect measures (educating experts which again educate somebody else) this project directly activates young pupils from the geographically disadvantaged strata of their societies to assume their role as active citizens of society and to develop themselves in an exciting oral history project unprecedented in either Turkey or Armenia.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
Kick-off event in Germany (travel, accommodation): 5000€, Personal Cost for Project Coordinator, 2 Mentors and 2 Cooperating High School Teachers: 20,000€, Travel costs during project: 5000€, Exhibition costs: 2000€, Mutual visit of participating pupils (travel, accommodation possibly co-founded by local municipalities): 10,000€
As it is my first attempt to independently apply for funding of a project I am eager to hear advice regarding technical shortcomings of the application and feasability. For those engaged in similiar topics (oral history) I would be curious to hear about experiences you had working not with adults but youngsters and the pedagogic challenge involved in it. Thanks for taking the time to screen the project.