The project “Enhancing Social Cohesion through Sharing the Cultural Heritage of Forced Migrations – SO-CLOSE” will last 3 years. The mission of the project is to contribute to social cohesion and fight refugee marginalization or exclusion by facilitating the encounters between similar life stories, through the mediation of innovative digital and artistic tools. Based on theories of cultural heritage-making, exposing the commonalities of past and present experiences, listening to the target groups’ needs and through the development of a methodology template of co-creative design of replicable digital tools and cultural products, SO-CLOSE will improve social cohesion and promote mutual understanding between refugees and their local communities.
SO-CLOSE offers the right milieu of peaceful and trustworthy mediation in which to develop cultural encounters among all those with histories of forceful displacement. Taking a collaborative and participatory approach, the project will encourage the local communities (including, where possible, survivors from past forced migrations) and the refugees have recently arrived for discussion and exchange of views.
The resulting data and methodology will be used to develop several digital applications, for which purpose we have in our consortium strong technological partners with experience in this field. Working at the intersection of history, sociology, cultural studies, art and computer science, SO-CLOSE will design educational and cultural tool like interactive cookbooks, interactive documentaries based on immersive video recording, AI-powered Chatbots, interactive exhibitions based on personal memories and storytelling or an online platform, named Memory Center, built as a content aggregator and services platform.
SO-CLOSE development will be implemented in four different pilot locations, selected due to their similarities with the present and for the actual existence of memory and intangible cultural heritage:
– VDA, Krakow (Poland)
– Trikeri Island Concentration Camp (Greece)
– MUME de l’Exili (Spain)
– MONTE Marzabotto (Italy)
Planned Memory Center interactive platform with its embedded repository of multimedia content and advances services, will be a global instrument transforming old-fashioned museums in Living Labs through designing new cultural experiences based on the cultural heritage of refugees addressing to generate social awareness. The Memory Center guarantees the sustainability of the general public’s access to the results of the Project beyond its completion.