In societies affected by conflict learning from the past means changing the present so to prevent new outbursts of violence and build sustainable peace. For these collective memory is neither homogeneous, nor the prerogative of state institutions, but often also mirrors societal inequalities. State institutions and the elite who have lead transition to peace may enforce amnesia or dictate who is allowed to speak. The heritage of the conflict itself often remains an unresolved element of tension that fuels new outbursts of violence or feeds protracted instability.
The project explores informal and personal archives in two contexts – Lebanon’s Civil War (1975-1990) and Syria’s ongoing conflict (2011 - ) – where formal institutions either prevent engagement with conflict-produced heritage or seek to monopolize it. The project uses an interdisciplinary toolkit that includes history, political analysis and participatory arts methods, to look at how bottom-up practices are used to deal with heritage as a way to heal trauma, demand justice and build sustainable peace.