Re-Connect / Re-Collect

Crossing the Divides through Memories of Cold War Childhoods

This collaborative, international and interdisciplinary project creates dialogues among people divided by multiple borders – geopolitical, economic, generational and cultural – inherited from and reordered after the Cold War. Bridging academic research and art, the project (re)collects memories of diverse childhood experiences during the Cold War, bringing into public view alternative and multiple personal histories that have the potential to transfigure divisions into connections in new and bold ways.

The project draws on the research traditions of autobiography, autoethnography, and collective biography, as well as artistic representations of childhood memories through drama and traveling exhibitions. It builds an archive of memories that continually recreates itself, inciting experimentation, responding to continuously changing experiences of the communities, and fostering multiple, even panoramic viewpoints about diverse identities, cultures, and histories as experienced during and after the Cold War. The project extends its reach beyond the walls of academia. It engages ordinary people – from both sides of the former Iron Curtain and the new borders and walls. During the process of collaboratively (re)collecting and ‘working through’ memories, participants and the public actively reconcile past and present with the tensions built up over decades, while they (re)connect across divisions and move towards a shared humanity.

Project funded by KONE Foundation, Finland