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IT HAPPENED IN OUR BACKYARD

A year-round initiative for collecting and recording personal recollections


Next year will mark 30 years since the first wave of refugees from Bosnia came to Slovenia. The events from that time that drove a large number of people to Ljubljana are generally not well known, and little is also known about how the refugees were welcomed in Ljubljana, how their staying in Ljubljana was organized, how they spent their first years in Slovenia, how they later integrated into society, what they are doing today and how they live.

On the 30th anniversary of the first wave of refugees coming to Slovenia we will – together with the students in the Story Valley project – find individuals that came to Ljubljana as refugees, and record their personal recollections in creative ways.

  1. In October 2021 we will organize a talk at the Secondary School of Multimedia and Graphic Technology with Maida Džinić Poljak and her colleagues who came to Ljubljana in the 1990’s and started a new life here. During the talk, they will explain to the students why they had to leave their homes, how they came to Ljubljana and how they integrated into society.

  2. The teachers will encourage students to find stories and recollections in their own environment as well and the students will then be prompted to record them in various creative ways:

  • In the school year 2021/22 the students will read books on the subject (we have prepared a list of 5 books students will discuss in school), write down the stories (one of the mentor for the creative writing workshop that will be organized in the school will be Goran Vojnović, one of the most established contemporary Slovenian writers) - together with other the other material (photo stories) the students will collate and publish the stories in the school newspaper;

  • The students will watch movies (in cooperation with the Slovenian Cinematheque we will organize movie screenings and talks on the subject);

  • The students will also write scripts, make films and record the experiences and recollections in other creative ways.

The project will run in different stages, and will initially take place at the Secondary School of Multimedia and Graphic Technology in the school year 2021/22. The next step in 2022 will be to invite other secondary schools in Slovenia to take part in the project. Together with the partners the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) and the National Education Institute Slovenia we will prepare pedagogical materials based on the stories - this will encourage teachers in the secondary schools to include the subject in the school curriculum. We will also invite teachers to do similar activities in other schools.

For the purpose of preparing the pedagogical materials and as a source of stories for the students we will record 20 stories of refugees that came to Ljubljana 30 years ago in the City Museum of Ljubljana.

In 2022, we will organize a small festival in Ljubljana with several partner organizations. With it, we want to introduce the subject and the collected stories to a wider audience - with a concert, an exhibition in the City Museum, a short documentary film, a reconstruction of a stage play that the refugee children did in the 1990’s in Ljubljana with a mentor Draga Potočnjak.

The project is managed and delivered under the STORY VALLEY programme.

Organization: Ljubljana UNESCO City of Literature office and the Secondary School of Multimedia and Graphic Technology

Partners: Bosnian and Herzegovian cultural centre, ZRC SAZU, the National Education Institute Slovenia and The City Museum in Ljubljana

International Partners: Friesland College (Netherlands), New Noardic Wave (Netherlands), Learning Hub Friesland Foundation (Netherlands), Edinburgh City Council (Scotland), Edinburgh College (Scotland), Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature (UK), The National Literacy Trust (UK)

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