If you could create a European monument, how would you go about it? You would have to be creative, of course. And you would have to pare down all your visions and ideas to ONE artistic concept – without losing sight of the diversity of the European past and present. Does that sound impossible? No, it doesn’t, says historian Caroline Gritschke.
Caroline Gritschke is fascinated by monuments because they are so complex, she says. People in every European country see monuments almost every day. On the one hand, monuments are frozen components of a commemorative culture, on the other hand they are historical sources and they even have a history themselves that reaches to the present.
Ms Gritschke will be leading a workshop called “Bringing Bricks to Life” during the HistoryCampus in Berlin in May 2014. She will be working with an international group of young people from Belarus, France, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, and the UK.
Julia Seeleva from Russia is one of the fifteen workshop participants. “Until 2014,” she says, “there were only some monuments dedicated to the Great War in Russia: in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Upon learning this, I decided to participate in the workshop “Bringing Bricks to Life”, because I think it can help everyone realise the need to remember and know their past.”
Jelena Milinkovic from Serbia chose the workshop because she likes the concept of it. “It combines analyzing and creativity and I think that I could contribute the most in this type of workshop. When you think about the greatest monuments in the world, you can’t avoid the questions about their history, what they represent and how they make you feel. It is important to acknowledge and remember our past and monuments help us, among other things, do just that. I hope we will rise to the challenge and cooperate together well.”
Caroline Gritschke is confident that participants will inspire each other and distil an idea from what they will have learned in the workshop. Such a distillate will more than likely contain political statements and possibly theses which might make participants vulnerable. At the same time, however, the workshop might lead to a statement for a common European future. And that is a very promising prospect, says Ms Gritschke.