Within the Balkan Kaleidoscope project, Local Democracy Agency Mostar team members organized several local activities targeting local youth groups of different ethnic and cultural background in the city of Mostar, also known as divided city.
The Call for participants’ applications for the workshop under the title ''Multiperspectivity in history communicating'' for the young people aged 15 to 30 was announced in two occasions from 15th February to 28th February and from 1st March to 7th March on LDA Mostar webpage and LDA Mostar FB page.
2. Workshop methodology
Two similar workshops were organized for the college students (10th March) and high school students (17th March), under the title ''Multiperspectivity in history communicating'' led by trainer, history teacher Darel Kapetanović.
About the methodology applied:
The Council of Europe has started project of changing the way history is taught, because the old way of learning history further deepened conflicts. Multiperspective approach is looking from various perspectives at the same event.
When talking about past events, each (either historic or personal/emotional) event has several perspectives. If for one side something is a "heroic" act, for the other side is a painful past. So there are asymmetries in remembrance in looking at the same event. While there are such asymmetries, there is always a possibility of a new conflict. Multiperspectivity works to counterpoise these asymmetries (emotions), placing viewers in different perspectives (placing them in different roles). In this way the student is drawn from his/her own perspective influenced by a plethora of local contextual factors, including biased and ethno-political public space, prejudices or ethno-centric media. In this way, the trainers wanted to develop empathy with the participants having different perceptions on one side and to encourage critical thinking skills development.
Our guiding methodological approach throughout entire workshop series was based on active participation and listening to the “other”, respect for the other's perceptions and attitudes, whilst in this way the trainers wanted to break away from a traditional “right vs wrong” pattern that usually burdens most of the debates on “what happened in Mostar” during and after the conflicts. This approach allowed space for not merely memorizing the historical facts/events, but developing critical thinking skills and re-examining each of the events from a wider societal narrative, from eyewitnesses’ narratives taking into account a possibility of co-existent perspectives along the process of deeper understanding of the history of the “divided city”. This approach enabled the students to actively engage in learning and understanding the concept, not just in repetition of the learned phrases without questioning them. In addition, for many of the students this approach has been a teaching innovation, considering the existent ex-catedra methodology applied in the formal history classes in their schools.
More specific topics that were being dealt with within the workshop: monuments in my city, refugees, war veterans, cultural heritage
3. Follow-up activities
The workshops were followed by the field study visit (24th March) for all the participants to three different religious communities and their religious buildings. Participants visited orthodox Monastery in Žitomislići, Šišman Ibrahim-paša Mosque in the historic town of Počitelj and the premises of Caritas in Čapljina as well as the catholic church which is the part of the building complex. The goal was to experience different religious communities all destroyed by the war happenings and rebuilt all over again, and whose population once refugees are today back to their homes and trying to rebuild intercultural relationships once again.
The study visit was an eye-opening experience for most of the participants. For some of them it was the first opportunity to encounter different religious communities in such a close way and to learn first-hand about the interculturality and the intercultural dialogue.
4. Feedback analysis
After gaining knowledge about the multiperspective approach in history teaching, and generally, multiperspective approach in everyday life, participants were given an assignment to answer to few particular questions which referred to last war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5. Certificates of attendance
The last activity was the ceremony of certificates awarding (24th April) during which the results of participants’ work were presented. The intention is to use the results for the research purposes, as well as to prepare and deliver the presentation during the international conference in Mostar.