The Voyager programme built upon HTR’s previous project ‘Whatever You Say, Say Something’, and offered opportunities for conversations considering a wide range of issues around dealing with the past. HTR’s trained facilitators worked with groups to identify their needs and interests and tailor workshops around those needs. The workshops were not prescriptive but sought to meet the group where it was in order to consider the divisions of the past and help contribute to shaping a more peaceful future.
International Study Visits
Two international study visits took place during the Voyager project. In 2013 participants travelled to Spain and the Basque Country, and in 2014 a new set of participants travelled through Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Both visits were designed with the aim of stimulating learning and mutual support around identified issues in different locales. Participants were chosen based on their reach to local groups with whom they would share their learning from the visit.
Basque Country/Spain 2013
HTR hosted an international study visit to the Basque Country/Spain in May 2013 in conjunction with the Everyday Objects panel exhibition while it was installed at the Gernika Peace Museum.
The group of 17 participants travelled to the Basque Country in northern Spain from 21-25 May 2013 and was comprised of individuals working in a wide variety of organisations and community groups throughout Northern Ireland and the Border region.
While in the Basque Country the group was hosted by the Gernika Peace Museum and, in particular, two of its staff, Director Iratxe Momoitio Astorkia and Education Officer Idoia Orbe Narbaiza. While in the town of Gernika, the group took part in a workshop, looking at the work of Gernika Peace Museum and Gernika Gogoratuz, who seek to address issues of collective memory, commemoration and transformational education around issues of the past.
The group also travelled to Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz and San Sebastian and met with different organisations including the Forum of Education on Peace and Human Rights, official representatives of the Basque government, the mayor of San Sebastian and visited the Peace House of Aiete.
For more details of the visit as well as reports from participants, download the International Study Visit to the Basque Country newsletter.
Bosnia-Herzegovina & Serbia 2014
HTR hosted a study visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia in March 2014.
The group of ten participants travelled to Bosnia, then Serbia from 15-21 March and was comprised of individuals works and community groups throughout Northern Ireland and the UK.
In Bosnia, the group were hosted by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Sarajevo where they spent time learning about the various periods of the history from the region including the conflict in the 1990s. The group visited various memorial sites and the National Museum of Sarajevo where an exhibition of everyday items from the Siege of Sarajevo (April 1992-February 1996) was on display.
The group travelled from Sarajevo through the hills to Tuzla where they met with the International Centre for Missing Persons. The group visited their offices, laboratories and morgue in order to learn more about their work finding and identifying remains. This was a particularly tough day for the group as a whole.
The next stop for the group was Potocari where they visited the memorial and cemetery remembering the massacre of over 8,000 men and boys from Srebrenica. Here the group met with Hassan who shared his personal experiences of the events of those days.
The group crossed the Drina river and left Bosnia for Serbia where they were hosted by Fund B92 in Belgrade. Nicola Radic Lukati gave the group a tour of the site of the World War II concentration camp followed by a seminar on commemorations. In Belgrade, the group also met with the Centre for Non-Violence and visited the Rex Centre with Fund B91.
For reflections by the participants, check out the International Study Visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina & Serbia newsletter.
Those You Pass on the Street
In March 2010, Healing Through Remembering commissioned Laurence McKeown to write a drama illustrating complex issues presented by the legacy of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland. The drama was produced and directed by Kabosh Theatre Company.
Those You Pass on the Street centres on four characters: Elizabeth, Frank, Pat and Ann. The interactions of these characters highlight the complexities of dealing with the legacy of a conflict that was very personalised and local. It contrasts party political positioning on any agreed way to deal with the legacy of that conflict with the individual needs and human interaction that has already begun at a personal level. Most importantly, it challenges the view that any mechanism for dealing with the past is simply about ‘whose side gets what’ and shows that there is a need not just for inter-community but also intra-community engagement and reconciliation.
Four performances of the drama were staged initially in January 2014, in the Skainos Centre on the Lower Newtownards Road, Cultúrlann on the Falls Road and the MAC in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
Those You Pass on the Street has since been performed in over 45 locations including South Africa, often followed by a facilitated discussion with the audience.
- Joe Blake
- Roger McCallum
- Zora Molyneaux
- Suzi Swain
- Yvonne Naylor
- Laurence McKeown
- Helen McLaughlin
- Martin Snoddon
Conversational Workshops were the cornerstone of the Voyager project, with 138 workshops taking place throughout the duration of the project. These workshops were seen as an opportunity to get groups of individuals sitting down together in both single community and cross-community settings to begin having difficult discussions about the past. The topics covered in these workshops included:
- Should the past be remembered? If so, how?
- An overview of approaches to dealing with the past including the five strands of HTR’s work
- An exploration of the benefits and limitations of approaches
- Debate on the principles and values which may underpin any approach (e.g. ‘do no harm’, trust, respect, justice, inclusiveness, equality)
- Exploration of practical actions to deal with the past in local area or group context
- One-off conversations exploring specific questions or concerns
Evaluation of the project showed that over 95% of participants think they learned something while attending a workshop. Some noted that they learned about the ‘other’ community and the vast majority of participants answered ‘yes’ when asked if they feel the workshops enabled them to relate better to others.
Delivery Partners were contracted to facilitate Voyager conversational workshops and other activities.