MOJ DOM. Refugees, migration and erased memories in the aftermath of Yugoslav wars

Moj dom - negative - black logoAim of the project is to foster an international and multidisciplinary debate on recent European history and democratic transition after the Yugoslav wars, in the 90’s, and during the formation of independent successor states. The partnership aims to investigate the consequences of a huge population displacement during and after these wars. In particular, the focus regards how this social, economic and political change has influenced life choices and the ways in which societies have changed or adapted their political beliefs and social organization, also in relation to the issues emerging in the present. The angle of analysis concerns the notion of “home” in the after-war processes of displacement: the theme is the breaking, remaking and remembering home in all its practical and psychological significance.

The need to link the memories of war, displacement and migration to an analysis of European’s states reception systems, recent forms of xenophobia and new social instances urgently emerged. This has led to the interest to understand the relationship between the memories of those who have experienced the transition and the European integration in the Western Balkan countries, particularly in Slovenia and Croatia, and those who have recreated their lives abroad, in particular in Italy and in Germany. To do this, partners will create a bridge between a recovery of the memories of the ‘90s war events and the involvement of the younger generations in order to encourage their participation in developing a new gaze to the past and in defining priorities and desires for change regarding the time and space in which one lives. Different social groups will be involved in this analysis, through different phases and activities: university students, researchers, academics, memory workers, but also high school students and young adults, educators and teachers, performative artists, citizens from four European countries.

The project general objective is therefore to directly address the difficult heritage of which the Western Balkans are bearers. It concerns the relationship with a past recognized as significant, problematic, controversial and even embarrassing at the same time, whose criticality prevents a reconciliation of public memory. Indeed, the way in which people think about past events has had in the Western Balkans effects on national and international politics within the single countries. A difficult reworking of the past – personal and collective – often hinders the ability to think about the future after the emergence of personal and collective traumas. For this reason, in this project, the partners want to investigate in depth the relationship between past events and current social action, analyzing it with a multidisciplinary approach.

New challenges, obstacles and opportunities are changing the way European citizens think about migration. The number of people entering the European Union asking for international protection has increased dramatically in these last decades. This happens both for the reduction of other opportunities for legal entry, but also for the continuous emergence of wars and conflicts, not only in the African and Asian continent, but also in Europe. After the peak reached in 1992 (according to Eurostat 672,000 applications in the EU-15) with the arrival in the Member States of asylum seekers from the former Yugoslavia, and later in 2001 (424,000), asylum applications in the EU-27 fell to just under 200,000 in 2006. If we analyze the trend of asylum applications submitted by third-country nationals only, there is a gradual increase until 2012. Then, it grew dramatically to around 1.3 million in both 2015 and 2016. These numbers were about twice those recorded in the EU-15 during the relative peak of 1992. Migrations change people’s ways of thinking. For many, this change is more of a threat than an opportunity. So, the emergence of narratives that attempt to distort historical facts for immediate objectives, such as closing borders and containing social change to increase political power, is an issue to be urgently considered.

Project execution

● Research process (preliminary research and mapping of the intervention areas, sources collection, community focus groups, collection of witnesses’s interviews, collection of memory, collection and cataloging of memories and objects from witness communities)
● Interdisciplinary workshops (with young people, with scholar and practitioners, non-formal narrative workshop with young women and man born after 2000)
● Didactic dissemination (creation of multilingual digital educational kits based on collected sources and research results, implementation of didactic paths in educational institution)
● Public dissemination of educational tools (presentation and sharing of educational kits and didactic recommendations to local and national bodies connected to education)
● Artistic part (short film, exhibition, artistic performance based on the project realization process and the memories collected, and on the knowledge gathered through the research part of the project, as well as on the lived experience)


The partner consortium combines research, non-governmental and artistic organizations from both new and old EU member states: Codici – Cooperativa sociale onlus, Lapsus – Laboratorio di analisi storica del mondo contemporaneo (Italy), Documenta – Centar za suočavanje s prošlošću, Institut za društvena istraživanja, Institut za etnologiju i folkloristiku (Croatia), Maska, Mirovni institut (Slovenia), Univerza v Regensburgu (Germany).


EU Programme CERV (European Remembrance)