Τον Μάρτιο 2015 η πρόταση των ΟΠΙ για συμμετοχή στο MGSA Symposium 2015 έγινε αποδεκτή.
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Grassroots Oral History Groups in Times of Crisis
Coordinator: Tasoula Vervenioti
In the midst of the “Greek” crisis grassroots oral history groups are mushrooming throughout the country, while in Greek universities there is still no academic department of Oral History. Most of them are in Athens, in which the crisis is deeper than in the countryside. The Oral History Group of Kypseli (OPIK) was established in 2011. In 2013, the Organization of Culture, Sports and Youth of Athens Municipality purchased six professional tape recorders for the Oral History Group of Athens (OPIA). The Oral History Group of Kolonaki (OPIKO) was established by the Movement of Citizens in Kolonaki, in early 2014 and the Oral History Group of Dourgouti (OPIDOU), an ex Armenian neighborhood, where now live many Syrians, in the framework of the project Dourgouti Island Hotel, in the autumn of 2014. OPIA, OPIKO and OPIDOU use the same six tape recorders, which are kept in the Municipal Library of Athens. Since autumn 2014, other three Groups were created: the Oral History Group of Galatsi (OPIGA), Nea Ionia (OPINI) and Chaladri’s Municipality (OPIDHX).All members of these groups are volunteers; they, after a training seminar (about 18 hours), begin to collect oral testimonies. There is a meeting of the whole group almost every month, but sub groups’ meetings are more frequently. The sub groups are thematic: on crisis, migration, everyday life, social environment, the 1940s decade etc. Collective action is one of their main principles and intentions. The working method is that of a collaborative project. The testimonies are life histories and each interview addressed multiple subjects simultaneously; therefore, members from one thematic sub-group cooperated with other members via e-mails or meetings. The seven groups are organizing a festival in Athens on May 2015.We propose a special panel, whose participants would be four grassroots oral history groups: OPIK, OPIA, OPIKO and OPIDOU. Each group would elect one of its members to speak in English, through Skype, on Athens residents, the majority of whom are internal or external immigrants, first or second generation, on how they establish a different relationship with their own past and community, the new ways of understanding the past and their journey through the lives of others that offers them not only knowledge about the past but also a reflection on his/her own life and/ or on the meaning of life itself. Mostly they would speak on the economic, political and social crisis that has touched and changed dramatically all aspects of people’s lives, their city and neighborhood and how the social body tries to form a new identity and therefore a new narrative about its past.It would be a five minutes introduction and a fifteen minutes presentation –with audiovisual material- for each group. During discussion, not only the speakers but also other members of the groups would answer the questions.
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