Workshop on personal perceptions of the end of war – ‘War or Peace’ Festival

This weekend (17-21 October), 300 young people from all over the world met at the ‘War or Peace’ Festival in Berlin, organised by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) and the Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin. 100 years after the end of World War One, the participants investigated in a variety of workshops different perceptions and expectations, reasons and consequences of war and peace throughout space and time.

Based on my work in the Twitter project @RealTimeWW1, I had been invited by the bpb to co-organise one of the workshops together with two wonderful colleagues: the journalist Nora Hesper and the psychologist Mona Bünnemann. In the course of three days, our participants developed a series of podcasts on persons’ experiences once war’s over – on trauma and lasting changes in people’s everyday lives, on attempts to make sense of the immediate past, present and future, and also on different ways to create spaces and conditions allowing individuals to cope with their respective experiences.

The results of the different workshops – including our participants’ podcasts – made for an impressive final exhibition, which constituted the official end of the workshop. A big compliment to all those young creative and highly engaging young people, as well as to the organisers, who embedded the workshops in a high-quality and multi-faceted framework programme. It would be great to see this format repeated!