Changing Democracies meet in Antwerp

Changing democracies - Antwerpia - maj 2024

A meeting of institutions co-founding the Changing Democracies project has concluded in Antwerp. This is an activity that has been going on for more than a year now, the aim of which is to create a common space for narratives about recent history - about moments of transition, such as systemic transformation, the rise and fall of dictatorships, political and social processes occurring in both personal and public spaces.

One of our tasks in this project was to prepare, together with young people from Sejny and Suwałki, interviews with witnesses of the political transformation in Poland - teachers, neighbors, local government officials from our region.

Some of them were presented to a wider audience for the first time as part of the opening event of the interactive exhibition entitled Traveling Workshop.

This exhibition includes accounts of witnesses to history from eleven European countries - Poland, Lithuania, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Romania, Spain, Croatia and Greece. The stories we can get to know through it relate to seemingly different events, periods and contexts - but together they form an extremely rich collection, in which we can look for answers to the main question posed by the creators - “Is my democracy your democracy?”.

Behind us were several days steeped in extraordinary conversations - a time of learning about otherness, telling each other about the places we come from, their most beautiful but also most challenging sides, seeking common ground and curiosity about what makes us different. It was also a time filled with collective, group work - often carried out in concentration and silence, which contrasted exceptionally strongly with the great diversity of languages present not only in our group, but also on the streets of Antwerp around us.

At the end of this year, the exhibition will come to Sejny - but before that, it will travel throughout Europe, presented in major European capitals such as Athens, Amsterdam and Vilnius. Everywhere there it will be accompanied by artistic, educational and cultural events.