'Remembering Upper Silesia, East Upper Silesian Family Memory of the Post-War Period', an impact and dissemination case study
Article by Lisa Haberkern
Research subject: Remembering Upper Silesia, East Upper Silesian Family Memory of the Post-War Period
University of Silesia in Katowice
Supervision: Prof. zw. dr hab. Ryszard Kaczmarek and Prof. Dr. Maren Röger
Engaging with the wider public; affecting the lives of participants
The nature of the projects multi-generational approach is based on interpersonal contact with people representing different generations in Poland and Germany. Experiencing or knowing through intergenerational transmission, that one’s family’s history does not agree with the national master narrations of both Poland and Germany proofs to be a common a lived experience among interview partners. For the longest time the topic was taboo, and the interview partners did not share their life stories or family histories. In these cases recording life stories can be a means of empowerment. The attention and the interpersonal exchange seem so send a message of validation and recognition – what is commonly mentioned as a demand by not only the generation of experience but also their descendants – towards majority population.
As recruitment is based on various pillars one means of outreach to possible participants is via NGOs that are active in the region of eastern Upper Silesia, what means to share the ideas and goals of the project with community leaders. By being present in the region for community meetings and commemorative ceremonies organized by local NOGs that are attended by stakeholders of memory culture and policy makers (representing the regional, national and EU-level) the research is communicated. On another level of communication online-publications oriented towards the non-academic public introduce the CHIBOW-network and the project to an interested audience.
Communication beyond disciplinary boundaries and borders
Participation in national and international conferences, workshops, etc. communicates the impact of H2020 funding and the benefits and quality of Katowice and the region of Upper Silesia as a location for research. The same was done be inviting and collaborating with network members as well as other researchers form the region and beyond. A network event that took place in the region introduced a group of international Early Stage Researchers and students to the region and its multi-faceted history. By visiting local centres for education and research networking possibilities among and beyond the CHIBOW-network were created.
Impacting the research environment and practices
The requirement of ethical approval of research conducted within the CHIBOW-network resulted in the establishment of a general ethics committee assessing research conducted with possibly vulnerable human beings carried out by staff-members, PhD-students and undergraduate students at the Silesian University in Katowice.