Back to Lebanon programme

From Local History to a wider understanding of the past (2018 - 2020)

A project to encourage conversations about the Lebanese Civil War

After the end of the Lebanese Civil War, the country was in a state of amnesia about what took place during the war. It was thought that by suppressing memory, the Lebanese can move forward and unify the nation. However, the past 30 years have shown that tensions and divisions continue to shape the Lebanese society.
Two students conducting an interview
© forumZFD

The project is a part of the Dealing With the Past Programme, which aims to stimulate active engagement with multiple narratives of contested historical events, in particular the Lebanese Civil War. In light of this, forumZFD has been working with Lebanese Association for History (LAH), since 2014 to support and facilitate processes of dealing with the past through multi-perceptivity. Together we initiated and developed the project 'From Local History to a wider understanding of the past', which aims to enrich knowledge and encourage inclusive conversations about the Lebanese Civil War.

The project explores oral history as a tool to teach students about the Civil War. Public school students in Mount Lebanon are actively engaged in collecting and documenting a multitude of accounts of how people’s daily lives changed during the war. Initiating inter-generational conversations, the students will gain a better understanding of the contested past and its relationship to the present.

The first run of the project will take place in eight public high schools in Mount Lebanon, an area that has experienced armed conflict during the Civil War. The first phase of the project entails training workshops, and classroom visits enabling teachers to incorporate oral history in their teaching, and to facilitate conversations on war and conflict. Students are working on oral history research projects and are actively engaged in collecting and documenting a multitude of accounts of how people’s daily lives changed during the war. The first phase culminates in students from all schools meeting to share their impressions and discuss their experiences. This is accompanied by the installation “Voices from the Past – Oral History Recorded” to share the project process with the public, and engage partners for the next steps.

The second phase of the project focuses on the analysis, interpretation and dissemination of the oral histories. In the participating schools, students and narrators come together with artists from different disciplines, practitioners and academics to work in depth with the narrators’ stories through a multi-perspective approach, initiating inter-generational conversations. Through engaging with the recorded accounts of local history, students gain a wider understanding of the past and its relationship with the present.

If you are interested to learn more about the project, or get involved in the second phase, please get in touch with us.

To find out more about this project please find the forumZFD one pager here. You can also watch our video of the project here!


Back to Lebanon programme