The project aims to contribute to social cohesion and combat the marginalization or exclusion of refugees by facilitating joint reporting with similar stories, through the mediation of innovative digital and artistic tools.

Based on theories of cultural heritage creation, reporting on past and present experiences, listening to the needs of target groups and developing a methodology for co-creative design of digital and cultural tools, SO-CLOSE aims to improve social cohesion and promote mutual understanding between refugees and local communities.

The data and methodology that will emerge from the program will be used to develop various digital applications. As a result, the project’s consortium has strong partners in technology with experience in this field. Combining the fields of history, sociology, cultural studies, art and computer science, SO-CLOSE will design educational and cultural tools such as interactive cookbooks, interactive documentaries based on immersive video recording, interactive reports based on personal experiences and storytelling and an online platform called “Memory Center”, an online repository for the entire program.

SO-CLOSE will be implemented in four different pilot sites, which were selected because of their similarities with today’s situation, but also because of the continuity of historical memory and intangible cultural heritage:

– VDA, Krakow (Poland)

– Trikeri Island Concentration Camp (Greece)

– MUME de l’Exili (Spain)

– MONTE Marzabotto (Italy)

SO – CLOSE is funded by the European Union research and innovation program, “Horizon 2020” and the Greek Forum of Refugees participates in the consortium with major partners including the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the Lund University.

SO-CLOSE embraces the defense of a common European identity based on diversity. The program will guarantee the sharing of knowledge out of the experiences of the displaced population and will serve as a space for the creation of activities that will contribute to the recognition of different identities and the perception of refugees not as a “problem” but as victims of persecution, direct or indirect victims of violence in their places of origin.

SO-CLOSE will reinforce the idea that culture is not a kind of  a “backpack” that one carries with them and shows it whenever needed or requested, remaining forever identical to itself because it is determined by every kind of external and collective entity. Culture is rather a kind of “clay” that has, of course, its own consistency and inner substance, but can be shaped and modified by each individual experience and development, interacting with the development and the individual experiences of the other.

SO-CLOSE will strive to spread this idea not only in relation to the migration context but also to any person related to the native environment. This will allow, in particular, social cohesion, because it will make it absolutely clear and obvious that everyone is in the same situation as a variable entity. Finally, a comprehensive communication and dissemination plan will enable the creation of a structured network of common interest, consisting of multidisciplinary bodies, which will contribute to the establishment of a long and effective experience, exchanging practices in the field of forced migration.

Read the SO-CLOSE publications here:

VOLUME 1: Forced displacements: a European History

VOLUME 2: From so far to so close: Stories from the present and the past

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