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12th European Remembrance Symposium: commemorating and narrating freedom

The 12th European Remembrance Symposium, titled "Commemorating and Narrating Freedom," took place in Warsaw on 21-24 May, 2024 gathering over 200 representatives from memory institutions worldwide.

The event - organised by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS) and co-hosted by the newly opened Polish History Museum at the Warsaw Citadel, marking an important milestone for the museum -  focused on the role of independence aspirations and freedom slogans in 20th-century European history.

Participants explored how history museums and memorials shape cultural memory and engage visitors with historical narratives. Key themes included freedom in national and museum narratives, the impact of modern technologies on historical education, the commemoration of freedom in culture, and the effects of commercializing cultural institutions.

Freedom is a fundamental value that must be guaranteed and cannot be taken away from anyone - neither society nor artists and creators. Freedom, freedom of expression and research, is one of the most important categories in contemporary art and science. It is a driving force. It is a sign of a modern state and society,' said Hanna Wróblewska, Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, at the opening.

The four-day event was packed with a variety of activities designed to foster dialogue and collaboration. Panel discussions featured experts and scholars who provided insightful perspectives on the symposium's themes. Networking opportunities allowed attendees to connect, share ideas, and explore potential collaborations. Interactive Q&A sessions enabled participants to engage directly with speakers and delve deeper into the topics discussed.

One of the highlights of the symposium was the rapid "turbo presentations," which offered quick, focused insights into specific topics. These dynamic presentations encouraged concise and engaging communication. Additionally, organised visits to Warsaw's museums and memorials provided attendees with tangible connections to the historical themes discussed at the symposium.

Since its inception in Gdansk in 2012, the European Remembrance Symposium has been held in various cities across Europe, each time enriching the dialogue around Europe's complex historical narratives. The symposium aims to enhance cooperation between historical and educational institutions, promoting a deeper understanding of European history from diverse perspectives. The European Remembrance Symposium continues to be a cornerstone event for those dedicated to the study and preservation of historical memory. By bringing together experts from various fields, the symposium fosters an environment of collaboration and intellectual exchange, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of Europe's past.

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