European University Institute Bodies across borders: oral and visual memory in Europe and beyond
Bodies across borders: oral and visual memory in Europe and beyond

26-27 April 2018 Bodies Across Borders: Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond – Final Conference

The conference presents the final results of the European Research Council Project “Bodies across Borders: Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond”. The presenters are international scholars in the central themes of the BABE project: visuality, memory and the archive. The BABE team, composed of Luisa Passerini (Principal Investigator), Graziella Bonansea, Liliana Ellena, Giada Giustetto, Leslie Hernández Nova, Iris van Huis, Gabriele Proglio, and Milica Trakilovic, will discuss the presentations and the presenters’ comments  on the research project. During the conference the BABE Research Project’s Exhibition will be held at the Archivio di Stato in Florence.

23-24 November 2017 – Archives of Mobility and Memory

: Bodies Across Borders: Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond, Principal Investigator Luisa Passerini
: Archivio delle Memorie Migranti, Director Alessandro Triulz
This workshop will be an exchange between the ERC Project “BABE” and the Archivio delle Memorie Migranti, Rome, in order to compare their research on the memory of mobility and the practices of archiving visual, written and oral products. The workshop will give space to reflections on the transmission of memories in various situations, including the educational setting.

19 – 20 October 2017 – Oral and Visual Memories of Migration: Interdisciplinary Responses and Approaches to the Bodies across Borders in Europe Project

The BABE research team is glad to announce a workshop with Utrecht University through CCHR (research focus area Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights). The workshop is envisioned as an institutional event (with the University) and an involvement with the city of Utrecht. It includes a session devoted to a conversation with Maria Hlavajova, director of BAK, Basis Voor Actuele Kunst.
Scholars and artists/curators affiliated with Utrecht University who specialize in issues of migration, memory and visuality in relation to Europe are invited to present responses and reflections from their field of expertise on the aims and results of the BABE project.
Report on the Utrecht Workshop by Iris van Huis and Milica Trakilović

27-28 April 2017 – Dissonant Heritages Contestation of Meanings and Uses of Memory in Today´s Europe Workshop

Heritage is an ongoing process of negotiation and contestation of the meanings of the past considered important for the present. Relations among different actors and communities in the processes and practices of heritage are not always cooperative and harmonious, but contested and competitive. With the concept of dissonant heritage Turnbridge and Ashworth (1996) have referred to heritages that include a discordance of different stories and a lack of agreement and consistency in the way the past is represented and memories used in public spheres. The aim of the workshop is to show that Europe does not have one heritage, rather a plurality of traditions, within which contradictions and ruptures of social, cultural and political nature have been present in different times and places. The intent is to contribute to an erosion of Europe’s cultural heritages from within, studying the multiform developments of a fractured past (Milton) from the point of view of cultural history.
In the workshop, the dissonances between different heritages (as well as the internal ones) will be discussed in relation to a variety of topics central to the two ERC projects conveners of the meeting. Such are: East–West and center–periphery divisions of Europe, internal and external border-making and border-crossing in Europe, Europe´s colonial past and its post-colonial criticism, migrant and post-migrant experiences, narration and re-narration of Europe´s conflictual past, and the production of the idea of a European heritage and identity in ‘authorized heritage discourses’ (Smith 2006). Heritage is approached in the workshop as a ‘memory complex’, an assemblage of practices, affects and physical things (Macdonald 2013), that brings to attention the contestation of identities, feelings of belonging, and remembering the past in today´s Europe. This perspective emphasizes the relevance of forms of embodied memory against the often de-materialized dominant notions of archive, heritage and patrimoine culturel.

22-24 February 2017 – Block Seminar “1968 Across the Iron Curtain”

This workshop is a case study of simultaneous events that shaped our world in entangled ways. While we remember 1968 as the moment of liberating, though non-accomplished, student revolutions in France and the US, this year also saw the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia. The year marked the turning point in the Vietnam war and, arguably, in the Cold War as well. Richard Nixon was elected the president of the US, and Leonid Brezhnev consolidated his power over the USSR. Martin Luther King was shot dead in Memphis, and Andrej Siniavsky was serving in a forced labor camp in Mordovia. Yale University announced it was going to admit women. Using the new language of human rights, Russian and Ukrainian dissidents started their struggle with the Soviet regime. From Brazil to Italy, protest movements shook the world but mostly failed to change the governments. Led Zeppelin started performances, and the Beatles sang “Back in the USSR” and became popular there. On the both sides of the Iron Curtain, the enthusiasm and disappointments of 1968 transformed philosophy, political thought, literature and cinema of the subsequent era. The best-known French philosophers, Italian film-makers, American politicians, Polish dissidents all came from the generation that shaped 1968 and were shaped by this historical moment. After 1968, the crucial concepts of human existence – sex, power, gender, class, race – have never been the same, and their tectonic shifts also occurred across the Iron Curtain. In this workshop, we will explore various dimensions of this transnational change. We will complement case studies from countries of Western, Central and Eastern European with broader speculations on issues of history and memory, generations and revolutions, subjectivity and power.

BABE-HAEU conjunct session at the UDPN École d’été, 14 July 2016

The BABE-HAEU conjunct session is part of the École d’été  organized by the network “Usages des Patrimoines Numérisés” (Université Sorbonne Paris Cité) taking place at Villa Finaly, Florence, 11-15 July 2016.
Methodological challenges raised by the archival processing of visual and oral sources collected during BABE Project fieldworks will be discussed within the larger framework of the digitization projects currently carried out by the Historical Archives of the European Union.
The HAEU will host all the BABE material once the collection will be completed.

Session Programme:

Thursday 14
14:00 – 17:00 The Historical Archives of the European Union-Villa Salviati
Presentation of the BABE Research Project “Bodies Across Borders : Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond”
Liliana Ellena and Leslie Hernández-Nova (European University Institute, Department of History and Civilization, Florence)
The Historical Archives of the European Union
Dieter Schlenker (HAEU Director, European University Institute, Florence)
15:30 – 15:45 Afternoon Break
Visit of the Historical Archives of the European Union  
Full UDPN École d’été Programme
“Usages des Patrimoines Numérisés”

19-20 May 2016, Lectures on Memory and Visuality, Florence

The intersection between visuality, memory and politics is a crucial field of inquiry for the BABE research project, calling attention to the historical processes through which practices of mobility and border regulation have reconfigured the European space after 1989.
The two invited lecturers aim to enlarge our methodological perspective by discussing research fields and approaches based on colonial and postcolonial India. They will explore how visual meanings were generated and transformed in relation to the geopolitics of empire and to the national self-making of post-colonial India, and will shed light on the cultural and institutional relations shaping political spaces. Furthermore, their contributions will discuss how protocols of personal identification as well as the visualization of material/imagined borders reflect multiple temporalities.
Thursday 19 May
Film in the Archive of Mediatized Politics 
by Professor Ravi Vasudevan (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi)
Friday 20 May
The ‘Look’ of the Document: The Colonial Subject in Transit, British India, 1882-1921
by Professor Radhika Singha (Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

10-11 March, Cultural Memory and Oral History in Global Perspective

Joint Initiative of Professors Alexander Etkind and Luisa Passerini.

This workshop aims to explore the connections between various forms of memory and their recording, transmission and preservation through different media, as these have been developing in the last fifty years across the globe. Particular relevance will be given to exchanges and osmosis between cultural and geopolitical areas as well as fields of knowledge and the arts.


5 June 2015, Practices Across Borders. Visuality, Aesthetics, Memory

05 June – 9:30 to 17:30

The workshop is aimed to discuss methodological approaches to the intersection between memory and mobility in visual works and contemporary artistic practices as one of the key concerns of the Bodies across Borders. Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond (BABE) Research Project. Invited researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds will offer the opportunity to focus on transversal issues such as: the relationship between different forms of visuality; connections and discontinuities between social memory processes and aesthetics; social practices involved in processes of production, circulation, exhibition, and reception of artistic works. In each session two invited scholars will present papers followed by responses from members of the Project Research team
Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia
Via Giovanni Boccaccio, 121, 50133 Firenze, Italy
Chair: Graziella Bonansea (BABE Research Associate, EUI)
Pascal Dubourg Glatigny (CNRS, Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris): Déplacements et restrictions du champ d’intervention artistique au rythme des migrations (abstract)
Chiara Bertola (Senior Curator, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venezia): Conserver le futur: temporalités et travail dans le contemporain
Chair: Liliana Ellena (BABE Research Associate, EUI)
Giovanna Zapperi (École Nationale Supérieure d’Art, Bourges): The Archive as a Contact Zone
Simon Harvey (Trondheim Academy of Fine Arts, Trondheim): Mapping Transitions: Counter-Cartographical Responses to Flow and Fixity in a World of Mobility (abstract)

Memory and the Archive: Collection, Interpretation and Conservation of Oral and Visual Documents

Workshop held 15.1.14. A central research focus of the BABE project is the gathering of migrants’ itineraries. This is done in both oral and visual form, so either in recorded interviews and/or in drawings done by the migrants themselves. In the interviews they put into word, gesture and body language these itineraries and in the drawings they undertake a creative imaging of their itinerary. The materials of documentation are to be deposited in the Historical Archives of the European Union at the EUI. One of the important questions the materials thus gathered pose then will be, how to archive this documentation.

Programme (Download PDF)

Audio recording

List of Papers

Luisa Passerini (BABE Principal Investigator), Living Archives. Continuity and Innovation in the Art of Memory Catherine Previti Allaire (archiviste aux AHUE), La Collection d’histoire orale des Archives historiques de l’Union européenne