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FIBGAR / Articles  / Reflections of the Seminar “Art, culture and expression in the Democratic Memory”

Reflections of the Seminar “Art, culture and expression in the Democratic Memory”

In a scenario where diverse current issues are increasingly intertwined, the preservation and transmission of democratic memory stands as a fundamental pillar for the construction of a democratic society and a resilient rule of law. In this context, the online seminar we organized yesterday March 13 entitled “Art, Culture and Expression in Democratic Memory” framed in our project “Civil society voices for a more sustainable democracy: dialogue between Europe and Latin America” has highlighted the importance of various facets in the process of collecting, remembering and honoring the past, while moving towards a future where truth and memory is one of the central axes of our societies.

The seminar was attended by three speakers participating in the VOCES project who presented their contributions on the subject: Víctor Manuel Vegas Conejo with “There is no positive peace without democratic memory in the classroom”; María Laura Videla with “Art as testimony: the experience of Spanish Republicans in Nazi concentration camps and its impact on historical memory and education”; and Luis Mariano Rendón Escobar with “Fundación Memoria Histórica: strategic litigation for the dismantling of the Chilean dictatorship”. Between the three of them, they explored the connections between art, culture and memory in the context of today’s democracies. The three speakers illuminated the discussion from different perspectives, but each contributed an enriching vision on the subject.

In the first lecture, María Laura Videla presented art as a vehicle to give voice to those whose experiences have often been silenced. In particular, she explored how art created by Spanish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps could capture the suffering of these people and how these expressions have an impact on democratic memory. These works are not only testimonies of tragic episodes in our history, but also powerful tools for constructing a common narrative of memory. In addition, through art, emotions and lived horrors can be captured, allowing future generations, through their implementation in education, to connect with the humanity behind the works and historical stories.

The second presentation, Victor Manuel Vegas Conejo addressed the crucial importance of teaching democratic memory in the ESO and Bachillerato classrooms. Education plays a fundamental role in the construction of collective identity and allows the understanding of our tragic past. It is through the classroom and these early educational levels that new generations can understand the importance of memory for the consolidation of democratic values and the preservation of fundamental rights.

The third presentation, by Luis Mariano Rendón, led us to examine the importance of dismantling of the symbolism of the Chilean dictatorship. Monuments and public symbols are not simply innocent representations of the past, but exercise great power in the collective narrative of historical memory. The dismantling of monuments is an act of symbolic justice that acknowledges past suffering and signals a commitment to a more democratic and truth-based future.

In summary, this seminar reminded us that through art, education and culture we can build a bridge to our past that will foster a future in which the pillars of democracy are ever more firmly established.

A recording of the seminar is available on our YouTube channel:

Contribution María Laura Videla “Arte como testimonio: la experiencia de los españoles republicanos en los campos de concentración nazis y su impacto en la memoria histórica y la educación:

Contribution Víctor Manuel Vegas Conejo con “No hay paz positiva sin memoria democrática en las aulas”:

Contribution Luis Mariano Rendón Escobar con “Fundación Memoria Histórica: litigación estratégica para la desmonumentación de la dictadura chilena”:

Carmen Coleto Martínez, Junior Project Manager.