Experts in the network will help to spread the word about pioneering creative ways educators and others are helping to teach and learn about the violent past.

Major new research project to help pupils promote peace and make sense of the violent past

Experts have begun a major new research project to help pupils around the world to use history and heritage to promote peace and make sense of past violence. 

Members of the new Education, Justice and Memory Network (EdJAM) will work to give young people creative opportunities to discuss, make sense of and respond to war, conflict and brutality.

The project is funded through a £2 million grant from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Funding (GCRF) Collective Programme.

Experts in the network will help to spread the word about pioneering creative ways educators and others are helping to teach and learn about the violent past.

There are four strands to the project. “History Education about the Violent Past”, led by Tania Saeed from the Lahore University of Management Science and Catriona Pennell from the University of Exeter, will involve work with young people to show how historical narratives are generated and the ways that they do and do not enter into classroom practices.

“Heritage, Education and Everyday Life”, led by Abiti Nelson, from the Uganda National Museum, and Kate Moles, from Cardiff University, will involve investigations into the links between formal heritage, education and the everyday spaces where learning and teaching take place.

Transitional Justice and Memory, led by Maria Teresa Pinto O’Campo, from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and Peter Manning, from the University of Bath, will explore the implications of the fact that the key tools and techniques of transitional justice now include work to construct sites of memory such as museums and memorials.

As part of “Learning, Collaborative Evaluation and Partnership Working”, led by Duong Keo, from the Royal University of Law and Economics, and Lizzi Milligan, from the University of Bath, experts will develop an approach for learning, reflection and evaluation across the EdJAM network.

Researchers will work in Cambodia, Colombia, Pakistan and Uganda, countries where creative practices for teaching and learning about the violent past are being pioneered because of experiences of conflict there, while at the same time prospects for peace are challenged by denial of past violence and injustice.

In Cambodia project researchers will work with the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre to add information to its successful app on teaching Khmer Rouge history, including testimonies from low-level Khmer Rouge perpetrators for the first time.

In Colombia the team will work with the Centre for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation and Fundación Compartir, to create two co-production laboratories with teachers, enabling them to develop resources to support student visits to a new multi-sensory exhibition on conflict experiences in Bogota.

In Uganda researchers will work with the National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre to develop a traveling exhibition, which includes museum artefacts from the National Museum and testimonies from survivors of conflict in Northern Uganda. This will visit to 20 secondary schools around the country.

Professor Pennell said: “There is growing global commitment to education as peacebuilding and enabling of development, evidenced by UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims for a quality and inclusive education for all. However, a number of scholars have noted the ways in which education does not build peace, and instead entrenches inequalities and legitimises injustice. The Education, Justice and Memory Network (EdJAM) is an exciting opportunity to explore these tensions from an interdisciplinary perspective working with an inspiring set of international partners who all work collaborate with young people to develop creative and engaging ways to teach and learn about the violent past – inside and outside of schools. EdJAM will work to support, understand and amplify these approaches, enabling young people to develop the skills and knowledge to build a culture of peace and non-violence.”

Date: 18 December 2020

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