The recuperation of the democratic memory of 20th-Century in Spain has endured a long and arduous process. It was first repressed during the Franco Dictatorship (1939-1975) and then remained dormant in the political domain during the country’s transition into democracy and its Amnesty Law (1977), since there were neither legal nor symbolic reparations for the victims. The disappearance of the first generation has triggered, however, the need among many members of the second and third generations to engage actively with the past through memory activism, aiming to re-signify their predecessors’ legacy in the context of current humanitarian crises.
This need was clarified through the testimonies collected for this project (circa 60) among descendants of Spanish Republican exiles and of the victims of the Francoist repression in Spain. The MTC team assembles an international group of artists in painting, poetry, photography, and textiles who will co-produce and co-create the historical memory of being a refugee, and its legacy in the UK. Through a series of workshops in the UK and in Spain, with the descendants of Basque evacuees, memory activists, and present-day refugee organisations, the MTC project thus aims to expand memory care work beyond family/blood ties into ethical and political practice through an agenda of social activism.
A further outcome of these workshops and our work on the project will include a museum exhibition in 2024, in which we also aim to draw on input gathered from local, non-academic audiences as well as from memory entrepreneurs/activists and refugee organisations. This will help us to shape the content of the exhibition around a transformation of public understanding of the plights of refugees today, and to facilitate greater social justice for those whose stories have been silenced, as well as to demonstrate the transformative potential of the creative arts in negotiating and transmitting traumatic pasts.
More information on the workshops and all of our events will be available on this blog very shortly. More information on the artists and project partners can be found on our Meet the Team page.