The Project “Transnational History – transnational approaches and multi-perspective methods in history teaching”

Seven cultural and educational institutions from Austria, Croatia, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Sweden are working on the EU-funded project “Transnational History”. The aim of the project is to develop a common understanding of “transnational history” and to try out methods for looking at historical events from different perspectives.

The European Union is distinguished by the diversity of its member countries. The individual member states are also heterogeneous. They are made up of autochthonous ethnic minorities and majorities, and also bring together people of very different origins. Many immigrated decades ago, others arrived recently. They change their place of residence for professional reasons or are forced to do so by war and disasters.

What they all have in common is that they bring with them a variety of transnational experiences that go beyond national narratives of history. Experiences that are not reflected in history textbooks, as our research showed. We have asked ourselves what methods in the teaching of history take up this breadth of transnational experience? How can we capture diverse perspectives on historical events that challenge dominant national narratives?

The methodological approach is an inter-weaving of socio-scientific methods of re-search with artistic forms of expression for the communication of history.

Biographical interviews

The focus is on the personal narratives of people whose experiences deviate from the national mainstream. Each partner institution chose a specific moment in contemporary history on which those affected and contemporary witnesses talked about their lives.

  • Perspective of ethnic minorities

In Austria we asked for the perspective of representatives of the Carinthian Slovenes on historical events. The ethnic minority in the south of Austria was persecuted under National Socialism and fought for their rights for decades after the war. … read more

  • March 1968 in Poland

In Poland, the communist regime used the 1968 student protests as a pretext for anti-Semitic repression. Ten thousand Polish Jews lost their jobs and were expelled from Po-land. The interviewees talk about their flight and their new beginnings in foreign countries. … read more

  • Flight and expulsion

In Germany, we conducted interviews with members of German minorities who had to leave the countries formerly occupied by Nazis after 1945. We also interviewed people who had to flee Afghanistan and Togo in recent years and Bosnia during the Balkan War. … read more

  • Decolonisation: From Belgian Congo to Brussels

Two women who spent very different child-hoods in the former Belgian colony in the Congo and had to flee to Brussels in 1960 talk about their lives in both worlds in the Bel-gian interviews. … read more

  • EU and history

Along the chronicle of the development of the European Union, contemporary witness-es tell their individual life stories. Complex and abstract history meets personal stories. … read more

  • European internal migration

In Sweden, the interviews focus on the right to work in another Member State and to be treated equally to nationals. People from Greece who live and work in Sweden talk about their experiences. … read more

  • Changing Regimes in the Konavle Region

The Croatian interviews deal with the effects of changing governance in the Konavle region during the 1940s. Neighbours grew up a few metres apart in different school systems with different historical narratives. … read more

Artistic forms of conveying history

For the publication, excerpts from the biographical interviews were turned into short video clips.  The video clips were then used by artists to enter into a sensitive dialogue with the narrators.

In the ethnographic museum of Čilipi, the exhibition “Kome opanci, kome obojci” combines regional and transnational aspects. Traditional footwear from different eras pro-vides an insight into social conditions and is linked via QR codes to the transnational narratives of the video clips.

“Mauerläufer” is the name of the scenic collage in which actresses and amateurs reflect the stories from the video clips on stage. At the Kulturzentrum Die GEMS in Singen, they integrate the heterogeneous life stories into a performance that gains more general validity on a meta-level.

They lead us back to our initial question: How can transnational experiences be integrated into the teaching of history? How can the diversity of stories be told? … Through biographies.


Press & Media material

RollUp – EnglishRollup – German

Project video page – Interviews

Project Logo:  Transnational History  *.jpg | Transnational History  *.png

Theatre Workshop Singen

Theatre programme booklet “Mauerläufer”

Flyer “Mauerläufer”

Poster “Mauerläufer”

Exhibition catalogue “Kome obojci kome opanci”

Exhibition poster “Kome obojci kome opanci”

Exhibition Roll-up


Press releases

Feb 2021

June 2021 

June 2021

Press echoes

Television and radio reports on the exhibition “Kome obojci kome opanci” at Museji i galerije Konavala, Dubrovnik, May 2023:

MIGK-VDV-71_Kome obojci kome opanci,



Press clipping: Dubrovački vjesnik, 6.5.2023, dubrovnikportal.com, 3.5.2023, dubrovackamreza.dubrovniknet.hr, 3.5.2023


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