Increasing social cohesion by sharing the cultural heritage of forced migration
SO-CLOSE is a three-year project created to contribute to social cohesion and combat the marginalization or exclusion of refugees by facilitating encounters between similar life stories through the use of innovative digital and artistic tools.
Building on theories of heritage creation, exposing shared experiences from the past and present, listening to the needs of target groups, and by developing a methodological template for the co-creation of replicable digital tools and cultural products, SO-CLOSE will improve social cohesion and promote mutual understanding between refugees and their local communities.
The resulting data and methodology will be used to develop several digital applications, for which we have strong technology partners in our consortium with experience in this field. Working at the intersection of history, sociology, cultural studies, art and computer science, SO-CLOSE will design educational and cultural tools such as interactive cookbooks, interactive documentaries based on immersive videos, AI-powered Chatbots, interactive exhibitions based on personal memories and storytelling, or an online platform, called Memory Center, built as a content aggregator and service platform.
Tools developed as part of the project:
In SO-CLOSE’s map-stories, life-linked geography is the main narrative thread that connects the routes of forced displacement, creating a comparative dialogue between the memories of local communities and the experiences of today.
At Villa Decius, we conducted several interviews with people forced from their homes in Libya, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Belarus over the past years, as well as conducted archive searches, bringing back life stories of Poles, Jews, Roma who were so close to our cities.
The music for the story was composed and played by Estonian-German musician Vsevolod Pozdeev and Belarusian-Ukrainian musician Zhenya Veliko, whose story can also be found in this project.
Participatory virtual exhibition
A traditional storytelling concept translated into a digital format and enriched with user-contribution features. The SO-CLOSE virtual exhibition is a platform that aims to offer versatility to cultural institutions and to promote a collaborative approach through crowdsourcing initiatives, empowering communities to share heritage elements in selected exhibitions.
All solutions developed during the project, together with a package of information and training materials, are available free of charge, interested organizations and institutions are welcome to contact us: email@example.com