International & Interdisciplinary Symposium

27-29 May 2019, University of Turku, Finland


While, on the surface, it may seem that the international community has made significant progress in acknowledging violent pasts and their toxic legacies in terms of collective traumas, rarely has the vanity of “Never again” been as undeniable as it is in our current social reality. An unknown number of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre remains unburied, and increasing numbers of refugees have been coming to Europe since 2015 (including survivors of Mosul in Iraq and Aleppo in Syria as well as threatened Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar); yet, we continually break our promise to never forget. Consequently, we face threats to peace, unemployment, shattered democratic values through radicalized and nationalistic governments, and increases in hatred in different forms of intolerance, specifically Islamophobia. As university teachers, we witness young generations feeling disempowered, apolitical, and passive toward these challenges; although students at the higher education level are well-informed and educated, knowledge of our past and our society are rarely applied outside the campus. Alongside the privilege of working with such students comes the responsibility to address this challenge and contribute to the training of active global citizens. Although learning about the darker aspects of our pasts has now been widely incorporated into history syllabuses, our understanding of collective traumas must go beyond cognitive recognition and classroom explanation. Can we create and develop educational platforms to better equip our students for their voluntary engagements in communities to work for sustainable peace and a discrimination-free, tolerant society? Can we connect knowledge and experience from different fields, including non-formal and formal sectors of education, non-governmental workers, professionals from memorial sites and museums, local and global activists, artists, and engaged individuals, to raise awareness of common shared histories and toxic repeating patterns? Can we learn together about the importance of remembering to avoid repeating history’s darkest parts and emphasize its efforts in sustaining the peace and well-being of people? How important is a deeper understanding of our own histories for stopping the potential transmission of collective traumas through transgenerational dialogue? If we have learnt anything from the slogan “Never Again,” it is that words are not enough; only through learning by doing (as experiencing) and in collaboration with different actors can we better understand our own role and importance in civic and democratic participation.

This interdisciplinary international symposium seeks to bring together a group of scholars, artists, activists, practitioners, experts from memorial sites and museums, and other engaged individuals to reflect on the concealed hatreds, prejudices, and normalized oppressions that are learnt through unhealed and transmitted traumas, which are perpetuated daily through seemingly harmless everyday practices. It also seeks to determine how we can successfully break this pattern through systematic experiential learning.

We especially welcome creative and experiential ways of addressing the theme through learning by doing, active participation, and engaged dialogue among all participants and across all disciplines.

Topics considered for presentation may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Topics related to the theme of transmission of collective traumas and education

    • perpetuation of collective traumas through/by the educational system and the long-term effect of collective traumas and contemporary challenges in Europe and beyond
    • #Never again: (in)effective uses and appropriations of the slogan in both online and offline campaigns
    • (effective) teaching methods for breaking the cycles of violence
    • supporting traumatized students in the classroom
  2. Topics related to the use of experiential methods in teaching remembrance and trauma transmission

    • methods and tools that use both the body and emotions
    • service and in situ learning
    • digital and blended education
    • art-based education and tools
    • practices of project- and problem-based learning
    • inclusion of survivors, perpetrators, and witnesses
    • building a dialogue between historically divided communities
    • comparative perspective on impacts of traditional versus experiential learning
    • comparative perspectives on non-formal versus formal educational practices

The above list of topics is not exhaustive, and the symposium committee will consider other topics and approaches that are related to the main themes.


November 15th 2018 Call for Abstracts

January 15th 2019 Deadline for Submissions

February 15th 2019 Notification of Accepted Submissions


Individual Papers

Abstracts with title and keywords should not exceed 250 words.

Panel Submissions

The title and an abstract for the whole session should be submitted, and it should not exceed 200 words. Abstracts for each of the component papers of the session not exceeding 150 words, including titles should be submitted. Panel should consist of no more than 3 presenters.

Round Table Discussions

Round Table sessions should consist of no more than 4 speakers. A single abstract with a clearly defined focus and not exceeding 300 words should include the title, theme and the question to be explored. Roundtables, that ask provocative questions, explore new intellectual frontiers and open up theoretical and/or political discussion that might inspire new perspectives will receive priority. Participants in Round Table discussions are expected to prepare their remarks in advance and should not read papers.


Workshops will be scheduled for the same length of time (and a maximum of no more than 2 hours) as panel and round table presentations and should not have more than two discussion leaders. Abstracts should be submitted with a title, and a clearly defined objective and background information of the workshop and not exceeding 300 words.

Artistic contribution

There is no limit for format, and genre of the artistic work (video, theatre, poetry, visual arts). The art work has to be related to the main theme of the symposium and has to demonstrate educational potentials. If the work is in a language other than English, it needs to be subtitled or other ways of translation should be provided. Abstracts of 250 words should be accompanied by other materials that help to characterize the nature of the work.


Submission deadline for all contributions is January 15, 2019. Please send your submission to:


For any queries, please contact:



There is no participation fee. Participants facing economic difficulties, can apply for financial support. Limited number of small bursaries to partly cover travelling and accomodation is available.