Tabletalk will document, preserve and share the experiences of people who are an integral part of the food system, but have never been given access to the public stage on which this system’s history has been formed. Through oral history and archival practice workshops, interviewers, interviewees and the audience will share a democratic vision in which all voices are welcome and respected, ideas circulate, and information is analysed and diffused to encourage active citizenship and dialogue.
Larissa Municipality (city of Larissa and 19 villages) Thessaly, central Greece
Larissa is Greece’s principal agricultural centre and a place where all activities constituting the food system have historically concerned and shaped the local communities. The recent crisis has affected the relationship between locals and the food system financially and on a social, political and cultural level and destroyed the proper administration of public archives. So the challenges become:
-Rising of Euroscepticism, related to the food system before and after the country’s entrance in the EU
-Extreme polarisation within the community between conspiracy theories or complete apathy
-Unfair representation of “ordinary people” or people with protected characteristics in archives and in the public sphere
-Lack of stimulations for dialogue, exchange of ideas and cultural engagement
Democracy works when all citizens are given an opportunity for their voices to be heard and Tabletalk does exactly that. It invites people with diverse and even conflicting perceptions to take an active role and claim their right to deeply understand the society we live in, by exploring and documenting not only “heroes”, but also people from the anonymous crowd. The local communities who are so connected to their land and the food system, will “grow”, “harvest” preserve, “taste”and share valuable historical information. By using oral history and archival techniques, listening and talking will become inclusive actions that stimulate democratic dialogue and create a new narrative about the past, so people can reflect on it, face the challenges of the present and envision a better future.
The idea is ready to work for literally everyone:
Interviewers: every citizen interested in local history, university students, high-school teachers and their students, associations of minorities
Interviewees: Ordinary people and people with “protected characteristics” (age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity)
Audience: particular focus will be given to i)minority and underrepresented groups that are being socially deprived because of age, ethnicity, social and economical background, gender and sexual orientation and ii)young target groups that today have less and less connection to the archival process as well as the food system activities and their political dimensions.
Due to COVID-19 the project’s operation may change, but the following steps will be taken and adjusted accordinly:
10 workshops/trainings of oral history and archive practice, on information collection in our subject, open to the public to attend
Selecting interviewers according to ability and availability
<=100 oral history recordings and gathering of archival material
Recordings and material will be transcribed, summarized, scanned, edited and then stored online
Creation of the archive’s online environment
10 experimental theatrical performances and exhibitions using material from the archive, created with the communities, as example of the material’s for innovative projects
The major result will be an interactive, unique archive dedicated to the production, distribution, and household utilization of food and how crucial they are for human nutrition and health, documented as experienced by the locals. Rural communities will feel valued and respected through celebrating the significance of their experience and knowledge. People will understand that history is multidimensional and their role in shaping it, through active citizenship, is crucial. The dominant idea of archives as static, will be transformed to “safe spaces” where information is stored and used creatively. Tabletalk will be maintained by our team and our partners and its success will be the motivation of rural communities and the general public to participate, enrich and use it.
Modern archival thinking was established in Europe where archives have been formed as entities that uphold the democratic principles of inclusivity, accountability and transparency. Tabletalk takes this concept as its starting point and further develops it to correspond to the contemporary situations, interests and challenges. It will create a good practice on how oral history and archival practice can facilitate positive change and active citizenship in rural communities, while functioning as valuable sources for the public and the future generations. The online archive will be fully accessible from non-Greek audiences, as it will be translated in English, while we aim at creating a network of European organisations interested in similar subjects and archival practice and exchange ideas.
We believe that being inclusive and democratic is an ongoing process, rather than one-off actions. Through our experience we learnt that people, in order to be truly
engaged in active citizenship, need an actual, constantly evolving reference to return to. This will be the archive. Tabletalk is conceived as an antidote to the assertion that ordinary voices are not important, that marginalised groups have no knowledge, that archives are not engaging, that unemployment is a given outside big urban centres and that Larissa, as an agricultural place has no heritage. Our mission is to improve health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social) by stimulating dignity and self-confidence of the least privileged, and by promoting communication and understanding between diverse groups.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
ONLINE ENVIRONMENT: 9000
EQUIPMENT TRAVEL: 5000
OFFICE SUPPLIES: 1000
EDITING SOFTWARE: 1625
VOLUNTEER EXPENSES: 5000
IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS(spaces for workshops, co-working space, volunteer work from team members, Municipal space & work for housing the archive) : 13.000
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