The project “Nonviolent Communication Approach in Adult Education in Historical Museums and Memorial Sites” is entering its final phase. On 25–27 April, the partners met at the headquarters of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw for the final training meeting.
In 2020, four organisations – the POLIN Museum from Poland, the Mémorial de la Shoah from France, the Žanis Lipke Memorial from Latvia and the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia from North Macedonia – formed a consortium to initiate a project entitled “Nonviolent Communication Approach in Adult Education in Historical Museums and Memorial Sites”. Over more than three years of the project, we have held a series of meetings, both online and at the premises of our various partners, during which we have learnt about and practised the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) approach developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg. At the end of last month, we met for the last time to discuss ways to use the NVC model in our work, with a special focus on people with disabilities. The seminar was led by Magdalena Malinowska, a certified NVC trainer.
An important element of each training meeting was the opportunity to learn about the historical context in which the institution hosting the seminar is operating. That is why the April seminar began with a lecture by Prof. Dariusz Stola entitled “Polskie dyskusje o Zagładzie” (“Polish discussions about the Holocaust”). The speaker introduced participants to successive events in wartime and post-war Polish history, which raised the issue of the attitude of Polish society towards the extermination of the Jews taking place before its very eyes, starting with the “Protest” proclamation by Zofia Kossak in 1942.
Afterwards, the seminar participants went to the permanent exhibition at the POLIN Museum, where the guides Julia Chimiak and Katarzyna Jankowska prepared a specialised guided tour for the participants: first of all, they shared with them their experiences, the difficult questions that are asked during the tour, which relate in particular to the history of the Holocaust in occupied Poland, pogroms against Jews in Polish lands, and the assimilation processes of Polish Jews. These examples became excellent material for practising skills in the model of Nonviolent Communication.
The training meeting in Warsaw was held a few days after the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. As the POLIN Museum is based in the heart of the former Warsaw Ghetto, the programme also included a walk around the surrounding memorial sites (including the numerous monuments around Ghetto Heroes’ Square, historical murals in Muranów, and archaeological work on a nearby construction site of a residential house), led by genealogist and head of the Historical Information Section of the POLIN Museum, Matan Shefi. At the end of the day, participants visited the E. Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute. Małgorzata Smreczak from the Education Department talked about the Institute’s activities and its permanent exhibition “Czego nie mogliśmy wykrzyczeć światu” (“What we could not shout out to the world”).
The third day of the training meeting was devoted to a meeting with Wioletta Jóźwiak – Senior Accessibility Specialist at the POLIN Museum. Wioletta Jóźwiak talked about her experiences of working with people with disabilities. Using examples from her practice, participants reflected on the application of the Nonviolent Communication model in working with parents of children on the autism spectrum and people who are digitally excluded.
The April seminar was the last in a series of training meetings within the project. Currently, the partners are working on the final publication. The publication will include an introduction to Nonviolent Communication, as well as ways to apply this model in working with audiences in historical museums and memorial sites, but also other cultural institutions. Through examples from the work of project participants, we want to show how useful Marshall Rosenberg’s method can be in our everyday work. The publication will be published this summer. The partners are also planning further activities to disseminate the results of the project after its completion.
The Project is co-funded by the European Commission as part of the Erasmus+ ProgrammeThis publication was prepared with the financial support of the European Commission. It reflects only the views of its authors. The European Commission and the National Agency of the Erasmus+ Programme are not responsible for its substantive content.