European Commission selects RePAST project as Research and Innovation success story

The European Commission has selected the RePAST project as one out of six success stories of EU social sciences and humanities funded projects. The selection of RePAST reflects the high quality of research work done at Vesalius College and the Institute for European Studies (IES). Prof. George Terzis conducts research for the project on the role of art and cultural diplomacy in conflict resolution and writes policy recommendations for an EU strategy on the above with the engagement of a large number of stakeholders. The project has already received coverage in quality European press and it was the only one awarded funding in one of the most competitive EU H2020 calls in 2017 (CULT-COOP-02) where 63 consortia competed. 

RePAST is a Horizon 2020 funded project that aims at investigating how European societies deal with their troubled pasts today through the analysis of conflict discourses rooted in those pasts, with a view on the impact of those discourses on European integration. It implements actions and proposes strategies, both at the levels of policy-making and civil society, for reflecting upon these discourses to strengthen European integration. It also takes into account how the current crisis in its multiple forms (economic crisis, refugee crisis, political crisis) mediates these narratives.

Case studies are being conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Kosovo, Ireland, Poland and Spain. ‘We want to understand what aspects of various difficult legacies live on in a problematic fashion today and create obstacles to the integration and relations of the various populations in Europe,’ says project coordinator Dimitra Milioni of the Cyprus University of Technology. ‘To do so, we are investigating how conflict discourses are being formulated and disseminated in the public sphere.’

The emphasis in the project, which is due to end in October 2021, will now shift from data collection to data analysis, and to the production of resources and recommendations for policymakers – both in the REPAST case study countries and at EU level – and civil society organisations such as non-governmental organisations invested in peacebuilding. Other target audiences in areas with a bitter legacy include tourist guides, for whom REPAST intends to organise seminars and produce e-learning materials. Another tool under development is an online game that fosters players’ ability to assess historical information. Several adaptations of the game, which is primarily intended for schoolchildren, will be developed to suit different ages and national contexts.