Call for Proposals



Past:Forward Conference 
9-11 September 2019, Eindhoven & Waalre, The Netherlands

Past:Forward is an international conference about commemoration and remembrance, and will bring together young and emerging professionals from all over Europe who are specialized, involved or interested in this theme. Together we will address questions regarding what and how we commemorate, but also who is or isn’t involved and why we do it. The aim of the conference is to provide new ways for approaching the practice of commemorating and remembering in the future.

Erfgoed Brabant is preparing the event on behalf of Brabant Remembers, and is doing so in close cooperation with a team of 15 Dutch young professionals.

Reflect, rethink, remember
Past:Forward will mark the start of the celebration of 75 years of freedom in Brabant: in 1944 the south of The Netherlands was liberated from the Nazi-German occupation during the Second World War. Throughout Europe, the lives of people have been changed forever by decisions that were made at the time, which are still being felt today.

Since the end of the war, Dutch commemorations have been organized year after year at fixed times according to a largely fixed set-up. The provincial Commemoration of Brabant’s Fallen is no exception, and during the Past:Forward Conference, this commemoration will be treated as a case study.

We take this particular year as a turning point: we weigh the established ways of commemorating and celebrating, but we will also look at possible new approaches so we can build new future forms of commemoration after 2019. Together we will investigate the relationship with a broader European context. Hereby we also consider commemorating and remembering in relation to other conflicts and  genocides besides the Second World War. For this reason we are preparing a conference in which young professionals (18-35 years old) from all over Europe will work together with established professionals, in order to facilitate an international, intercultural and intergenerational meeting of minds and hearts.

Themes and research
-What are the backgrounds of the commemorations as they are currently performed? What motives were there to set them up? Have they been adjusted in terms of content and form over time, and how and why did this happen?
-What are the topics raised within the commemorations, and how do they relate to changed ideas about right and wrong, and the representation of different
-How can commemorations be organized in such a way that people from different generations and from different nationalities feel addressed and involved?
-Can commemorations be made future-proof, and how can we accomplish that?

Call for Proposals
We are looking for proposals for sessions from young professionals, students or volunteers between 18 and 35 years of age, who have a project or a specific approach they want to share with others. We welcome broad and creative interpretations of the conference theme, and from different kinds of disciplines such as: memory studies, oral history, (military) history of armed conflicts, education, archaeology, performed arts like music, dance and theatre, crafts, restoration (for example: war monuments and war vehicles), psychology, trauma studies, sociology and games & VR.

To build our program, we would like to receive proposals for sessions with different aims and durations. Our prevailing thoughts go towards the following categories:
-Presentation, 30 minutes
-Short presentation or pitch in which you use visual presentation, 5 minutes
-Workshop, 1 hour
-Demonstration of performing arts such as dance and music for example, 15 minutes

The overall scheme will merge into a highly interactive program, showcasing current projects and research on commemoration and remembrance in Europe and initiatives presenting new approaches. We base a large part of the program on your content, so feel free to contact us if you have ideas for a session outside of the mentioned categories. We will also devise concept for the program to inspire us along the way, such as a silent disco with life stories, pillow talks, reenactment, film screenings and inspiring guests.

Traveling to and staying in the Netherlands
In exchange for your ideas and effort, all organizational aspects of this conference, such as locations and food & drinks during the program will be taken care of. You will need to take care of and finance your own transportation and accommodation. If you or your organization meets (financial) difficulties in arranging this, please contact us so that we can collaborate in solving the matter. Since most of our conference venues will be in Eindhoven and Waalre, we advise you to stay in or close to Eindhoven. If needed, we can advise you on accommodation. 

Submitting your proposal
To participate in the Past:Forward Conference, please answer the following questions and send them to Anne-Wil Maris and Francisca Priem ( before 31 March 2019:

-Your name(s) and contact information
-Name(s) and contact information of your organization(s)
-Name of your session
-Type of session (presentation, short presentation, workshop, demonstration or other)
-A short outline (ca. 350 words) of your session in which you state which themes and questions you want to address, which methods you are going to use and the goals you have with the session
-A short motivation as to why you want to participate in the conference
-A list of the things you’ll need to run your session, such as beamer, Wi-Fi, tables, chairs, etc. 

The common language at the conference will be English. Because the program is for the most part determined by the type and number of proposals we receive, we may have to ask you to make adjustments in your session. We will always do this in consultation. Notification of acceptance will take place before 30 April 2019.

About the organization
Erfgoed Brabant is the knowledge center for the heritage field in the province of Noord-Brabant. We consult, coach and teach workers in the non-profit heritage sector, develop education materials for primary and secondary schools, organise symposia, publish a heritage magazine and much more.

In June 2018 we organized the four-day summit The Future is Heritage during the European Cultural Heritage Summit of Europa Nostra in Berlin. This was a program for European young professionals, and like Past:Forward, we worked with a team of Dutch young professionals who prepared and executed the event. Over 50 European young heritage professionals from 16 European countries presented their work and exchanged ideas about the future of the European heritage sector. These young people are the start of a European network that we want to expand in the coming years. During the organization of the Past:Forward Conference, we will use our experience with intergenerational work from The Future is Heritage.

Brabant Remembers collects stories about life-changing events in the lives of people during the Second World War (1940-1945). These stories are about major turning points at places in the province of Noord-Brabant. In context, these stories tell about the events during the war and its aftermath in society. More than 500 stories have been collected. Together with the Brabant municipalities and partners, the stories are translated into a cultural program under the direction of an artistic curator with the aim of making the impact of war and peace transferable, perceptible and tangible.

Do you wish to receive more information about the conference or your proposal? 
Please contact Francisca Priem, Project Officer,

©2019 Erfgoed Brabant