1. Example of innovative practice (Czech Republic)

Stories for human rights is joint research project initiated teachers and researchers from the Faculty of Humanities Charles University. The project Collective supported by the Norwegian grants currently consists of people with the experience with institutionalisation, researchers, artists, musicians, journalists and others with interest in experimental storytelling. 

Project focuses on stories of people who have spent long period of time in various „homes“, psychiatric hospitals and other asylums. Collective jointly listens to such stories, record them and retell them in different media:

  • web site www.zivotnipribehy.com (in Czech) to introduce the project, issues and story tellers
  • series of podcasts to share the stories with general public
  • comics book to retell the major events story tellers wanted to capture and re-tell
  • exhibition of the art works and concerts of the story tellers’ band
  • articles and Life stories monograph

Together the project participants look for ways to tell the stories as best as they can, caring for both the emotions accompanying storytelling and the broader impact. Cooperation is an important part of the story. No story stands by itself, all are born from narrating and listening. All are parts of other stories.

By re-telling the stories, the Collective wants to broaden the space of shared memories in the Czech Republic. Most of the stories have never been told before publicly. Every story is different and will have different impact. But they have, or so it seems, at least one thing in common: they are born out of common human desire to speak, to be listened to, to break silences which sometimes hurt. The re-telling of the life stories for human rights aims at creating discursive and political spaces favourable for exploring better versions of cohabitation, as well as point to concrete ways of breaking the silence engulfing lives of people with disabilities.