Part of the War or Memories program series
“Gentlemen, this is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years!”
tranzit.hu invites high school history teachers for a historical simulation game*.
*A simulation game is a method that can be applied to simulate complex, real systems, and is used most often as a tool of learning.
The topic of the program: the peace treaties closing the First World War.
The program will be in Hungarian.
The script: In the framework of a workshop realized in Budapest, participants will take on the roles of the delegates invited to the peace conference and will represent their interests.
The program consists of two segments: in the first part, based on the descriptions received on the spot (compiled by the game’s initiators, the German Planpolitik group), participants, according to their designated roles, reenact the Paris Peace Conference as close to historical accuracy as possible.
In the second part, participants are given the freedom to decide in accordance with their roles and their own perspectives, and they reenact the conference once again. The result of this renegotiation can differ from the historical peace treaty, potentially putting more emphasis on the interests and positions of the losing Central Powers and Hungary. Thus, an alternative treaty is created, the outcome of which is dependent upon the decisions and lobbying capacities of the participants, but it could potentially be a—fictitious—attempt at establishing a more stable political order in Central-Europe.
This simulation game is a quest for alternative solutions for the most relevant issues (war debt, rebuilding economies, questions of territory and ethnicity, taking responsibility/collective guilt, self-determination, etc.) that re-emerged just a few years after the peace treaties, and went on to play an important role in the breakout of the Second World War.
The aim of the program: We are organizing this event in order to explore a number of issues: How do emotions come to play a part in remembering historical events in contemporary Hungary? What are the consequences of the fact that this specific historical event, so tragic for Hungary, had not become the topic of public debate for decades? As a result of silencing, tabooing and political re-appropriation, the Treaty of Trianon has been passed on to the following generations as a historical trauma. This is one of the reasons why we turn to history teachers: we are looking for participants who, during their teaching practice, might have had to face the challenge of taking a stand in this issue on a daily basis.
We see this game as a methodological experiment that gives us the potential to reflect on our prejudices, and to make an attempt at deconstructing historical taboos and our own bias.
Practical information: The program 1,5 – 2 days long, and will take place in Budapest with 20 – 25 participants.
Time: April 17-18, 2015 (Friday and Saturday).
The simulation game will take place at tranzit’s open office (1068 Budapest, Király u. 102.)
The organizer, tranzit.hu, will cover the transportation and accommodation costs of participants coming from outside of Budapest, and will also provide a per diem.
Who we are: tranzit.hu is a contemporary art program that has been running since 2005. Its projects focus, amongst others, on the role of contemporary art, its forms of mediation and its social responsibility. In 2014, for example, Art Under a Dangerous Star, an international series of events and exhibitions, explored the current task, position and responsibility of contemporary art within authoritarian political systems. In the Artists at Schools project, running since 2012 as a collaboration between schools and contemporary artists, students can create projects as equal partners to artists.
The simulation game is part of the project The War of Memories (curated by Dóra Hegyi and Zsuzsa László), which is an international collaboration and a series of events that looks at interconnections between memory politics and collective historical memory, taking the Treaty of Trianon as a point of departure. The simulation game of the peace treaty negotiations will be followed by an international conference in May 2015.
Who are we looking for? We are looking for history teachers with an adventurous spirit, who would be happy to participate in a two-day workshop, are ready to take on the perspectives of other nations’ delegates, to reason in their interest, and are interested in an alternative historical outcome in relation to the peace conference.
If our program is of interest to you and you would like to take part in the reenactment, of this historical event, please send us the completed application form and a letter of motivation no longer than a page (max. 4000 characters) until March 13, 2015 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In your motivation letter, please summarize why you would like to take part in the program, what your expectations are, and how you could utilize the possible conclusions as part of your practice as an educator.
The event will be recorded on video for documentation purposes. The participants give permission to tranzit.hu to use this video for its artistic and academic programs in the future.
After the event, we expect participants to prepare a 1-2 sentence report in which they summarize their experiences.
Participants will be selected mainly on the basis of their motivation letter. All applicants will be notified by March 6, 2015.
Image: Rezső Vértes: Hungary’s Bouquet. 1920s.
Source: Miklós Zeidler: Zeidler Miklós: A magyar irredenta kultusz a két világháború között (Hungarian Irredentism Between the Two World Wars). Budapest. 2002.
The program series War of Memories is part of the project FORMER WEST, Culminating Phase: Edits, Annotations, Proposals project supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.