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Disputed Territories and Memory (DisTerrMem) was a three-year EU-funded Horizon 2020 project in which an international team of researchers from six organisations would collaborate to explore the management of competing memories of disputed territories across borders. But because of COVID-19 treats and limitations to travel the project was extended by European Commission another 2 years, so the total duration of the project will be 5 years and will last till January 2024.

Disputed Territories and Memory (DisTerrMem) is a five-year project funded by Horizon 2020, the European Union’s biggest research and innovation programme.

A pressing international challenge

Dealing with competing and often antagonistic memories of disputed territories remains a pressing challenge not just within the EU, but globally.

Territorial disputes are major causes of international conflict. Their impact on societies and individuals continues to be felt long after the political resolution of the conflict. How the past is collectively remembered and understood plays a key role in framing the current perspectives and identities of communities, cultures and individuals. This, in turn, affects the potential for future dialogue, understanding and peace.

A new and innovative approach

The novelty of the DisTerrMem project lies in its intention to explore the management of competing memories in non-conflictual ways in the context of peace-building, rather than seeking to impose shared interpretations of history that fail to take into account the identities and interests of the diverse parties involved.

Working across three key regions (Europe, South Asia and the South Caucasus), the project will explore the roles of nation states, regional organisations, civil society groups and cultural practitioners in managing diverse memories, and will culminate in the development of a new and innovative model for understanding the successful management of competing memories of disputed territories. The project will identify and promote examples of best practice, which will be relevant to policymakers, civil society organisations, cultural practitioners and academic researchers across a range of contexts.

DisTerrMem’s six partner organisations are:

The University of Bath (UK), the University of Warsaw (Poland), Borderland Foundation (Poland), the National Academy of Sciences (Armenia), Educational & Cultural Bridges (Armenia) and Forman Christian College (Pakistan).

The project was launched in February 2019 and will conclude in January 2024.