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15,000+ Czech students to participate in the Festival of Freedom on the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

Roughly 100 schools and 15,000 students will take part in the Festival of Freedom organised to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Czech 1989 Velvet Revolution

Prague, Sept 3 (CTK) – Roughly 100 schools and 15,000 students will take part in the Festival of Freedom organised to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Czech 1989 Velvet Revolution, Post Bellum organisation spokeswoman Michaela Szkala said in a press release.

The students will be able to experience an interactive installation titled Fragments of the Revolution, take part in commemorative projects or directly participate in the activities of the Post Bellum organisation by entering the witness accounts of their family members or neighbours into the Memory of the Nation database.



The Festival of Freedom is a joint project realised by the Post Bellum organisation, the ‘Diky, ze muzem’ (Thanks that we can) student initiative and the Nerudny fest non-profit organisation.

The project brings together events that are active in the commemoration of the Velvet Revolution and tries to educate students as well as adults.

One of the projects, the Fragments of the Revolution interactive installation, will allow participants to listen to the stories of direct historical witnesses on their mobile phones.

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The organisers plan to present Fragments of the Revolution at Prague’s Narodni trida and Mustek metro stations. The installation will be accompanied by workshops aimed at students as well as the wider public.

The organisation is focused on student activities and young people will thus be able to join drama circles or experience various roles during a game that takes several hours. One part of the workshops is a simulation of real-life situations.

“They play the role of a given character, but they can choose freely and think about how they would act in that character’s shoes. During the four-hour roleplaying game workshop, for example, they will be able to gain insights into the collectivisation of a south Bohemian village, the preparations of a 1949 anti-communist coup, enter the dissent and samizdat culture of the 1980s or experience the gradual changes of the social atmosphere in 1930s Czechoslovakia,” Szkala explains in the press release.

Students will also join in the process of recording entries into the Memory of the Nation database. They will be able to try out the software used to produce videos and their output will be a recording of a historical witness’s description of events.

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Since 2012, 764 Czech schools and about 5,000 students have participated in the project, documenting the stories of 1,151 historical witnesses.

“We are preparing a special programme for schools and we are also trying to motivate high-school students to organise an anniversary event at their schools themselves. At our website, teachers and students can choose films, workshops, discussions and teaching materials,” Post Bellum education director Magdalena Benesova said.

According to its authors, the pametnaroda.cz portal is the largest such witness testimony database in Europe. Founded by Czech Radio, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and the Post Bellum organisation, its database holds roughly 30,000 audio recordings and 70,000 photographs from 10,000 witnesses.

bas/dr/pvr

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