Memory Awakened – Voices from Below

The project aim is to involve people from the countryside (village, small town, medium-sized town), ordinary people in reflecting on their past (life under communism 1944-1989) and put their own stories in the public debate, looking for reasons of silence, non-participation, alienation and melancholy.

Period: 2005 – 2008

The voices from below are voices of people from the periphery of the system, performers of prescribed roles who were trampled or privileged by the system, people who have failed to conceptualise their life experience and are therefore still helpless in the changing times.

The project has three components which are not only mutually complementary but also follow a logic of deeper investigation of the problems in question: oral history, reflective seminars, open competition THIS IS MY PAST.

Oral History

Three teams of interviewers, using a predesigned questionnaire and following methodological instructions, will record, during informal discussions, the life histories of people of different ages and with different roles in the historical events related to communism in 3 places (the village of Gorna Bela rechka, Northwestern Bulgaria, Koprivstiza town, Central Bulgaria, Rousse in Northern Bulgaria)

Reflective Seminars

The reflective seminars will be held in the same places where oral histories were recorded, and they will be attended both by the respondents and by new participants.

The seminars will use the experience of the project team ‘I have lived socialism (www.spomeniteni.org) and of the GOATMILK memories festival in Bela Rechka – www.goatmilk-fest.com

“This is my past”

Small grants will be given to people who share private diaries, written accounts, unpublished or rejected by publishers memoirs concerning communist times.


The project was supported by the MATRA-KAP program of the Dutch Embassy.