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The Online-Archive of Women's Voices
The online-archive "Women, Memory and Meaning allows access to the voices of women in violent conflicts. The website presents videoclips of interviews with women and additional material about their life and their communities, and will also offer background information about the subject of women in violent conflicts.
The project will in the long run not exclusively focus on Northern Ireland - we are already pre-organizing shootings in Albania and Palestine and have established networks with women in both countries.
The purpose of the archive is to document women's stories in regions affected by violence and war, and to help to write their stories into history. Friederike Bèrat developed the concept of this archive in 2009.
She had been invited by various organizations to Palestine, Israel and Albania in order to work on art projects with women. While travelling, she realized that many women longed to talk about their experiences in wars and violent conflicts but were discouraged to speak out. They were living in silence, coping with feelings of shame and isolation on their own. This silence prevents women from different conflict regions from learning from each other, and it also forestalls support for their needs.
Bèrat also noticed that while the social and cultural background of the women was very different, their stories displayed many similarities. Therefore, exchange among women from different regions would be clearly beneficial to them. They needed to share their experiences and coping mechanisms. But these women have very little possibility to travel and do not speak a common language.
The online-archive shall allow global access to the women´s stories. One of the primary goals of the archive is to faciliate exchange about trauma and coping mechanism among the women themselves. Another important goal is to create access to the documented stories and experiences for a broader public throughout the world and to make the public aware of the situation of women in (post)warzones.