Our Past, Our Futures, a reporting workshop, 5-19-14

mem_histYears ago an Israeli novelist taught me a lasting lesson about memory.

Why, I had wondered, was childhood so important in his work?

He stared intensely at me. I was taken back.

“It’s because we are all monsters. As we rush forward, our heads are turned backwards,” he explained.

Ever since, I’ve understood that you and I and the communities where we live all live in the past as we rush forward.

We live flush with the memories that guide our steps.

And journalists especially need to remember the role of memory as we weave stories and search for connections to give them significance.

The memory of coming here from over there, of making a new life here, of finding a new meaning.

Or the memory of the pains suffered, the discrimination endured, the tragedies overcome. It lives with us and with the people and communities we tell stories about.

We’ll explore the role of memory and history for one community on Tuesday, May 20th, but it’s the process that really matters. That is, it’s the recognition that every community has a story imbedded in its memory and to ignore that story is to sidestep a way to connect.

We’ll be talking about how history and memory have played out in the story of Chile today. But we could also be talking about Bosnia or Rwanda or Mexico or Guatemala or on and on.

Our speakers are Hugo Rojas Coral, professor of sociology of law, the University of Alberto Hurtado, Santiago, Chile; Dr. Francesca Lessa, researcher in transitional justice and human rights, Columbia College lecturer Jeff Kelly Lowenstein and photographer Jon Lowenstein, who will present his photos of Chile.

We’ll meet at 6 pm at room 219, Columbia College, Congress and Wabash, Chicago.memory

So let’s talk about how memory is a critical part of our work. And let’s hear how you use it in your work.


talk to me – digame

steve@chicagoistheworld.org, 312 369 6400


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