A common space for dialogue on the future of the former infamous prison
On 12-14 June was held in Mirdita the first meeting for the CHwB project “Sharing Stories, Shaping the Future: Dialogues for Spaç “The project aims to create a common space for dialogue between the voices of institutional and individuals who have their own stories and experiences with Spaç. These multiple views on the meaning and values of this symbolic place of the repressive communist system consequently lead to different expectations for its future.
Conceived as a workshop, the meeting aimed to create a common basis of information to facilitate further documentation of the physical features and human stories related to the former prison. The group first visited Spaç. Following the site visit, participants gathered in Rubik to discuss their observations and impressions from the morning in site session. In addition, participants divided into groups and completed a SWOT analysis on the actual situation of the former prison. This activity allowed them to address their thoughts and to put into perspective the variety of possible approaches.
The second day of the workshop started with a debate on how the public actually perceives Spaç. Another important session of the workshop was the screening of video testimonies form former political prisoners in Spaç. These videos helped the participants to gather important information on Spaç through different time periods. While working in small groups, participants analysed the videos and were able to highlight the important places/facilities that were once part of the site, the stories/events as well as the described sensations related to the ex-prison environment. In the future these elements will serve as a knowledge base for further research or other useful activities. Finally, each group compiled a memory map based on all the discussions and information shared throughout the workshop.
During all the visits and the work process, the participants were actively accompanied by former political prisoners in Spaç, to whom CHwB expresses the utmost respect and gratitude for their precious contribution.
The workshop ended with a series of visits in Rrëshen and Rubik, in order to relax and to locate Spaç within the broader network of potential touristic sites of Mirdita.
The workshop format and its organization by CHwB were appreciated by the participants, which is indeed a good omen for the continuation of the project. The next steps will be the organization of Workshop II and Workshop III, which will respectively focus on the proposals for the future functions of the site and the action plan that will lead to the conversion of the site into a museum.
This project is implemented by CHwB and supported by Sweden and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.
For more information about the project you can follow the blog created especially for it at http://spacdialog.org/