Report for on the Creative Dissent Zoom workshop

May 20, 2020

Like many of our fellow colleagues in academia, WG3 was forced to postpone its conference Creative Dissent. Alternative Cultures during Socialism and Beyond planned for late May 2020. The organizers – Katalin Cseh-Varga, Martin Klimke, Burcu Peksevgen, Rolf Werenskjold and Marko Zubak – decided to realize a one-day Zoom workshop in order to begin and to deepen the dialogue between the participants of the future conference and edited volume. This way we hoped to keep the continuity of working together despite the interruptions caused by the global pandemic.

We have had invaluable contributions from the arts, alternative ways of living, unlicensed print cultures and also from the film as a dissenting activity. Participants from across the globe addressed issues of how protagonists could challenge socialist regimes creatively by acts of repurposing space, media and ‘expected’ lifestyles. Border-crossings of people, items and knowledge were key to nuance the understanding of eastern European dissent during the Cold War. Actors and media of alternative cultures were imbedded into communities that invented modest, sometimes extreme modes of disobedience. Special attention was given to personal histories, the complex relationship with the respective socialist state, and to events, places and media that served as creative-intellectual hubs. Our debates not only put an accent on how we can re-think public spheres in the former Eastern Bloc but also on the importance of historical source criticism. The organizers look forward to continue these explorations and fruitful disputes during the conference in autumn this year.


May 20, 2020



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