The HIMIS multiplier event of the university of Freiburg took place in the historic Peterhofkeller. 45 participants from schools, teacher training institutions, public authorities and refugee support networks discussed the HIMIS and possibilities of mainstreaming. They enjoyed the videos from partner schools and engaged in group activities applying a new tool to map one’s own value priorities and compare them with those of others.
When hearing the words ‘inclusion’ most of us think about a task for refugees and others with migration background to integrate themselves into an open and plural society. But integration can only succeed to the extent as the local population is also open for people who are different and for cultural diversity.
The conference concluded that culture of memory and Heritage Interpretation can contribute a lot for this task – especially in partnering with schools. Cultural heritage can reveal the deep historic roots of Europe‘s fundamental values. They are founded in experiences of non-values such as intolerance, discrimination of minorities, disregard of human dignity, inequality or despotism – experiences which shaped the history of every town and every region.
All participants were enthusiastic about the potential of the HIMIS approach to foster social inclusion and European cohesion was very valuable, There was a strong view that that it should be mainstreamed, but also practical obstacles were discussed. The biggest obstacle: there would be too little freedom and too little staff resources to integrate a one school year long trans-disciplinary problem-solving project with students as co-creators into the formal teaching structures. Schools have to follow curricula that are structured according to school subjects with pre-defined learning outcomes. Nevertheless, possibilities were explored to offer the HIMIS teacher training course as a CPD offer at one of the training institutions and to exploit elements of the HIMIS approach for regular teacher training programmes.