The last days of July have traditionally become the time for young people to gather at the “Europe Lab” Forum. The fifth (anniversary) edition was hosted on 24-28 July 2019 in a place playing a significant role for Europe we live in today – the twin cities of Gorizia and Nova Gorica in Italy and Slovenia.

1947 and 2004 are landmarks in the history of the two: Between these years, the border separated not only two countries but also two political systems, families and even private gardens. In joining the EU in 2004, the border became more and more ‘invisible’.

This significant spot was the most fitting venue for 50 young people from 19 European countries to discuss borders in the present and past: They went on memory walks around the cities curated by our hosts of the 47/04 Association, met Anja Medved, a documentary film maker with her own approach to reflect the life of people in Nova Gorica and crossed the border every morning to get from a Slovenian hostel to an Italian Palazzo.

Apart from that, participants attended three intensive workshop sessions on the highly relevant topics of “European identities”, “Climate Change and New Forms of Civic Activism” and “Topographies of Memory”.

‘We discussed different methodologies to explore historical memory in urban spaces and put them into practice,’ said Samuel Fernández Pichel, a workshop coordinator from Spain. ‘We showed how a combination of research and arts may be a very illuminating approach to unveil memories from the past. Participants developed this approach to outline their own projects with a focus on citizens’ perspectives and vernacular memories across European national borders.’

Participants of “Europe Lab” developed 12 project ideas which – thanks to the programme donors, the European Commission and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, – will  get a chance to be funded and implemented until spring 2020.