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Sharing experiences
Monument Lab in Berlin

Monument Lab Fellows and Goethe-Institut Staff during Research Trip
Shaping the Past Research Trip, Monument Lab and Goethe-Institut, 2019 | Photo: Monument Lab

This year, Monument Lab is working with the Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Agency for Civic Education on Shaping the Past, an extension of their Fellows Program through a transnational cohort, a constellation of exhibitions, and a forthcoming book featuring the work of memory workers across North America and Germany.

Over the summer, we traveled with members of their 2019 Fellows cohort to Berlin for a research trip. We met with memory workers, cultural organizers, and public space advocates, touring both prominent and grassroots sites of memory.

The week culminated in a group think tank, observed by graphic artist Johanna Benz, exploring the layers of trauma and transformation made evident in navigating through Berlin. Benz rendered observations, anecdotes, and revelations in a way that channeled the powerful thoughts of the Fellows.

  • Title Page - Memory Workers Graphic Recording © Johanna Benz, graphicrecording.cool, 2019
  • Graphic Recording: Taking the History of People © Johanna Benz, graphicrecording.cool, 2019
  • Graphic Recording: Space is physical space. © Johanna Benz, graphicrecording.cool, 2019
  • Graphic Recording: Uplifting Voices © Johanna Benz, graphicrecordings.cool, 2019
  • Graphic Recording: Deconstruct Monuments © Johanna Benz, graphicrecordings.cool, 2019
After the trip, Current Fellows Joel Garcia and Cheyenne Concepcion reflected on their time spent in Berlin, especially around the ways the formerly divided city offered a site to engage borders and monumentality back in the U.S. In short writings, Garcia pondered narratives of freedom and manifestations of white supremacy, while Concepcion inquires about the (after)lives of border walls as sites to reckon with legacies of division.