Quick access:
Go directly to content (Alt 1)Go directly to second-level navigation (Alt 3)Go directly to first-level navigation (Alt 2)
Shaping the Past / Gestaltung der Vergangenheit

Innovative Forms
of Memory Culture

How does the past take shape? What happens in the process of coming to terms with the past? What social repercussions are associated with the rooting of history in monuments and memorials? How can those narratives be shifted or upended through alternative, innovative approaches to memorialization? These questions and many others are at the center of our project, Shaping the Past, a partnership between Monument Lab, the Goethe-Institut, and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (German Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb)
More on this project

Monument Lab Town Hall

Monument Lab Town Hall

On October 8 and 9 2020, we kicked off our project Shaping the Past with the Monument Lab Town Hall. Watch videos of the keynote conversations that took place, check out the graphic recording of the event and see the 2020 Shaping the Past fellows introducing themselves! More

Shaping the Past – post cards

Get a Set of Postcards!

With most of our events being digital, we still wanted to give you something tangible. Enter your address and we will send you a set of postcards with a selection of modern monuments and art in public spaces!
To the form

Memory Map

Throughout North America, we have developed local programs on topics of memory culture with our partners – accompanied by events both online and offline. Find out what's happening in your area, or participate digitally with events in other locations.


Historical memory is constantly shaped and reshaped by new interpretations of the past. Explore unique perspectives, nuanced arguments, and an examination of current events by scholars, activists, and the Shaping the Past fellows. 

Our Fellows

Our Fellows

The fellows for Shaping the Past come from Monument Lab's 2019 and 2020 fellowship cohorts and were selected from an applications pool of over 100 memory workers throughout North America and Germany with existing projects using art, activism, history, journalism, and other tools to approach monuments in their communities. Applications were reviewed by a jury representing the fields of art, history, and social engagement, who recommended applicants who demonstrated excellence, innovative processes and projects for public engagement.

Our Partners

Shaping the Past is produced in partnership with the Goethe-Institut, Monument Lab, and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education).

Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung Monument Lab Logo