The digital collection Outcast Europe is a thematic collection that brings together content related to migratory and refugee experiences, including the digital copies of the material objects that were gathered during the homonymous project, which was co-financed by the programme Europe for Citizens of the European Union, and sponsored by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The Outcast Europe project was implemented from September 2017 to February 2019, by the following non-profit organisations:
- Inter Alia (Athens, Greece),
- Uspelite (Sofia, Bulgaria),
- International Organisation for Migration Hungary (Budapest, Hungary),
- Youth Alliance Krusevo (Skopje, North Macedonia),
- Organisation for Aid to Refugees (Prague, Czech Republic),
- Vojvodina Civic Center (Novi Sad, Serbia).
During these 18 months, a group of approximately 30 people (both staff members and volunteers), in cooperation with collectives and citizens across and within Europe, gathered objects and stories of migrants and refugees in relation to the following historical events:
- Greece: Asia Minor Catastrophe (1922),
- Bulgaria: Fall of the Socialist Regime (1989-1990),
- Hungary: Hungarian Revolution of 1956,
- North Macedonia: Gruevski Regime (2006-2016),
- Czech Republic: Prague Spring (1968),
- Serbia: Yugoslav Wars (1991-2001).
In the framework of this participatory / crowdsourcing project, more than 100 objects were gathered and presented in physical exhibitions that took place in all 6 countries, culminating in the final exhibition that was organised by Inter Alia, in Athens (Greece).
The final exhibition titled “The Europe of Outcasts” took place from 4 to 27 October 2018 in Bageio Hotel (Omonia square), under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, and with the support of 8 communication sponsors. The exhibition was enriched with side-activities (music and poetry nights, book presentations, and screenings of short films), and ended with the conference “Prospects and Challenges from the Migrant Crisis”, attracting more than 1,200 visitors from various cities and countries, and promoting the interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral dialogue on the topic of migration and enforced movement.
Before the organisation of the final exhibition, Inter Alia digitised the objects that were collected for the creation of the printed catalogue of the exhibition, as well as for the website of the project. In addition, in the spirit of open access to culture and knowledge, but with respect towards the European citizens who lent their objects and narrated their stories, Inter Alia published the digital copies of objects and their metadata under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution – NonCommercial – ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license, in order for them to be freely reused for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Starting from the current migration crisis, and exemplifying the personal and familial stories of European citizens who were forced to flee during the recent past, the Outcast Europe project focused on microhistory as a complementary way of understanding the migratory and refugee experiences, highlighting both their similarities and their differences, and offering motives and stimuli for self-reflection. Moreover, the project proved that migration is an important element of European history, memory and heritage — and from this standpoint, the digital collection Outcast Europe contributes to the reframing of the phenomenon per se, while shedding light and bringing together different cultures and people.
Based on the outcomes and conclusions of the Outcast Europe project, Inter Alia decided to encourage: (a) the continuous enrichment of the digital collection with objects and stories of migrants and refugees, and (b) the continuous expansion of the themes and the geographical routes that the collection covers and presents. In light of this decision, Inter Alia deemed useful and necessary to redevelop the existing website, as well as to enrich the collection with more historical, social and cultural information, and to (re)frame it with thematic exhibitions and e-learning activities.
The website was redeveloped and enriched from October 2020 to June 2021, in the framework of the project of digital culture “(Re)Collecting Outcast Europe”, with the economic support and under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports. The project was implemented in cooperation with the digital media enterprise PostScriptum, which -due to its expertise in the fields of digital culture and cultural management as a participatory process- developed and embedded the suitable digital and crowdsourcing tools for the continuous enrichment and reuse of the collection by wider audiences.