Participants

Individuals, museums, researchers, government officials and volunteers who are engaged in telling live lessons, and ordinary citizens and organizations who support such activities are all welcome to participate. (NB: “Telling Live Lessons” in this Forum refers not only to oral story-telling but also to other indirect ways such as photographs, audiovisual materials, writings, remaining items, artistic works such as music and pictures, monuments, memorial parks, etc.)

Themes

Overarching Theme

Passing on disaster memories: While the number of those who personally experienced the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake is decreasing 25 years after the disaster, the area is facing a critical point as to whether the activities of telling live lessons can continue in the same way as they have been. On the other hand, there are some areas where memories of disaster experiences have been inherited well over centuries. Disaster-hit areas may deepen exchange and jointly address the challenge of fading of disaster memories.

Sub-themes

Strong power of telling live lessons: The words that a person puts forward based on what actually happened to him/her carry very strong power for outreach. So do items remaining and materials related to disaster victims. Recipients of such messages understand with strong empathy the fear, anxiety, sorrow and regret that victims had to undergo, or gratitude for communal warmth that was felt more profoundly than at ordinary times amid very severe situation. How can we make better use of such emotional power and help victims restore hearts and minds, and eventually turn it into the power of revitalization of communities and reconstruction of devastated areas?

Conditions of telling live lessons: Conducting the telling of live lessons does not necessarily emerge spontaneously. Many disaster survivors naturally do not wish to recall painful experiences. Even though live lessons from disasters are greatly valuable to society, disaster survivors cannot be forced to do it. How can we foster the sprouting of spontaneous conducting of telling live lessons? How can international cooperation among disaster-hit areas contribute to promotion and continuation of telling live lessons?

Methodologies of telling live lessons: Methodologies of telling live lessons are greatly diversified. Direct oral story-telling, photographs, audiovisual materials, left-behind items, music and pictures and monuments are all effective media for telling live lessons. Even those with no personal experience can sometimes communicate very effectively on behalf of actual victims. Some disaster-hit areas succeed in passing on disaster experiences and lessons over generations through seasonal events in local communities. The way of telling live lessons may have to change as time passes. How can the ICT that drastically transforms ways of communication impact the way of telling live lessons?

Role of museums: While the impact of telling live lessons is very strong, each way these activities are conducted is fundamentally subjective and fragmented. Certain entities such as public authorities tend not to disclose unpleasant lessons. While valuing the impact of each specific experience, various kinds of information needs to be organized carefully so as to ensure that the complex process of disaster from response through reconstruction is understood comprehensively. This is where museums with good curating capacity may play an important role. They may also be able to exercise institutional capacity to lessen the risk of the fading of disaster memories. How can museums contribute to telling live lessons in their unique ways?