By Lorenz Widmaier & Myrto Theocharidou
Knowledge Hubs are demanding events in terms of their organisation and coordination, and it can be challenging to make them interesting and useful for the participants. It is a week of daily meetings and activities where all fellows and their supervisors come together, and their individual projects – their similarities and differences become visible under the prism of POEM. Especially for KH6 which was organised by the Cyprus University of Technology team, finding and redefining common conceptual axes among fellows’ research was the primary purpose having the POEM model as central theme. The process for rebuilding and enriching our model started in October (2020) when we all contributed to a working document on model building. Starting from this working document, the KH hosts and the POEM project management created a synopsis template to retrieve more individualized and empirical insights from the fellows‘ research. In this template all questions started from the conceptual understanding of the terms as defined in the working document. Thus, the KH preparatory task for the fellows was to complete the synopsis template and examine the synopses of the others. The KH hosts created a local website of the synopses as a solution to bring all answers together. This made it easier to read and explore the answers, and to find connections among them.
The synopsis document was organised into 5 conceptually themed groups: 1) Doing Memory practices, 2) Participating in, opening up, and including through memory practices, 3) Using digital/non-digital media infrastructures for making participatory memory practices, 4) Creating publicness and debating public issues through participatory memory practices, 5) Organising and institutionalizing participatory memory practices. This categorisation led to 5 discussion groups in KH6, which examined the synopses with different lenses. On day 1, the questions were examined under the lens of Memory Institutions, day 2 was dedicated to People and Groups, and finally day 3 to Memory Modalities. Echoing fellows’ demands for discussing in small groups (of 2-3 people) across the scientific work packages of POEM led to rich discussions. Each day, each group wrote an abstract to summarize these discussions.
Supervisors, who met with the fellows at the sum-up session at the end of each day, had an important role for intergenerational knowledge production of the network and provided important further impulses. Our aim as hosts of KH6 was the elicitation of the empirical observations and insights for developing the POEM model. The abstracts as a practical outcome will help to advance this development in upcoming meetings.
A discussion for the future visualisation of the revised POEM Model started at the KH6 and a working group of fellows and supervisors are committed to developing it further by proposing a new visualisation in the next several months. Some creative ideas were already posed by the fellows, from a tree like model to slight tweaks of the current structure. In the months to come, Dr. Peter Schubert and Nils Geib will be facilitating the validation of the tweaked POEM model through a social economics seminar for master students this spring at UHAM. A discussion was held on the final days of the knowledge hub to discuss this process, and the POEM network extends our gratitude for their interest and collaboration in this part of our research. The rest of the fellows and supervisors formed another working group and will work on the realisation of the toolbox and develop the tools ideas that have been proposed by the fellows. These tools will be tested and prototyped during the next knowledge hub (KH7) at the end of June 2021.
Based on the feedback we received, the KH6 structure and tasks also aided the researchers to review their own research process and findings, and to reposition them within the POEM context.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, no face-to-face meeting was possible in Cyprus. However, a Cypriot evening took place the third day of the KH6. All the fellows met together (In front of their screens) and chit chatted along with the Cypriots delicacies and Zivania (Cypriot spirit). To compensate for the missed activities in Cyprus, which are hopefully only postponed into the future, we sent a small taste of the island in a gift box, hoping to facilitate a cozy virtual KH.