MEMENTOES brings together museum experts and game developers to create immersive, accessible games that bring the history of specific sites to the fingertips of a global audience. Read on to learn more about the museums and game developers involved in the project, and for updates about their work.
Le Bois Du Cazier is a former coal mine and UNESCO world heritage site which has stood in Belgium for 200 years. It’s most famous for its recent history—a 1956 mining disaster which took the lives of 262 workers. The disaster’s connection to today is clear—the victims were migrant workers who laboured in unsafe conditions for a highly profitable extractive industry. Le Bois Du Cazier’s exhibits focus on migrant workers, workplace safety, energy, and extractive industry, encouraging visitors to reflect on and engage with these subjects in the world today.
Causa Creations is a Vienna-based game developer that brings together game designers, creatives, and political communications specialists to produce games that immerse players in contemporary issues. They’ve created games designed to educate players about nuclear energy and colonialism, and others which immerse users in the Syrian Civil War and the lives of precarious workers. Causa employs different types of storytelling and technology in their games, which have won a number of prestigious awards.
Together, they’ll create a game which brings players into the world of Le Bois Du Cazier in the 1950s, around the time of the disaster. The game will centre the experiences of the workers and encourage players to connect this historical disaster with the challenges facing labourers today.
Inspired by the experience of children who survived the Bosnian war, the War Childhood Museum collects oral histories and artefacts from those who grew up in conflict. By collecting the stories of individuals, the museum empowers survivors to discuss their experiences and creates a digital archive that allows museum visitors to learn about the regular people caught up in conflict. In recent years, the museum has added collections documenting other conflicts, including those in Syria and Ukraine, as well as running campaigns on child refugees, survivors of wartime sexual violence, and children and genocide.
Charles Games is an award-winning game developer based in Prague. They produce serious games that put users in the shoes of regular people living through historical events, focusing on themes of justice, reconciliation, and morality during conflict. They’ve produced games which cover the Second World War, using personal memories and archival footage to depict the Nazi occupation from the eyes of survivors. Charles Games has a track record of humanising complex histories by centring the perspectives of everyday people in successful games.
Together, they’ll create a game which uses historical storytelling and the testimonials in the War Childhood Museum’s archive to depict past injustices from the perspectives of the individuals who’ve survived them.
Gulag.cz is an association commemorating the victims of Soviet oppression by focusing on the gulag system. They stand out in their field; by leading expeditions to the ruins of gulags in remote corners of the former USSR and conducting extensive archival research, they’ve uncovered information about the gulags and the individuals within them that was previously lost to historians. They’re committed to accessibility, hosting an online museum and making all of their research publicly available on their website by creating an open database, interactive archives, and digitised renderings of gulag sites. They also create immersive games allowing users to interact with historical sites, host exhibitions, and produce documentaries.
The Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory of ICS-FORTH focuses on scientific and technological innovation for social and economic good. The Greek laboratory focuses on developing user-friendly, accessible, and interactive technology. They have years of experience applying this work to museums and historical education, creating virtual museum guides leading tours in sign language, digitising historical sites, and developing online tools to aid historical education. Central to their work is a recognition of the importance of cultural institutions to contemporary life and a commitment to developing technology which can facilitate social justice and growth.
Together, they’ll create a game which builds on their experience using technology to facilitate historical storytelling and immerses users in the lived experiences of individuals imprisoned in the gulags.
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