Dialogue Department

Educational Work

One of the main and most varied tasks of the Dialogue Department is to educate visitors about the permanent exhibition. By organising guided tours, discussions and project days, and by advising school projects - to mention but a few examples - the Department effectively relates the history of the National Socialist genocide against the Sinti and Roma to present-day discrimination and racism.

The Dialogue Department is also responsible for maintaining and running the mobile exhibition on the history of the holocaust against the Sinti and Roma. In the meantime, the exhibition has been seen in more than thirty towns and cities.

At present, the Department is developing a new concept for the Centre's educational work and broadening its scope. In our exhibition, we attach great importance to "active learning". This means offering visitors a variety of learning experiences, including projects and one-day seminars. We are currently preparing printed educational materials designed for use in the Heidelberg exhibition and at various memorial museums.

Anti-Gypsyism

In collaboration with local and national institutions and other co-operation partners, the Department regularly holds conferences, seminars and advanced training courses for teachers on the subject of "anti-Gypsyism". In this context, we critically examine and discuss stereotypes, clichés and prejudices in literature, encyclopaedias and films.

This part of our work is based on the results of many conferences on the genesis, structure and function of "Gypsy" stereotypes that our Dialogue Department has held in co-operation with experts from Germany and other countries. So far, the main focus has been on literature - from the classics to children's and young-adult books and encyclopaedias - and on analysing the impact of film. Since the days of the silent movies, film, as a mass medium, has always played (and, unfortunately, continues to play) a major role in disseminating old and new anti-Gypsy prejudices.

Music and Craftsmanship

The Department stages musicological conferences, where it reappraises the multifaceted cultural contributions, especially the wide variety of musical styles, of Sinti and Roma minorities in many European countries. The central themes here are the relationship between Roma and Viennese classical music and the important role played by Sinti and Roma music in the development of jazz and flamenco. The Department prepares reports on these conferences and makes them available to the public.

The Department also coordinates events in the Centre's six-month programme, especially those of a musical and cultural kind, including concerts, exhibitions and excursions. The Department has also run a popular revolving exhibition on violin making - an important contribution to documenting this traditional Sinti and Roma craft.