List of workshops

Gastarbeiter Story

Part of the exhibition: Yuga, my Yuga

Subject teachers: sociology, history, civics

Target group: high school students and the final grades of primary school accompanied by a teacher

Workshop duration: 60 minutes

Workshop description: The starting point of the workshop presents the exhibition itself, so the first part of the workshop, after getting acquainted with the Museum, is dedicated to touring the exhibition with an interactive approach that encourages all participants in dialogue and active involvement.

In the beginning, the participants will have the opportunity to learn about the definition of the term Gastarbeiter. First, they will share their associations by writing on a sticker a word that, according to them, describes guest workers in the best possible way. Reading all the stickers will serve as a pretext for a discussion about prejudices related to guest workers, the widespread opinion about them in society, but also about the professionals that have only recently realized the importance of the topic. Hereby we will also focus on the participants’ experience of museums, on themes that, according to them, museums need to deal with, and the contrast seen in contemporary museum theory.

The initial part of the workshop, which includes a tour of the exhibition, will focus on two segments: People and Self-historization. The segment People shows life stories of Gastarbeiter. These stories have the outlines of the modern (anti)fairytale, in which many people had the opportunity for a happy ending, but not without sacrifice and permanent scars. Through personal belongings and memories, the participants of the workshop will be able to look, in the best way, at all aspects of the guest worker life torn between the deep extremes of sadness and well-being, major deprivation versus success, emphasizing the context in which, like never before in history, a worker could afford to live in their own castle. Next, the tour continues through Gastarbeiter stories in the segment Self-historization made of fragments of the finished exhibitions on the organization of social life, clubs of Yugoslav workers abroad, as well as the installation that shows a living space of Dragoljub Trumbetaš, a former guest worker, and a recognized artist nowadays. The aim of this workshop is to encourage empathy and oneness with the theme of the authentic life story, but also to shed light on certain aspects of working and living abroad, which are often out of sight.

The second segment of the workshop builds on the broader context of leaving the homeland in search for better life and work. The idea of this part of the workshop is to address the pressing social problem of brain drain and the latest survey by the World Economic Forum in which Serbia is on the first place in the world when it comes to departure of professionals who want to work in other countries. This topic will be initiated in the form of a debate in which one party has a duty to show all the advantages of staying in Serbia, and the other to highlight the main reasons for the desire to go abroad. All participants will be randomly divided into two groups and represented by one party, regardless of personal views. Documents and objects exposed in the segment Traces, found in historical and media archives, such as newspaper articles, letters, audio and video materials will constitute the framework for preparing the arguments of both sides, but also, participants will be encouraged to show creativity and to complement the archive material with examples from everyday life. The aim of the debate is to initiate discussion among the target group to which this issue is especially relevant and to encourage it to think about the pros and cons of leaving the country.

After the presentation of both sides, a discussion that summarizes the main themes of the workshop opens, but also encourages all participants to share their impressions of the visit to the Museum.