Individuals and society are significantly impacted by global trends and developments. The family, usually seen as the most fundamental unit of society, is also impacted by trends and changes on a worldwide scale. Traditionally, family dynamics were structured in a way to allow the older family members to share their wisdom and experiences with the younger generations, while also setting the family’s standards and values. Family structures, on the other hand, have evolved from single units to more complicated and engaged ties as a result of social and economic developments. Nowadays family is also seen as the group of people we chose to be our family, regardless of the traditional understanding of family as the people connected through the same bloodline. Also, younger generations are sharing their experiences and knowledge, especially on new technologies and new social dynamics with other family members.
More than any crisis of the last decades, the COVID-19 pandemic has redefined inter-generational relationships on a global scale. From its effect on mental health and increased abuse rates to its disruption of education and the whole economy. Some even argue of the generation gap, sometimes even among generations close to each other, is the most toxic scar of the pandemic, only widening the gap between already existing inter-generational groups. The pandemic did, however, increase the need for our understanding and empathy for those who experience loneliness and broader relational disconnection, but it also revealed the depth and breadth of our personal, societal, and national loneliness, highlighting the need for stronger inter-generational connections.
Since many problems caused by the generation gap are the result of the lack of communication, and proper interactions with the addition of the different ways, tools, and communication technologies that every individual generation use, Fellows Maida Zagorac and Hana Halilbegović (2022 Copenhagen Fellowship) believe that the project can address those issues and present them in a way that is encouraging different generations to take a step forward to bring a positive change in bridging the generation gap. Through a visual representation of the different inter-generational relationships, and inter-generational differences, as well as the things that connect us and their importance to the BiH society they will reflect on important challenges that the country is facing. These challenges would be easier to overcome if different generations would invest more effort and patience to understand each other, learn from each other and work together.
The main goal is to strengthen the cultural and historical bond between generations, raising awareness of the effects of alienation and non-understanding among different generations by putting the focus on the importance and value of bringing the generations together in the first place.
Fellows plan on collecting 10 different personal stories and presenting them in the form of an open museum with the help of specifically designed banners and totems to commemorate the importance of family and inter-generational connections. The stories will be collected through a widely promoted online survey, but also the interviews and conversations with the different generations of their family members, friends, and their family members. The additional interviews will be conducted with professionals who are working in social and health care institutions with the most vulnerable members of our society.
The open museum will be presented in two different places in Sarajevo, where people, especially the youth, will be able to visit and rethink the inter-generational connections they are nurturing with their loved ones. The open museum will be interactive and one aspect of it will be the opportunity for everyone who visits to share their own story in a safe place and to discuss their experiences and challenges with the museum curators. One of the museum totems will be empty and a place for visitors to share their personal stories.
Additionally, this activity will be followed up by the online museum as well. The online survey for gathering the experiences will be permanently open and a special e-mail address will be created for people to share their experiences and stories on realizing and combating the generational gap. These stories will be published on the online platform of the Bridging the Generational Gap Museum and will be a place where different generations will be able to meet, discuss and learn from each other to create a more sensitive society for all.