Kaja Širok

Historian, Director of the National Museum of Contemporary History

  • My organization:
    The National Museum of Contemporary History

  • Examples of concrete activities I have organized/am organizing in the field of “dealing with the past”:

    1. Conference: Museums and Contested Histories. Between Memory and Oblivion. (organizer, coordinator, speaker), in Ljubljana, 5- 7. October 2017

    2. Temporary exhibition: Temporary border. Living and Longing in Zone A (1945- 1947). (curator), in Ljubljana, September 2017- May 2018

    The exhibition marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of the western Slovenian border. It is devoted to an outline of existential relations in the area of the Julian March before 1947 and, through the memories of the inhabitants, reveals the complex relations in the region during the Allied Military Government (1945-1947).

    3. New permanent exhibition: Renovation of the Ex-Yugoslav Pavilion in Auschwitz. (National Coordinator)

    Part of the working group connected to the creation of the new permanent exhibition in the renovated ex-Yugoslav pavilion. The renovation is still going on, the group of experts is working on the content and narrative.

  • Concrete challenges I am facing in my “dealing with the past”-related work:

    In recent years, I am more interested in museums and visual memory construction, how historical events are interpreted through monuments, landscapes and museum presentations. Museums are places where historical events are materialised in visual narrations, with social and cultural clashes of the interpretation and visions of our recent ‪history. I believe that giving a space to all different narratives is of the utmost importance, and to that end, shaping exhibitions in a way that ‪‎encourages visitors to participate.

  • My personal link to/interest for the topic of “dealing with difficult pasts”:
    As a historian working in the field of contemporary history, the history of borders, memory studies, life in the time of wars and aftermath I am interested in how we as a society remember/ forget the past and the structures of memory formation (not to forget the dark side, oblivion). As a museologist, I am interested in how to share different stories on same events through exhibition design, how to use the participative approach and how to create shared “understandings” on different interpretations of the past.