HUMAN: Developimg didactic methods for teaching about the Holocaust through drawing and critical thinking [ongoing]

Illuminating the Non-Representable

This artistic research project explores new methods to prevent racism and antisemittism among young people.

Transposing workshop- based methodology from the pilot project, that focuses on the Jewish tradition of commemoration through stones the pilot was developed in Lodz, Poland. Participants in workshops receive small parcels at the workshop entrance. Unwrapping the paper, instructions and agreement of consent is found on the inside, as well as an individual number. The instructions informs how the participants may contribute to the unveiling of information about Holocaust victims, and gives instructions for procedure: To grasp [1]  the stone and feel it becoming warm inside the palm. To make a drawing on the inside of the paper.

To pay notice to the number which corresponds to a list on the wall. Here individual information is provided: The name, age, gender and home address of the person commemorated. A name tag is provided to the stone and placed on a map. Participants may then photograph the stone and publish on social media using hashtags. The drawings and the stones remain in the property of the researchers and will be used for exhibitions and other relevant purposes. An anonymous user experience survey is the final stage of the workshop.

The new project develops in cooperation with Falstadsenteret, a human rights and democracy center in Trøndelag, Norway. 

The project builds on information about  Norwegian Jews deported from Trondheim in 1942. Creating an archive using theory from microhistory, the project explores colaboratory art methodologies as methods of change (Berman 2017). How can inquiry-based learning strengthen the links between teaching and disciplinary research (Spronken-Smith and Walker, 2010)? The exploration of drawing as tool for learning (Mäkelä 2007) will continue in this branch of the project. What are the cultural semiotic consequences when site-specific narrative is transposed to another place (Magid, 2012)? Which elements could be of significance in this transposition? (Torop, 2017)?  What ethical considerations should be taken (Guo, 2014)?

The project investigates new approaches of commemorating though drawing/illustration, as well as relation between object and participant (Moniker, 2016) and discusses memory and object (Jenkins, 2018). The exploration of the viewer as illustrator and objects as illustration is the expected outcome.

The project is a cooperation between Falstadsenteret and professor Hilde Kramer, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at the University of Bergen. Project leader is Sebastian Klein, Head of Education at Falstadsenteret. During the first symposium of the project on 19th of October 2020 he gives a presentation



Stones as starting-point for constructing a methodology combining learning  and commemoration 

Stones are closely connected to the act of commemoration in Jewish culture, and have been used for centuries in graveyards. Since the release of Steven Spielbergs film Schindler´s List  the use of stones as commemoration has spread also to all continents and also crossing cultural borders. But  stones are being used in commemoration also in cases not related to a Jewish context: 

32 dead, 32 stones  (Moniker, 2015) is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the shooting on May 7th, 1945 at the Dam Square in Amsterdam where a drunk Nazi-German soldier shot randomly into a crowd. The commemoration site was realized as a collective commemoration project initiated by Studio Moniker that is located at Dam in Amsterdam, Here the names of the victims are written with pebbles placed inside the pavement, and the design of each letter in their names has been ‘negotiated’ by visitors to a website. 

Czysta woda/ Clear water (Dobosz, 2018) is a graphic installation by Agnieszka Dobosz exhibited at the BWA gallery in Kraków, Poland in July 2018. Her project relates to family history; her second great grand-mother awaiting the return of the artists grandfather from a concentration camp. Collecting stones from a river nearby the family home, she exhibited them together with her own drawings on the gallery floor. In the description of the artistic installation on the gallery wall there is no explanation if the use of stones and reference to concentration camp should be understood as an art project relating to a Jewish context.





1. […] the knowing touch projects us outside our body through movement. […] There are tactile phenomena, alleged tactile qualities, like roughness and smoothness, which disappear completely if the exploratory movement is eliminated. Movement and time are not only an objective condition of knowing touch, but a phenomenal component of tactile data. They bring about the patterning of tactile phenomena, just as light shows up the configuration of a visible surface.

                                                          Maurice Merleau-Ponty1996



Berman, K. (2017). Methodologies and Methods of Change. In Finding Voice: A Visual Arts Approach to Engaging Social Change (pp. 9-20). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Retrieved November 3, 2020, from

Guo, H. (2014, 09 24). The Ethical Turn in Contemporary Western Semiotics. Retrieved from De Greuter:


Magid, S. (2012). The Holocaust and Jewish Identity in America: Memory, the Unique, and the Universal. Jewish Social Studies Vol. 18, No. 2 , pp. 100-135.


 Merleau-Ponty, M. (1996) Phenomenology of Perception. Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass, 1996, ©1945, p. 315.


Mäkelä, M. (2007) Drawing as a Research Tool:Making and understanding in art and design practice. Retrieved 02.11. 2019  from


Moniker, S. (2016). Place A Stone. Retrieved from Place A Stone:


Spronken-Smith, R. & Walker, R. Can inquiry‐based learning strengthen the links between teaching and disciplinary research? Retrieved from


Torop, P. (2017, 12). Semiotics of cultural history. Retrieved from


"If teachers are aiming for strong links between teaching and research, they should adopt an open, discovery-oriented range of important elements in the learning design, including the design of learning spaces and student assessments." 

                                                   Spronken-Smith & Walker 2010 



"If one could possess, grasp, and know the other, it would not be other."                                                                   

                  Emmanuel Levinas