Collaboration is one of Houshamadyan’s primary objectives. We would like for our website to be a space where everyone can have the chance to add and participate in reconstructing the Armenian heritage of the Ottoman Empire.
We would particularly like to collaborate with schools or other educational institutions where school-aged adolescents attend. The objective is to include adolescents in reconstructing a memory.
How to characterize the collaboration?
In the case of schools, collaboration can be achieved through working with teachers of different subjects (such as history, geography, religion, music), who in turn will enhance collaboration with the students. Guided by the instructions of their teachers, students would try to find subjects/items in relation to memory in their own environment (old photographs, various objects, testimonies, songs, recipes, etc), which would all be correlated with Ottoman Armenians. The students would then represent all material in all detail in written form.
First example: let's assume that a student has found an old watch in his/her environment which dates back more than a century and whose owner was from Marash. The student must find out the owner's name, his/her date of birth and death, the date of leaving Marash, and the person's subsequent cities of habitation. He/she must also try to find out the history behind the watch. Was it a present? Where was it found? Etc.
Second example: the student has found a person in his/her environment who has learnt lullabies from Erzurum/Garin from his/her grandmother. It is necessary to record these songs and to find out the grandmother's name, her biography in summary, to get her photograph, and to get info on the person currently performing the song.
Third example: the student has discovered an old recipe in his/her environment which comes from Urfa. It is necessary to write down the recipe, to find out who passed it on (probably a grandmother or a great-grandmother from Urfa), to present the biography of the person who passed it on and his/her photograph, and also to give info on the person currently preparing this dish.
Fourth example: the student has found an old family photograph taken in Harput/Kharpert. The identities as well as the dates of birth and death of those in the photograph must be clarified. What did fate have in store for these people, are there survivors from 1915? It is also necessary to clarify where the people in the photograph later lived.
All material found by the students must be well photographed or digitalized with a high resolution. During the whole collaboration process, the Houshamadyan team can guide/instruct the teachers and the students via skype. When the occasion arises, members of our team can be personally present in the given institution and thus take part in the activities taking place.
What is the purpose of the collaboration?
It primarily has an educational objective. Through innovative means, the student gets to know/discover a historic, religious and cultural heritage, which in this case pertains to the Ottoman Armenians.
The objects found by the student -the old photograph, the recorded song or the recipe noted by him/her- are primary materials, which at the same time carry a memory. As such, each object is also closely connected to the history of its owner or owners. Through these objects we get to learn about the life of an Ottoman Armenian family and we also get to find out what destiny befell them. The student must note down the family microhistories. It is through the study of these individual lives that students can better understand the various stages of the history of the Ottoman Armenians.
Songs, recipes, festive traditions; all these must be topics of discussion in the classroom. The Houshamadyan team is ready to participate in such discussions through skype.
Through such research and discussions, the student personally participates in the process of the reconstruction of a heritage.
Our team will later place the material provided by the student on the Houshamadyan website, making the student's participation in reconstructing a heritage more evident.
How to start collaborating?
The direction/administration of the educational institution must firstly contact Houshamadyan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Later the various stages of collaboration would be set by both parties. Collaboration is possible with both Armenian and non-Armenian educational institutions.