Historical introduction to EPIC

Photo: Matej Vidmar

Yesterday and today, the conference of Slovenian historians is taking place in Nova Gorica. “We are delighted to welcome you, because you are living proof that our projects are already underway, and together with you we can announce our central project EPIC, the European Platform for the Interpretation of the Century,” were the words of welcome for the historians from Stojan Pelko, Head of Programme of GO! 2025. He added that, of course, this is not our only history project among the more than eighty we are developing. It is closely related to the Museum of the Border, to the documentary filmmaker Anja Medved with whom we are developing Memory Ambulance and Archive Brigades, to Blaž Kosovel who will take us through the history of the creation of the city from the beginning, to Ab Initio, and we could go on and on.


The meeting of historians, museologists and archivists is also an opportunity to discuss the opportunities that the European Capital of Culture brings to Nova Gorica. Among them is certainly EPIC, the epicentre of memory, according to Dr Kaja Širok from the School of Humanities of the University of Nova Gorica. It is a platform for unlimited remembrance, through the concepts of all the identities that make up the space of Goriška and beyond. The challenge lies in how we will show and present the pain of the other, which is by no means an easy topic. Thus spoke Katja Širok yesterday evening at the Cultural Centre at the round table “THE HISTORY OF THE BORDERLANDS TODAY – Understanding and Challenges of the European Capital of Culture 2025 Nova Gorica – Gorizia”, which was also attended by Dr. Alessandro Cattunar from the association Quarantasettezeroquattro (47/04), dr. Marko Klavora, curator of the Goriški muzej, Dr Federico Tenca Montini from the Institute for Historical Studies of the  the Science and Research Centre Koper, and Dr Marta Verginella from the Department of History of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana.


The speakers agreed that the border history of the 20th century is complex and cannot be told in a concise manner, and that personal accounts can be very useful for interpretation, but only if they are evaluated correctly. They also mentioned the famous Report of the Joint Italian-Slovenian Cultural and Historical Commission, which was prepared more than 20 years ago and which represents a valid and professional basis for border history and symbolises the desire for good neighbourly relations. Today, Dr Verginella emphasised, we are witnessing a new genealogy of Italian political parties that do not leave border history to historiography, the Italian Ministry of Culture is giving guidelines that are extremely problematic. Dr Verginella advocates an egalitarian neighbourhood and favours civic attitudes over national ones, but certainly advises us to finally replace our own view with, as Carlo Ginzburg would say, “the eyes of a horse”, which are different and also offer a different view.