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Current Initiatives

the guestbook project

Since 2010 the Guestbook Project has been visiting and documenting several deeply divided communities—including Mitrovica (Kosovo), Derry/ Londonderry (Northern Ireland), Jerusalem (Israel/Palestine), Bangalore (India), Dokdo (Japan/Korea) and the Mexican-American border (El Centro). The aim is to bring together young students, artists, social workers and community leaders in a series of events, which enable them to encounter each other across political, religious and cultural divides. These events involve an exchange of stories between young members of opposing communities and are digitally recorded, posted on-line and discussed in internationally linked blog sites and web forums. Guestbook invites young people across war-torn or conflicted communities to witness and work through their ongoing histories of hospitality and hostility in videos, documentaries, conferences and music/ art performances. Central to the project is the transforming of trans-generational trauma, the crossing of enemy lines and the remaking of history as story. Through a process of empathic narrative exchange the project aims to convert invisible wounds into visible scars, silence into speech, enmity into empathy. The ultimate goal is to create a ‘global classroom without walls’ where adversaries are invited to become hosts and guests to each other.

The Guestbook project works in co-operation with the Teaching Divided Histories Project in Northern Ireland (in partnership with the Nerve Center in Derry/Londonderry) and the Divided Cities in Transition program directed by Padraig O’Malley.

Guestbook Announces Hospitality Youth Prize

‘Exchanging Stories – Changing Histories'’

In Spring 2015, Guestbook will be awarding an International Prize for the best video of exchanging stories between youths in divided communities. The Prize will go to the most imaginative and inspiring digital project that represents the creative overcoming of divisions between opposed traditions, religions and cultures. The goal is to have both parties 1) tell their respective histories of enmity, and 2) retell these stories in a way that creates a shared future from the past.

The videos will be digitally made and not exceed five minutes. An international jury will judge the competition and the prize will be awarded by a well-known figure at a ceremony at Boston College. The winners will be flown to Boston for the award where they will screen their work and engage in conversation with students from the BC/Guestbook Seminar on ‘Narrative Imagination: From Hostility to Hospitality’. All applicants will participate in the Guestbook interactive website and blog where the competing videos from divided communities throughout the world are posted.



Sample Video