The year 2022 marks the centenary since the largest refugee movement in the history of modern Greece. The arrival and settlement in the country of almost one million refugees transformed Greek society in a multitude of ways and ushered in a century of repeated refugee and migrant flows. The refugee experience of the 1920s constitutes a fundamental element of the social and political history of modern Greece, leaving an indelible impression on collective memory, historiography, urban space, and the everyday life of the country’s citizens.
The research project ‘100memories: Multifaceted research action for the physical and digital documentation and promotion of Asia Minor refugee memory’ endeavours to combine the historical research on refugee settlement and population movement to and from Greece from 1922 onwards with the application of innovative technological methods and tools. Its principal aim is not only to document, promote, and reconstruct the historical memory relating to refugee-migrant populations, but also to shed light on the manifold ways in which the history of modern Greece is interwoven with the refugee arrival and settlement of 1922 and all ensuing migratory flows to and from Greece.
The project focuses on four port cities which were central to the refugee experience (Piraeus, Volos, Thessaloniki, and Chania) and is targeted at their residents and visitors through in-situ physical activities, while also digitally addressing a wider public both in Greece and abroad through its bilingual website which will offer access to three innovative digital platforms.
The city lies at the heart of our research process; the city as a living space, a space for work and recreation, production and social reproduction, conflict and convergence. We attempt to compose a biography of urban places, starting from the ‘humbler’ sites of everyday life: a house in Ano Poli in Thessaloniki, a bench on a square in Nea Ionia in Volos, a pier at the port of Chania, a tailor shop in Nea Kokkinia. What stories do these places have to tell us?
It is on these small and ‘unimportant’ everyday places that we can find imprints and traces of the century’s great and ‘important’ stories; stories of displacement, war, political conflict and economic disaster intertwine with stories of labor, hope, and the struggle for survival. By grounding our approach in quotidian spaces, we view refugees and migrants as active subjects who are striving through individual and collective practices to rebuild their lives and, in the process, also rebuild the (new) cities they live in.
With the completion of the project in 2023, we aim to have created a space both physical (in the reference cities) and digital (on our website), where the refugee and migration history of Greece will be presented and documented through personal narratives of refugees and migrants, archival evidence, and material traces of the refugee/migrant experience, making historical research easily available to and accessible by the wider public.
Το ερευνητικό έργο υλοποιείται στο πλαίσιο της Δράσης ΕΡΕΥΝΩ – ΔΗΜΙΟΥΡΓΩ – ΚΑΙΝΟΤΟΜΩ και συγχρηματοδοτείται από την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και εθνικούς πόρους μέσω του Ε.Π. Ανταγωνιστικότητα, Επιχειρηματικότητα & Καινοτομία (ΕΠΑνΕΚ) (κωδικός έργου: Τ2ΕΔΚ-04827)