In January of 2013 a meeting took place in Yerevan among 4 participants from Turkey and 5 from Armenia who discussed in more depth the future steps to take to implement the project. This meeting was an opportunity to agree on interview methodologies and a common strategy for editing the stories that would be collected, as the main theme of the first year’s project was storytelling. It was decided that the interviews would take place from within the group and move outward, so that each participant would interview another participant and also be interviewed, and then more interviews would be conducted outside of both the immediate Turkish and Armenian teams, with a focus on communities in Armenia and Turkey.
In April (2013) the group in Turkey and the group in Armenia held simultaneous storytelling/oral-history workshops, each in their own countries with their respective participants to better prepare for conducting interviews. Following the oral history workshops a methodology was agreed upon: each participant would interview another participant within the in-country group and then each participant would go on to interview one more woman in her own community. An initial cross-group interview was conducted with participants from both countries. This interview was dealing primarily with how each side sees the other and the personal experiences of the Armenian participants with how they have been taught about and perceived Turkish women and vice versa was the topic of conversation. Read these interviews here: www.linking-our-stories.blogspot.com The individual interviews that followed all dealt with the broad topic of sexuality, entailing everything from marriage, relationships, sexual orientation, sexual violence, love relationships, masturbation and more.
Finally, in July, 6 participants from Armenia and 4 participants from Turkey met in Sirince, Turkey for ten days to discuss the interviews they had collected, to collaborate on a joint production of a performance based on those interviews and to hold workshops on conflict transformation and theater techniques together. The final performance was attended by approximately 60 audience members, most of them young people from a nearby village, but also older people participating in other workshops and residencies at the Madrasa Theater. The performance was held in two languages, Armenian and Turkish, with a background screen that simultaneously translated into Turkish (for the audience) what the Armenian performers were saying.
Watch our first meeting in Sirince, Turkey!