münster’s HISTORY FROM BELOW
The project, münsters GESCHICHTE VON UNTEN (münster’s HISTORY FROM BELOW), being shown as part of the münster 07 sculpture project by Silke Wagner in co-operation with the Environmental Centre Archive Association in Münster, consists of two parts. Part 1: the 3.4 m tall concrete sculpture by Paul Wulf which stands in the centre of Münster and which acts as exhibition space for the project münster’s HISTORY FROM BELOW. The sculpture will be placarded every four weeks with documents from the Environmental Centre Archive. Part 2: the digitalisation of parts of the Environmental Centre Archive and the launch of the website: www.uwz-archiv.de.
- 16th June – 12th July 2007
Life story and socio-political work of Paul Wulf
- 13th July – 9th August 2007
History of squatting in Münster
- 10th August – 6th September 2007
Political censorship of texts in Germany from 1970 to the present
- 7th September – 30th September 2007
Anti-nuclear movement in Münster
Digitalisation of sections of the archive material and setting up of a website
Located in the backrooms of the Don Quijote Intercultural Centre (formerly the Umweltzentrum, UWZ) in Scharnhorststraße 57 in Münster is the UWZ Archive (social movements archive). Here a workstation has been installed to digitalise the archive material that will remain in place after the completion of the project. Digitalising material on the aforementioned themes and setting up a website were begun within the lead-up to skulptur projekte münster 07. The archive’s already existing online catalogue will also be integrated. The basic idea is to make material available that is unobtainable elsewhere – for example in city and university libraries – and to keep alive the alternative tradition of a history from below. This can only be achieved in the long term by digitalising the archive. Digitalising and making available the material on the Internet represents an attempt to generate a new audience for the archive. At the same time, the website provides concrete information supplementing the billposting actions and an opportunity to “visit” the project and sections of the archive without having to be on site.
THE PROJECT’S BACKGROUND
Urban public space is also constituted by those city residents who refuse to passively submit to those purely economic interests seeking to repossess urban space and actively reorganise public space. Actions, protests, and information events articulate a variety of socio-political interests, while the various journal projects (meanwhile gravitating towards Internet utilization) emerging out of the social movements provide a forum space for information and political positions which are not represented in the mainstream media. This creates the basic prerequisite for a critical analysis and examination of the foundations of contemporary society. The materials documenting the history of the social movements and their campaigns are therefore an important source for understanding social developments and form a counterweight to the politicised information disseminated by mainstream media and the privatisation of the information marketplace.
Researching and accessing the documents and materials of the New Social Movements is often difficult because the only locations where the diverse array of material is deliberately collated are the archives set up by the movements themselves. They document the history of social commitment and its disputes, controversies, and conflicts as well as that of social movements, mainly in the form of writings from the so-called grey literature. In library science the term grey literature covers books and other publications which are not distributed through the normal channels of the book trade. They are books, pamphlets, handbills, and journals from the ranks of citizens’ initiatives and socially committed groups.
There are several large archives devoted to these movements in the German-speaking world, including the UWZ archive in Münster.