On Thursday 25 May we continued with our work with the archives. As users of new technology and digital platforms to widen access to historical documents, we attended a day-long workshop Els arxius històrics en l’entorn digital (Historical Archives in the Digital Age) which is being organised to celebrate the centenary of the Arxiu Histórico de Barcelona.
We participated in a session on the representation and visualization of data drawn from historical sources.
In addition to presenting our project of developing a centralised database listing the victims of the Spanish Civil War, on which we are currently working, we will be discussing Eight Hundred Days Under Bombardment, our project originally produced for Barcelona Televisió. This includes an audio-visual summary of the bombardment of Barcelona in 1937-1938 as well as an interactive map of air-raid shelters and of sites where bombs fell.
Following changes at Barcelona Televisió this is currently only available in an Italian version. Perhaps because, as they say in Spanish ‘nobody is a prophet in their own country,’ Eight Hundred Days Under Bombardment can therefore be viewed on the website of the exhibition Catalogna Bombardata, which has been shown in nearly 70 cities and towns in Italy, but not in its original Catalan version.
Here is the programme of the day:
During the research on the Spanish Civil War which Innovation and Human Rights has been carrying out for the last few months we have found interesting sources which we plan to share here. One of them is the major online work on Las Corts Prison (La Prisón de las Corts). This women’s prison which stood in Avenida Diagonal is marked only by a sad plaque on the facade of Diagonal branch El Corte Inglés.
Among the many women imprisoned here in the period after the Civil War was Tomasa Cuevas (1917-2007), author of several books on the experiences of women prisoners and on the anti-Franco resistance, who was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi by the Catalan government in 2004. At the moment the city of Barcelona has placed a plaque to her in a Civic Centre in the neighbourhood of Las Corts. If you follow the links below you can read
a summary of her life,
as well as her own testimony and
These will enable you to draw your own conclusions as to whether you think the city should speed up the long-delayed process of providing a permanent monument as a more fitting tribute to her as demanded by ACME (Associació per la Cultura i la Memòria) and other organisations.
Innovation & Human Rights is starting a blog to publicise interesting new initiatives and to share our work.
One of our projects is #GuerraCivil #opendata: this will be a central database of disappeared persons and victims of the Civil War, based, wherever possible, on specific documentary sources. In this we enjoy the cooperation and support of the Associació d’Arxivers i Gestors Documentals de Catalunya. We aim to base this on material drawn from the widest possible range of available sources documenting the deaths which occurred as a result of the Civil War and the Franco era.
Therefore we were present at the XVI Congrès d’Arxivística i Gestió de Documents de Catalunya held in Reus between May 4th and May 6th with a major article in the review “Lligall” in which this project is further explained. This article will be published soon on our website.
The availability of archives and open access to them are of fundamental importance: for democracy, for transparency, for open government and for high quality historical research. In the case of documentation related to the Civil War and the repression which followed, such access may also be regarded as a debt owed to the descendants of the victims and to society as a whole.