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23.06.2023

Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB (2023)

The exhibition "Reading during Socialism: the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria (PRB)" is available free of charge from August 2023 as a set of 24 exhibition posters measuring 70×50 cm. Created by the Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Germany, the exhibition also features  four panels on the cultural history of Bulgaria produced by the Sofia Platform Foundation, the Institute for Studies of the Recent Past and the New Bulgarian University.
The exhibition has been made possible  with the kind support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

You can order a free copy of the exhibition by filling out the online form: https://forms.gle/My2YMVSSJurxmcVy8

THE EXHIBITION
Do you know the mysterious smell of old books that wafts from the open dusty cabinets when you visit a library or a crowded antiquarian bookshop? A smell that reminds you of almost forgotten stories, brought to life as you flip through the books. The exhibition "Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB" not only provokes your sense of smell. The 24 exhibition panels containing texts, photos and videos invite you on a journey for all your senses through reading in  the GDR and the PRB, countries whose communist governments both believed in the power of the written word and feared it. Where reading and writing were generously encouraged, while in libraries politically undesirable literature was only available with a "certificate for handling hazardous materials" and where mail was inspected and tourists arriving from the West were searched. "Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB” tells of the stubbornness of people who didn't want to be told what to read, who queued up for rare books, and who secretly obtained some of the much-coveted West German editions at the Leipzig Book Fair.
 
The exhibition panels  will also take you into the world of crime fiction, fairy tales and science fiction; they tell the story of Soviet Union literature and of the amateur writers of socialist realism, and offer us a glimpse into old cookbooks. The exhibition sheds light on the contacts between writers on both sides of the East-West border, as radio, television, but also books  allowed the mind to travel around the world beyond the closed borders of the communist countries. The journey through time ends with the writers of the Peaceful Revolution and the recent past as a theme of contemporary literature. "Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB” is not only a contribution to the cultural history of the communist dictatorship in the GDR. There are four additional panels on the literary and cultural history of Bulgaria, as well as short video interviews with Bulgarian scholars and witnesses of the era that show the similarities and differences between the two communist regimes.

WHO IS THE EXHIBITION FOR?
Do you teach at a school or university? Do you work at a cultural centre, library or museum? Or are you involved with a public or private institution whose white walls could use some color? In any of these cases, the exhibition is made for you and your institution! The exhibition "Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB" is an easily accessible cultural and educational offer that you can easily display. The exhibition offers an ideal environment for projects with pupils and students, lectures, presentations, discussions or film evenings. "Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB" is a free resource to support your lessons and activities with a cultural or educational focus.

WHO IS BEHIND IT?
The author of the exhibition "Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB" is the historian and publicist Stefan Wolle, Director of Research at the GDR Museum in Berlin and one of the leading experts on East German history after 1945. The content, which expands the exhibition with the Bulgarian perspective, is provided by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bilyana Kurtasheva, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maurice Fadel and Prof. Plamen Doynov from the New Bulgarian University. The project is supervised by Luisa Slavkova from the Sofia Platform Foundation, Dimitar Dimov and Prof. Momchil Metodiev from the Institute for Studies of the Recent Past and the New Bulgarian Univeristy, as well as Ulrich Mellert from the Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Germany. The exhibition was designed by Thomas Klemm from Leipzig.

The Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Germany promotes and initiates projects, events and publications throughout Germany that deal with the communist dictatorship in the GDR as well as the division of Germany and Europe.

The New Bulgarian University was founded on 18 September 1991 by intellectuals with the aim of modernising research and teaching in post-communist Bulgaria.

The Sofia Platform Foundation is a Bulgarian NGO that promotes the politics of remembering and dealing with the communist past through historical dialogue and education.

Freedom, justice and solidarity are the guiding principles in the work of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. It is a political foundation close to the German Christian Democratic Union. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation supports the exhibition "Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB" in cooperation with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sofia.

WHAT IS ON OFFER?
The exhibition "Reading during Socialism: the GDR and the PRB" comprises 24 panels and is available from August 2023 as 50 poster sets, which are provided free of charge. Each panel includes a short exhibition text, six photographs and facsimiles, as well as two QR codes that link to additional audio-visual material on the internet. The exhibition is presented in a 70×50 cm format. In addition, large-format versions as well as foreign-language versions of the exhibition can be requested as ready-to-print files if required. Further set-up such as roll-up systems on foam board, textile panels or Dibond aluminium composite panels is done on site at your own expense. You can find material for your media and public relations work as well as educational materials (in German) for your lessons on the exhibition website.

HOW CAN THE EXHIBITION BE ORDERED?
The exhibition can now be ordered as a set of posters (70×50 cm, on 135 g/m2 paper). The posters remain in your possession permanently and you can present them as you wish and as the venue allows.

WHEN WILL YOU RECEIVE A HARD COPY OF THE EXHIBITION?
After ordering, you will be able to receive the posters after July 17, 2023 at the address you have provided.
The set will be sent to you by courier as a package - rolled and wrapped in special shipping packaging.

To order the exhibition, please complete the online form:  https://forms.gle/My2YMVSSJurxmcVy8
Questions regarding the exhibition content should only be sent to: teodora.danailova@sofiaplatform.org
 
Funding Organisation:
The exhibition is made possible with the kind support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sofia.
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