'Nostalgia for the future' is a research project into communities displaced from their homelands in the aftermath of the Second World War.

'Nostalgia for the future' focuses on the displaced communities of the Italians from Istria and parts of Dalmatia, and the Finns from the part of Karelia ceded to the Soviet Union. I hope that bringing the two communities together under the same critical lens will yield findings, which have hitherto remained invisible. I also hope that this perspective will benefit the two respective communities, by offering a broader, 'bird-eye’ perspective on their cultural memory and its impact and significance in the current European geopolitical landscape.

Since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the displaced communities along Europe's eastern peripheries have been able to re-assert their transnational belonging in personally rewarding and socially beneficial ways. Through their homeland associations, private networks and NGOs, they have participated in collaborative cross-border activities in a range of sectors, including humanitarian aid, public health, environmental protection, tourism, heritage and arts. These activities point to a gradual, yet significant cultural shift within the displaced communities, which is potentially a great resource for building a cultural climate of tolerance and cooperation along European borderlands. The project will map, document and contextually explain the involvement of the two displaced communities under scrutiny in grassroots cross-border encounters and cooperative initiatives over the last two decades. Findings from the two case studies will be compared and contrasted, hopefully producing insights that would not be possible if these areas were investigated separately.

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'Nostalgia for the future' is hosted by the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Nottingham Trent. If you are interested in pursuing research in the field of contemporary Europe, enquire about the postgraduate courses offered by the School.

chief investigator

Maja Mikula
Maja Mikula, PhD (Sydney), MA (Washington), MA Hons (Zagreb), BA Hons (Zagreb)

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