by VPRO receiving the Grand Award.
Laudator: Thomas A. Bauer, University of Vienna,
A whole century of Europe, bounded in a 35 pieces serial documentary is not just a challenge of methodology of historical and medial narration, it is a huge challenge to the script writers, to the film directors and last not last to the producing organization. This challenge has been based by a book, conceptualized and written by Geert Mak, an ingenious Dutch historian and now professor emeritus, who undertook the work to reassess the history of the fragmentized continent since this history is the cultural, political and symbolic environment of any country in Europe. Through this media production “In Europa” the Netherlands represent any other European country’s comparable situation. Each of our countries is effected from beauty and ugliness, from magnitude and weakness of the continent’ diversified way of life, with which and against which all of them claim their identity, individuality and pride.
“In Europe” is a topology of men, of societies, regions, cities and eras within an arena of discrepancies, antagonisms, political dogmas and societal heresies and nevertheless it is the search for the ever far horizons of heaven on earth, for the ever unsatisfied hope for brotherhood and togetherness, for embracing solidarity, peaceful neighbourhood, cultural openness and human dignity.
“In Europa” is a testimonial media of stories and discourses, performing itself as one of the abertausend steps to set the signature of reasonability below so many pages of craziness and to recall the continent to its own competence since it has been for a whole century the arena of collapsing empires, uprising dictatorships, of absurd wars, of merciless destruction and amok running devastation, of barbarous mass murders, of political madness and ideological dementia – and in contradiction to all that and maybe in response to all that the stage for reconciliation, for reconstruction, for revolution and – as we saw twenty years ago -for reunification.
“In Europe” is, what an educational media within the context of European self-reflection has to be like: a discourse on history as a history of discourses in order to discover critical reflection as an agency of mindful thoughts on what is possible if it is necessary. Next to the 35 units of the programme that leads from the beginning of the century to its end, the stories cover central locations and central persons as well peripheral zones in east and west in north and south. The broadcast program was accompanied and made off by a broad debate, the “In Europa”-Salon Podcast, which still can be recalled in the internet. All this technical and logistic sophistication shows the educational mission and ambition. That is, what a public broadcaster is made for: VPRO, one of the most initiative and alternative public broadcasters in Europe, has taken the challenge and challenges in that way Europeans who maybe be about to forget or even to neglect the power of history. VPRO, standing for all people and experts who have brought in their competences, ideas and contributions into that media programme therefore deserves to be assessed as the best among all submissions for the Erasmus EuroMedia Awards 2009 and therefore the European Society for Education and Communication is proud to deliver the Erasmus EuroMedia Grand Award 2009 to VPRO for the TV documantary “In Europa”.
Vienna, October 16, 2009 Thomas A. Bauer, ESEC President