When thinking about facts and perspectives, facts are often given more value. But who decides what is a fact and what is not? While History is fact-based, we cannot understand it and derive meaning from it without interpretation and explanation to give facts a frame of reference, in other words, a perspective.
How does understanding the relationship between facts and perspectives support our historical research? How do perspectives go hand in hand with facts, allowing us to make sense of what happened? How can perspectives enrich our understanding of the past?
Warm-up (20 minutes):
Each participant writes their definition of facts and perspectives on a sticky note (facts on one color and perspectives on another).
We collect the sticky notes and put them on 2 different flipcharts (one for facts and one for perspectives).
We divide the participants into 2 groups (Group 1: Facts, Group 2: Perspectives). Each group takes its designated flipchart and discusses and clusters the different definitions.
After 15 min, each group presents the outcome of its discussions to the other.
Group Work (30 minutes):
We then divide the participants into 3 groups, where each group will think through the below cases in order to identify as many perspectives and facts as possible they have towards the case. They collect their ideas in table-form on a flipchart and explain the relationships they found between facts and perspectives.
|Being a Lebanese national|
|Being a Palestinian national|
|Being a Syrian national|
|Being a man in Lebanon|
|Being a woman in Lebanon|
|Being a member of a political party|
|Being an activist in an NGO|
Group Presentations (20 minutes):
Each group presents their work on a flip chart. After each presentation, the other participants are invited to add any further facts and perspectives to the presented cases.
Plenary Discussion (20 minutes):
We conclude the session by holding an open discussion with the group, asking participants about their impressions of the session and concluding with them how facts and perspectives are created and related. We also present examples and try to understand how dealing with facts and perspectives affects Oral History work.