The project Enhancing Social Cohesion through Sharing the Cultural Heritage of Forced Migrations – SO-CLOSE lasted 3 years and it ended in December 2022.

The mission of the project was to contribute to social cohesion and fight refugee marginalization or exclusion by facilitating the encounters between similar life stories, through the mediation of innovative digital and artistic tools.

Based on theories of cultural heritage-making, exposing the commonalities of past and present experiences, listening to the target groups’ needs and through the development of a methodology template of co-creative design of replicable digital tools and cultural products, SO-CLOSE wants to improve social cohesion and promote mutual understanding between refugees and their local communities.

The resulting data and methodology were used to develop several digital applications, for which purpose we had in our consortium strong technological partners with experience in this field. Working at the intersection of history, sociology, cultural studies, art and computer science, SO-CLOSE designed educational and cultural tools – interactive story map, participatory virtual exhibition and immersive web documentary. The Memory Center Platform (MCP) –  is a software platforms was also created, that can be used by Cultural Institutions, academics, artists, general public to: show, store, search, visualise, share, download, aggregate and create new cultural heritage contents about refugees and migrants.

  • Work Package 1 WP1
  • Work Package 2 WP2
  • Work Package 3 WP3
  • Work Package 4 WP4
  • Work Package 5 WP5
  • Work Package 6 WP6
Work Package 1

Framework Set Up & Design of the co-creation paths

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain)

WP1 aimed to find a common methodology and tool to gather information from the target group able to inform the subsequent phase of the project and specifically:

  • To examine the existing state of the art in terms of tools and methods used to collect information from the target group in the field subject of the project;
  • To create a common methodology for an integrated and storable data gathering;
  • To provide data and information to be used in the further definition of scenarios and prototypes.
Work Package 2

Co-design of the tools for cultural heritage co-creation

Monte Sole (Italy)

WP2 aimed to develop the common co-creative methodology and tools to gather information from the target group, users, cultural institutions and academics necessary for the continuation of the project and specifically:

  1. Design the procedure and structure of the co-design methodology.
  2. Test the co-design methodology in locally-based activities.
  3. Collect and analyze the data resulting from the exchange activities
  4. Provide empirical content to WP3, WP4, WP5

This WP was crucial for the other WPs as it served to outline the profiles of the different users and participants in the activities, as well as to organize them chronologically avoiding overlaps and enhancing the interaction and exchange of results among the venues, and among WPs 3, 4, 5 (recipients of the results and the data obtained). This WP decided the structure, time schedule, interactions, and dependencies of the co-design methodology, tested in four locations, each one of them devoted to a historical experience:

  • Poland, in VDA, Krakow, on displacements after the end of the Second World War
  • Greece, organized by GFR in collaboration with ASKI, at the Trikeri Island Concentration Camp, on political persecution and women internment during the Greek Civil War
  • Spain, in MUME de l’Exili, La Jonquera, on civilian exile and lack of refuge in France during the Spanish Civil War
  • Italy, in MONTE, Marzabotto, on violence against civilians during the Second World War and the Italian Civil War
Work Package 3

Toolbox development


The main goal of WP3 was twofold. On one hand it was meant to develop a set of tools to enable the sharing of cultural heritage and the co-creation of new cultural materials with and for refugees. On the other hand, this WP was supposed to also develop the Memory Center, an accessible multimodal platform that gathers the new materials created by SO-CLOSE in different locations to connect them with similar initiatives and reach broader and different targets (academic, arts, public authorities, and the whole society).

The specific objectives are:

  • To design at least three different digital tools to be implemented in the four different pilot locations (Greece, Poland, Italy, Spain).
  • To develop and test a first prototype for each of the tools and test it in lab conditions with a reduced sample of users.
  • To design and develop a first prototype of the accessible multilanguage multimodal platform (Memory Center).
  • To ensure the integrability of: (i) the locally created materials into the Memory Center and (ii) the Memory Center with other existing platforms (e.g. Europeana).
Work Package 4

Implementation & Validation (pilots)

Lund University (Sweden)

The main goal of WP4 was to implement and validate the digital tools resulting from the work in previous work packages in four distinct locations.

The specific objectives are:

  • To implement and test the digital toolboxes in several locations
  • To document the process of local adaptation, local content co-creation and testing
  • To generate co-created content that fills the digital tool “shells” designed in WP3
  • To address the on-site problems that might occur and include them in a troubleshooting section of the how-to manual.
  • To evaluate the quality of the tools and of the process
Work Package 5

Exploitation, Dissemination & Communication

Villa Decius Association

The main aims of this Work Package were:

  • to develop an exploitation plan and sustainability strategy for the SO-CLOSE methodology and showcases, whilst addressing approaches to innovation management and handling of IPR emerging from the project, based on principles outlined in the consortium agreement.
  • to actively promote the results and benefits of the SO-CLOSE project to the widest possible audience, including European and worldwide stakeholders.
  • to actively promote resilience across the different identified project stakeholders
Work Package 6

Project Management

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain)

The main goal of WP6 was to ensure a timely execution of the project and the accomplishment of the project objectives. Its specific objectives are:

  • To set up a governance structure and the required procedures to ensure a proper coordination and communication with internal and external stakeholders and an effective management of the project, including gender management.
  • To set up and implement a control and monitoring system to ensure that all Work packages and related tasks meet the objectives in a timely matter.
  • To ensure an effective communication with the European Commission and fulfill all the reporting requirements in terms of time and quality.
  • To set up and implement a Data Management Plan for the data and results obtained in the project
  • To set up a framework to identify and deal with potential legal and ethical issues and ensure compliance with reference agreements.
About The Project About The Project


Leader of the project:


Javier Rodrigo - Born in 1977, is Associate Professor - recognized for Full professorship-, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Since 2019 he is awarded with ICREA Acadèmia grant. PhD (2004) in History from the European University Institute in Florence and postdoctoral researcher at the London School of Economics, has later been “Juan de la Cierva” Research Fellow at the University of Zaragoza and “Ramón y Cajal” Research Fellow at the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona. He is the author or coordinator of 16 books on concentration camps history, mass violence and Civil Wars.


Ainhoa Flecha is PhD in Sociology and Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She has experience in leading research in the fields of migrations and ethnic minorities and sociology of education. She is member of GEDIME (Group of Studies on Immigration and Ethnic Minorities) and the consolidated research center CER-Migracions. She is currently Workpackage Leader in two projects of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the EC: SO-CLOSE (2020-2022) and REFUGE-ED (2020-2023), both focused on refugees and migrants. Regarding national research, at present she is the Main Researcher of the project UNIROMA: Roma students in Spanish universities, financed by the Spanish National Plan of R+D. Her research has translated in several publications in indexed journals such as the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Qualitative Inquiry or Sustainability among other. Her professional activity has been complimented with teaching and research stays at Cambridge University (UK), Harvard University (US) and the University of Würzburg (Germany).

Leader of the project:

Advisory Board

Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas

(Orense, 1966) He studied at Universities of Santiago de Compostela and Dijon, and received his PhD in Contemporary History from the European University Institute in Florence. He is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Santiago de Compostela and from October 2012 to October 2018 at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich.

Since 2018 he has been vice-president of the Galician Culture Council (Santiago de Compostela). He specializes in „the comparative study of European and Iberian nationalisms, as well as in migratory studies and the cultural history of violence.”

Philipp Ther

(Mittelberg, 1967). He studied modern history, Eastern European history, sociology and political science at the universities of Regensburg and Munich from 1988 to 1992. Received his PhD from the Free University of Berlin with a thesis on the history of German and Polish refugees from 1945 to 1956.

Since 2010 has been a University Professor for the History of Central and Eastern Europe at the Institute of Eastern European History at the University of Vienna. His research focuses on the comparative social and cultural history of the 19th and 20th centuries in Germany and Central and Eastern Europe, in particular studies of nationalism, the history of migration, the history of the city and the history of musical theatre.

Luisa Passerini

(Asti, 1941). Laurea in Philosophy and History, University of Turin. At present Professor Emerita, Department of History and Civilisation, European University Institute, Florence, Italy.

Fields of research: Cultural history, with particular attention to oral and visual memory; history of subjectivity, including forms of European identity; gender and generations; diasporic subjectivities; art’s contributions to the socio-historical disciplines.

Recent research project: Bodies Across Borders: Oral and Visual Memory in Europe and Beyond (BABE) – project funded by the European Research Council

Sari Hanafi

Master’s degree (D.E.A.) „Sciences et Techniques dans l’Histoire, la Culture et l’Organisation des sociétés”, University of Strasbourg and Ph. D. in Sociology, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales-Paris.

Professor of Sociology at the American University of Beirut and editor of Idafat: the Arab Journal of Sociology (Arabic). He is the President of the International Sociological Association (2018–2022).

Advisory Board
  • Xosé Manoel Núñez Seixas
    - Advisory Board Member
  • Philipp Ther
    - Advisory Board Member
  • Luisa Passerini
    - Advisory Board Member
  • Sari Hanafi
    - Advisory Board Member
The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
  • Javier Rodrigo
    - Project Coordinator
  • Ainhoa Flecha
    - Project Coordinator
  • Monica Cervera
    - PM of the project
  • Miguel Alonso
    - Team Member
  • Purificación Perona
    - Admin Contact / Advisor
  • Teresa Sordé
    - WP1 Leader
  • Sònia Parella
    - Team Member
  • Massoud Sharifi
    - Researcher
  • Pilar Orero
    - Team Member
  • Oriol López
    - Team Member
  • Francisco Morente
    - Team Member
  • João Pedro Silveira Martins
    - Researcher
  • Giorgia Priorelli
    - Researcher
  • Magda Fytili
    - Researcher
UAB Research Park
  • Juan F. Sanguesa
    - Team Member
  • Ona Tribó
    - Team Member
  • Virginia Mata Marcano
    - Team Member
Lund University
  • Anamaria Dutceac Segesten
    - WP4 Leader
  • Björn Petersson
    - Team Member
  • Kjell Josefsson
    - Team Member
  • Eleonora Narvselius
    - Team Member
  • Lili Nottrott
    - Team Member
Villa Decius Association
  • Dominika Kasprowicz
    - WP5 Leader
  • Karina Veltze
    - Team Member
  • Krystyna Potapenko
    - Team Member
  • Karolina Hess
    - Team Member
  • Elżbieta Lubacha
    - Team Member
  • Łucja Piekarska
    - Team Member
  • Agnieszka Zajączkowska
    - Team Member
  • Anna Antoniewska
    - Accountant
  • Kasia Ioffe
    - Team Member
  • Zofia Pająk
    - Team Member
The Peace School Foundation of Monte Sole
  • Monicelli Elena
    - WP2 Leader
  • Bergonzini Elena
    - Team Member
  • Merzi Stefano
    - Team Member
  • Rossi Maria Elena
    - Team Member
  • Venturi Degli Esposti Vilmer
    - Team Member
  • Martina Ferraro
    - Team Member
  • Serena Fasulo
    - Team Member
The Exile Memorial Museum Consortium
  • Alfons Quera
    - Team Member
  • Eva Carrera
    - Team Member
  • Maximiliano Fuentes
    - Team Member
  • Adriana Grosu
    - Admin & Financial Manager
  • Chiara Gunella
    - Team Member
  • Ana Perez-Muelas
    - Team Member
The Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas CERTH
  • Ioannis Kompatsiaris
    - Team Member
  • Stefanos Vrochidis
    - Team Member
  • Sotiris Diplaris
    - Team Member
La Tempesta
  • Marc Hernández
    - Team Member
  • Eleni Ananiadou
    - Team Member
  • Raquel García
    - Team Member
  • Xavier Valentí
    - Team Member
The Greek Forum of Refugees GFR
  • Yonous Muhammadi
    - Admin Contact / Advisor
  • Kortessis Nikolas
    - Team Member
  • Photene Kalpakioti
    - Team Member
  • Ms Panayiota Kapsali
    - Financial Manager/Accountant
ENGINEERING Ingegneria Informatica
  • Silvia Boi
    - WP3 Leader
  • Luca Bevilacqua
    - Team Member
  • Elena Adelina Sperlea
    - Team Member
  • Nicola Mariniello
    - Team Member
  • Vladimiro Scotto di Carlo
    - Team Member
  • Angelo Manfredi
    - Team Member
  • Alessandra Aurelio
    - Team Member
  • Valentina Sparacino
    - Team Member

The SO-CLOSE project carried out tests within all the relevant national, EU and international ethics-related rules and professional codes of conduct. The partners had considerable experience in ethical issues deriving from the research using eye-tracking, focus groups, on elderly people and people with disabilities. The coordinating institution, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), has an Ethical Commission on Human and Animal Research to supervise the experimentation on human and animal beings in compliance with the European directives 86/609/CEE, 91/628/CEE and 92/65/CEE, and seeked its advice any time the consortium considered it appropriate.

Concerning test design, SO-CLOSE partners were able to capitalise on the experience gained under the previous projects, where some users proved uncomfortable when taking part in specific tests aimed to demonstrate their reading comprehension. Each experiment performed by UAB was subject to prior authorisation by the UAB Ethical Commission and the consortium will maintain this approach lead by UAB within WP6 and WP7. In case of ULUND, VDA, MONTE, MUME, CERTH, ENG, TEMP and GFR the following ethical guidelines were derived from their work in previous projects. They were applied in all SO-CLOSE tests and validations performed by ULUND, VDA, MONTE, MUME, CERTH, ENG, TEMP and GFR and brought into the project for all tests by UAB:

  • The research was planned, implemented and evaluated in a free and independent way.
  • The first condition was a respectful contact on an equal footing with all users. Especially people who are less competence must have had increased attention by the test leaders.
  • The tester had to be informed honestly and exporting and only then given their consent. The communication must have been adapted to the needs of users. Questionnaires and organizational communication were coordinated with disability organizations
  • The tests were anonymous and privacy must have been ensured.
  • The ethical risks were assessed with disability organizations in advance. Here is the dignity of the users the most important aspect. The completely test procedure was planned in close consultation with disability organizations
  • The tests must have been of as much as possible while limiting the possible expense for the testers.
  • It was emphasized, that not the user will be tested but the application, what means the users are the experts. A pleasant atmosphere for the user needs to be created, so that the test results as free and objective as possible. To put the users under pressure regardless of the type (time, understanding, sympathy) would distort the test results.
All of the data intended to process is relevant and limited to the purpose of the SO-CLOSE project in accordance to the data minimisation principle.

SO-CLOSE describes the procedure and the arrangements for protecting the confidentiality of personal data of the individuals concerned. If the beneficiaries wish to retain the data for further research, they will have to ensure that the consent form mentions it and that the measures taken to encode or anonymise banked data are explained. In case only anonymised data will be retained, researchers will ensure adequate security for storage and handling of such data. SO-CLOSE will generate personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) as of data from workshops within WP1, WP2 and WP4. All consortium members participating in this task will identify a Data Protection Officer implementing a common Data Protection Plan that complies with European Regulation 2016/679.