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Reflecting on cultural opposition to communism


The EU-funded COURAGE project is compiling and analysing collections of cultural opposition in former socialist countries, making the collections more accessible for educational and research purposes and highlighting their importance as a testimony to anti-communist opposition in Europe.

Many historical documents and objects testify to cultural movements and activities of dissent against communism in Europe. Some even contributed to the fall of socialist regimes in Europe. But such collections are widely dispersed and largely unknown by many.

The EU-funded COURAGE project is compiling as many cultural collections as possible in an online registry and database. The database will be both user-friendly and searchable.

The collections include, but are not limited to: non-conformist avant-garde art; anti-establishment religious movements; civic initiatives for unofficial education and publication; underground punk and rock bands; and novel spiritual practices.

The works will be analysed in their broader social, political and cultural contexts by the project consortium, who will go on to create country-specific reports, online curriculum and digital educational content, and a set of recommendations on how to exhibit artefacts from cultural opposition movements in former socialist countries.

COURAGE will disseminate information about the online collection through initiatives such as a documentary film festival; travelling and online exhibitions, and local media events in Europe’s former socialist countries.

The project outcomes will help shed light on how the cultural opposition movement’s transition from dissent to mainstream came about and highlight positive aspects such as democratic participation, autonomy and cultural plurality.


Project details

  • Project acronym: COURAGE
  • Participants: Hungary (Coordinator), Poland, Ireland, Germany, Lithuana, Czech Republic, Slovakia, UK, Croatia
  • Project N°: 692919
  • Total costs: € 2 484 917
  • EU contribution: € 2 484 917
  • Duration: February 2016 - January 2019