GRUNDTVIG Learning Partnership

European Museum Education and Young People: A critical enquiry

24-27 February 2009

Contemporary art galleries and museums are spaces where learning takes place. This is a multi-layered, complex and dynamic experience. One of our objectives within the European Learning Partnership is to share, research, develop and disseminate effective methodologies in the field of contemporary gallery education in order to build a community of critical enquirers.

In an increasingly globalised world it is essential to address the local and to think about what is context-specific. This involves addressing common values and reflecting upon what we can learn from others. By sharing expertise at different levels and working in close collaboration with partners we can contribute to improving young people’s cultural engagement in a more challenging and consequent way: working with art can support discussion and debate about issues such as diversity, social engagement, citizenship and the environment, enhancing the possibility of a deeper intercultural dialogue.

Key questions:
In what way are museums and galleries across Europe developing innovative ways of working with young people in the arts?

How can contemporary art contribute to encouraging young people to be active and positively involved citizens?


TUES 24 FEB 09



Learning Partnership delegates arrive to Fundação de Serralves



Optional tour of the Museum, Park and Villa (Exhibitions: Juan Muñoz, Christopher Wool, From Mickey Mouse to Andy Warhol)



Showcasing Learning experiences

This is an opportunity to share with European partners some of Serralves projects involving young people. Our team will make 5 min. presentations and then be available for further discussions in small groups.

ArtsLab in Serralves/young people as co-creators

José Maia (Artist-educator)

Viver com Energia/Cientistas no Parque - Energy resources and sustainable development

Jorge Ferreira (educator)

Filmbooks, Working with animation - workshop led by film maker Abi Feijó (partnership between Serralves and Escola Secundária Soares dos Reis)

Sofia Victorino (Coordinator/Serralves Education Department)

Artists' books/A year-long project in partnership with schools

Sofia Victorino and Elvira Leite (Consultora do serviço educativo)

A Arquitectura não é uma casa

Matilde Seabra (Architect/Gallery educator)

Inovartes, A program by DGArtes/Ministério da Cultura on youth mobility in the arts and culture sector

Mariana Brandão (Gallery educator)

Alagoas: Old ghettos New centralities

Inês Azevedo (Artist-educator)


WED 25 FEB 09

On-Site Visits


Departure by bus to Vila do Conde (about 35 min)


Visit to Solar Galeria de Arte Cinemática and Centro de Memória, Vila do Conde

Presentation by Nuno Rodrigues, Curator



Visit to Centro Cultural de Vila Flor, Guimarães (45 min to Porto)

Presentation by Elisabete Paiva, Coordinator of the Education programme



THU 26 FEB 09


Meeting at Fundação de Serralves


Welcome by Ulrich Loock, Deputy Director of Serralves Museum of Contemporary art

“I would like to question the term “inclusion”. What does that mean? Inclusion in what? In a “leading culture”? Is “inclusion” serving a political agenda outside artistic practice?
It is necessary to unpack the words inclusion and exclusion – creating a sustainable engagement with the community and a commitment from the institution.
I am interested in an exchange of ideas towards art and not just using art to support a preset agenda. Challenging cultural hierarchies; crossing boundaries
not to impose our own cultural patterns; It is not only about the “before” and the “after” of visiting the museum. It is about what happens in the middle.
The importance of the mediation work. Institutional interpretation must change?
Discuss the concept of community – communities are heterogeneous.

Differences observed in groups visiting Juan Muñoz and Christopher Wool – the first is narrative, theatrical, generates stories; the other requires creating skills in order to understand a visual language that is not formulated in terms of narration.”


João Teixeira Lopes, Sociologist, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto

“Observe audiences in action. How do they deal with cultural products? How do they appropriate the physical space?

The artistic and social domains are bond together. It would be interesting to develop more ethnographic studies regarding reception practices and audience participation.

What do young people do once they are inside the museum? How do they make meaning of what they see?”


Plenary Discussion


Case studies: ways of working with young people

Projecto Intervir

Susana Gomes da Silva, Coordinator of the Education Department of CAMJAP/ Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and Ana Paula Silva, CESIS (Centro de Estudos para a Intervenção Social)


Tecer a cidade

José Niza, Moovlab


Working through Landscape

Samuel Guimarães, Coordinator of Museu do Douro's Education Department



Discussions (Please sign-up for group discussions on arrival; each group will need one person to document and report back to the wider group)

I. What are the main challenges when working with young people in a museum or gallery context? Can we identify both good practice and potential areas for development (bearing in mind the different contexts of each partner)?  

II. Can working with art encourage discussion about issues such as diversity, community cohesion and the environment? In what way?

III. What difficulties do we face when starting a project? What makes it successful? How can we build sustainable long-term relationships with young people?

IV. How to give voice to young people within the institution? How can they participate in defining "rules"? What can be the role of youth panels in determining organisational policy?

V. Different partners mean different strategies? How different is working with schools and working with local youth organizations / associations?

VI. What role is there for the artist or museum-educator when working with young people? What are the ethical implications? Can artists encourage broader participation and community cohesion?

VII. What resources are needed in order to evaluate projects with young people? What kind of evaluation do we need/want/can we have?

VIII. Museums and galleries are requested to address an increasingly large audience.  How is the research in the field of contemporary gallery education and young people being developed? Is it influencing policy and practice? Is there a risk of instrumentalisation?


FRID 27 FEB 09


Meet at Fundação de Serralves


Group discussions. Back to key questions

How do our institutions position the learning and engagement of young people ages 16-25?

How can we as a partnership extend our co learning and promote increased opportunities for ongoing partnership work?

Can we promote youth mobility's through our organisations?

Can we start building up a reading list as one of the shared findings?

Conclusions. Next steps!

14.00-16.30 (optional tour)

Architecture in Porto: Past/Present, by Matilde Seabra


Refelctions by Caroline Mawdsley, Education and Outreach Curator, Plymouth Arts Centre


Photogalerie [.pps 1.946Kb]