Researchers and experts who are distinguished by their work and specialised knowledge in the fields of education, outreach, museums, and schools are regularly involved in the work of the initiative. They help expand the scope of lab.Bode by offering external perspectives, providing fresh ideas, and cultivating a reflected practice. Over the course of the programme, the pool of Critical Friends will be expanded to include perspectives that span all topics relevant to the initiative.
In the beginning, lab.Bode focused on three core themes central to its work:
A. Museum Education as a Critique of Power and Discrimination
Critical Friend: Carmen Mörsch,pProfessor of art didactics for the teaching profession at the Kunsthochschule Mainz. Diversity and a critique of discrimination are central to her practice, teachings, and research. She is currently working on a handbook dealing with this topic.
Carmen Mörsch is supporting the project team in developing an art education practice in conjunction with lab.Bode that takes a critical stance towards power structures and discrimination. Questions and problems that arise in the context of lab.Bode are examined and discussed jointly by the team in regular consultations. The aim is also to support the development and realization of training opportunities for freelance educators, teachers at partner schools, and the lab.Bode team. In the spring of 2018, a two-part awareness training was offered to the staff members and freelance employees of lab.Bode (research assistants, workshop leaders, and student assistants), to sensitise them for positions that critically examine discrimination and racism at the interface of art and education.
B. Collaborative Youth Outreach
Critical Friend: Tanja Ries, coordinator and project director of STREET COLLEGE, a platform for self-determined and individualised learning aims at Gangway e.V. She recently submitted her master’s thesis on the topic of “Haltung” (attitude) in cultural education.
The question about how relevant museums are to children and youth is directly related to a given institution’s attitude towards these young museum-goers. They have to be taken seriously and understood as a unique group of stakeholders within the museum. In a workshop the lab.Bode team of research assistants presents an “attitude paper” together with Tanja Ries. This includes attitudes and positions that underlie lab.Bode’s education practice. In addition, feedback methods are developed for school children and youth, whose perspectives thereby become an elementary part of the project’s thought processes and documentation.
C. Inreach: Processes of Internal Change
Critical Friend: Christine Gerbich. As part of her research project “Museum as Experimental Field” Christine Gerbich gained intensive experience with inreach processes. She is currently working on the research project “Making Differences in Berlin: Transforming Museums and Heritage in the Twenty-first Century.”
If a museum wishes to be a relevant place for children and youth, it has to undergo an internal, structural, and conceptual process of change. Exploring this change has been part of the work of lab.Bode from the very beginning, and this must be differentiated from outreach processes that leave internal institutional structures untouched. In regular meetings with Christine Gerbich the questions and challenges that institutional structures present to the work of lab.Bode are considered. Workshops are conducted with the Bode-Museum team (curators, restorers, guards), which are aimed towards facilitating communication processes between different areas of responsibility within the museum.