Museums, oral history and intercultural education : The use of life histories for approaching contemporary immigration in early childhood and school education 2014

Ph.D Candidate: 
Maria Vlachaki(ΜΑ)
Supervising Committee: 
Irene Nakou, Anna Vidali, Kostas Magos

This study makes use of immigrants’ life stories as museum exhibits and educational material. The research was conducted in three different social and cultural contexts based on action research methodology approach, where children and parents participated either as co-researchers and co-creators of museum exhibitions or as visitors. It examines the impact of the collection and use of life stories on the relations formed between native children and children of immigrant background at the age of 5-7 and 11-12. It aims to highlight the importance of life stories in enhancing intercultural communication, developing intercultural competence and increasing self-esteem and emotional and cultural empathy among the native and immigrant children, who took part in the study. Important conclusions are drawn about the new social role of the museum or open space, where both native people and people of a different ethno-cultural identity could equally be involved in the negotiation and the construction of their cultural identity and local social history. Additionally, inferences are made in relation to school education and the development of critical social thinking, which constitutes a basic trait of an active citizen.