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Experimental Education Programme

The objective of the education programme of the Urban Majorities Project 1900-2025 is to integrate the approach to artistic, cultural, and political research, expressions, and representations within the melting pot of the great cities, which are considered essential actors and crucial spaces for interaction in the 21st-century world. The historic establishment of a global society will depend to a large extent on how the paths of people who meet in the great cities are woven together. The first initiatives under the programme are aimed principally at secondary school pupils.

Artistic representations. The programme seeks to pose questions that can give works meaning and to do at school what is best done at school (such as combating prejudice and providing relevant information), so that afterwards, pupils will visit museums and art institutions with a perspective allowing explanations to be as free as possible, which will in turn encourage a more direct and personal appreciation of the works. The museum goes to school (and give classes), and then the school goes to the museum (and the experience is much different when the class actually comes face-to-face with the works).

This is the format described in the initiative Interior Worlds and Public Commitment, which was completed over a full school year. The exhibition Barcelona, A Right for All, presented at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in May 2007 and including 480 posters, was the culmination of a work aimed at building perspective and encouraging creative experimentation among nearly one thousand pupils at twenty-one schools. These pupils began the school year by viewing the exhibition Forms for the 21st Century, Recent Works by Antoni Tàpies and then making it their own. After that they undertook an in-depth exploration of the show The Posters of Tàpies and the Public Sphere. The format adopted by the art education initiative under the Urban Majorities Project 1900-2025 also inspired experimentation by other Barcelona museum institutions that since have updated their education programmes.

Urban representations. The initiatives involving secondary schools and universities (including the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst of Zurich), which had already given place to the trajectories of the project Tourismes. The Defeat of Dissent produced by the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in 2004, have begun to take shape in different Journeys through Barcelona, of which the route From La Mina to Pedralbes through the Heart of the City is already operational. This trajectory takes the form of an itinerary with different stop-overs, and is conceived as a tool for developing a cognitive and aesthetic approach which will then weave personal narratives and imaginaries into the historic studies and systematic analyses of the complexities of large cities.

In cooperation with other institutions forming part of the Urban Majorities Project 1900-2025 network, a seminar will soon be held to draw conclusions from the experience. This process is expected to articulate new lines of action in the same field, thus affecting the metropolitan city as a whole.

Political representations. The objective of the Besòs Youth Parliament is to help test new ways of providing education in democracy by teaching participants about the culture of assembly, political representation, and negotiation; by distinguishing and making social use of the different forms of discourse (analysing, questioning, evaluating, wishing, proposing, etc.); and in ascertaining limits to action such as the effective meeting point between ethics and politics, because the microcosm of youth is no less complex than the world of adults.

As part of the education programme of the Urban Majorities Project 1900-2025, the Besòs Youth Parliament initiative is closely linked to others which focus on the arts and the urban experience. In future, the experience will continue to be promoted in other parts of the metropolitan area through dialogue with programmes sharing the same objective, even if some of them adopt a different format, such as the public audiences for children from Barcelona and the youth councils in other townships have done.