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European Learning Partnership

The Learning Partnership European Museum Education and Young People: A Critical Enquiry was established to explore, assess and articulate the special learning benefits to young people ages 16+ in working with contemporary visual art and art institutions. 

It built on the work of all of the partners, including the UK-based enquire research project, and focuses on the learning needs of young people out of formal education, including those who may be disadvantaged because of socio-economic status, educational attainment, racial or other prejudice, or immigration. 

Museums or other contemporary art venues can provide a special place for lifelong learning, free from the constraints and norms of the classroom, ideal for learning 'soft' skills, such as communication or teamwork, but also with the potential for more formal, academic exploration. Interaction with contemporary visual art, with its often challenging and youth-orientated themes, has exciting possibilities for work with young people, supporting them to understand and influence contemporary society, thus promoting active citizenship and intercultural dialogue. Museum audiences, however, even for contemporary visual arts, tend to be younger (e.g. school age children visiting in a group), or older (independent visitors, ages 35 +). The partnership explored how museums and galleries can create a climate which encourages participation, supports interaction with young learners ages 16+, and promotes self-determined learning within the gallery/museum space. 

The Partnership was pursued through a series of seminars hosted by each of the partners: enquire South East cluster; RIKSUTSTÄLLNINGAR, The Swedish Travelling Exhibitions; Fundacao Serralves, Porto; The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) Eccom European Centre for Cultural Organisation and Management; and Istituto per i Beni Artistici Culturali e Naturali (IBACN) della Regione Emilia-Romagna 

Participants' reflections

Irish Museum of Modern Art: staff reflections on the Partnership 

Caroline Mawdsley, Porto 

Nancy Clemance, Stockholm/Visby 


The following resources are available from the ELP seminars: 

enquire South East cluster - Programe and Notes

RIKSUTSTÄLLNINGAR, The Swedish Travelling Exhibitions


Fundacao Serralves, Porto



The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)


ELP logo

This project was funded with support from the European Commission.

This page and downloadable documents reflect the views only of the author(s), and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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