The central themes of this museum make it a particularly appropriate space for students of all ages and levels. Counting several teachers at primary and secondary level among its members, inclusive pedagogical practice and policy is at the heart of our project.
Children Playing in the Shared Spaces in the Émile-Dubois Cité in Aubervilliers, 1980s (© Patrice Lutier)
lllustration on Immersive Internet Website
(© Luluffe / AMuLoP)
In 2020, master’s students on the “Audiovisual heritage” Masters of the INAsup (National Institute of the Audiovisual) completed a project reevaluating ‘investigative-walks’ through an interactive and educational website. The objective was to offer an accessible account of a complex, archival-based process, allowing the public to enter into an apartment online. This tool was targeted at secondary-school students and had a number of different educational suggestions for teachers.
Since 2011, as part of the ENS de Lyon, The French Institute of Education (IFé) has developed a network of Associated Sites of Education (LéA). These sites enable collaboration between important stakeholders (including teachers, educators, principals) and researchers (in fields such as education studies, psychology, cognitive science) around a common problem.
The LéA secondary school of the Plaine Commune is devoted to creating links between scientific communication and the education of students at the school in social history. It brings together teachers in history-geography, an archivist and teacher at the Jean Lurçat de Saint-Denis and Le Corbusier d’Aubervilliers schools, alongside researchers from INSPE Nantes and Créteil, the CHS at the University of Paris I and the LARHRA at the University of Lyon II.
In reflecting on how we communicate academic research to young students, members of the association had the idea of creating a research project in institutions in the locale. In March 2021, the project was honoured at the 11th edition of the National Day of Innovation, sponsored by the National Ministry of Education.
This research project is based on a series of observations. The first is the negative prism through which the working-class and their multicultural dimension has been viewed. This perspective is more or less consciously imposed by the textbooks used in these suburbs.
Amongst students there, this framing encourages a disjunction between the students’ understanding of national history and the local individual histories, often involving migration. This distance represents a real and significant obstacle in their education in history.
This first observation intersects directly with a more general pedagogical practice in museums and exhibitions. We face a fundamental difficulty, shared by educators and museums alike, in constructing effective educational tools which can comprehensively articulate the issues at stake in children’s education as well as the research questions evoked in these exhibitions.
The LéA explores three key questions:
- How can the microhistory of a building and thus the embodied history of a Parisian suburb function as a means through which students can appreciate the link between lived history and French contemporary history, as well as the link between social and academic knowledge?
- Can exhibitions for, but also by, students allow us to understand the exhibition as a way to translate knowledge as it emerges from historical research?
- In what way can the construction of long-lasting digital resources prolong the experience of the exhibition, expand the scope and range of the project, and allow students throughout France to benefit from questions around the representation of working-class suburbs?
In pedagogical terms, the LéA seeks to consolidate the collaborations between the history-geography staff at these two institutions. This involves the organisation of collective sessions and the development of new professional skills in scholarly communication, especially to students.
Our research activity, above all, aims to make students active-learners and participants in the construction of historical discourse. To achieve this, we will help them discover methods in archival research, as well as micro-historical surveys and interviews. Alongside this, we will ask them to reflect on the interpretation of these discoveries and the different modalities of communication that may be possible. Students are also encouraged to produce their own audio-visual material that can be used within the AMuLoP exhibition. By the end of this project, students will have discovered the vocation of the historian and will have participated fully in the writing of the history of their local area.