High school, college and high school students are taking possession of museums! On May 14, thanks to “La Classe, l’oeuvre! » and during the European Night of Museums, more than 170 projects take shape in the partner institutions in various forms: exhibition, dance, performance, theater… For an evening, these young people become cultural mediators and share with visitors their artistic work that is conducted year-round with teachers and museums. For the latter, this system makes it possible to forge links with the young public and ensure that they appropriate and appreciate the heritage close to home.
In the Aude, the Narbo Via museum and the Amphoralis archaeological site, in Narbonne and Sallèles-d’Aude respectively, will this year host no less than eight workshops with young people from kindergarten to secondary school. Feedback with Jennifer Gomez and Marie Badia, facilitators in these two museums that are part of the same public establishment of cultural collaboration and which depict the Gallo-Roman history of antiquity Narbo Martiusthe present Narbonne region.
Why did your museum decide to participate in the “La classe, l’oeuvre! †
Jennifer Gomez, mediator and education project manager at Narbo Via: This is Narbo Via’s second year participating in the program as we had already worked a class on the Amphoralis site last year to give their work back to Narbo Via. This 2021-2022 school year has enabled us to deploy the system at our two locations. “The class, the work! » enables students and their teachers and in the end, their families, to appropriate our cultural sites. So it is hoped that new audiences will be able to make a trip to the museum part of their daily practice and, of course, change their representation of the institution, which is sometimes perceived as an elite place. This system is a cultural mediation tool that can open up the collections to a new audience.
Marie Badia, mediator at Amphoralis: The Amphoralis archaeological site has been participating in the system since 2014. We had a large school population, so we wanted to set up a more comprehensive educational offering. The interest in the museum is multifold: it is about making our collections known, the museum but also archeology, which can sometimes seem abstract. The device makes it possible to accommodate a class throughout the school year, develop slightly larger projects and tackle various topics that we do not discuss in traditional mediation.
In your two establishments, a common theme has been chosen – that of the portrait. What kind of projects do you carry out and in what forms are they visible this year?
MB : Three of our actions are performed in Amphoralis. One with the kindergarten of Sallèles-d’Aude with whom we made creations based on clay: dishes with portraits and masks on the theme of old theater with different emotions. On the evening of the European Night of the Museums, they make a small parade with these masks and propose an exhibition with frames in which they draw their portraits with their emotions.
The second project concerns a class CM2 of the André-Malraux school in Fleury and portraits of children from antiquity, which ends with the return of a work whose characters are two children, one living in the middle of the countryside and the other Narbo Martius† Finally, the third project takes place with the secondary school Les Mailheuls in Coursan with quick encounters in which the students will interpret characters from antiquity who will answer questions from visitors.
JJ: The students were able to start in November with two-hour visits to the society of Narbo Martius and the historical context, but also to understand the lapidary wall 70 meters long and 10 high, the centerpiece of the museum chosen “La classe, l’oeuvre”. This wall hides sculpted or written portraits of residents and the students walked through this monument looking for blocks of stone to work with.
The Olivette Kindergarten class in Vinassan, for example, chose eleven professions from the time and created small panels in which to put their heads and embody this profession. We also took a photo in the museum to make a video montage with the background of the Narbo Martius and they will parade along the lapidary wall for the Night of the Museums. The CM2 class of the Anatole-France school in Narbonne chose blocks and built a story. They created a game with a dice roll and small windows with a letter of Narbo Martius open to follow a path that will form a different story each time.
Latin scholars from La Nadière College in Port-La-Nouvelle worked on a sculpture depicting a cartel, a poster and a video slideshow broadcast on a terminal in the museum. The other Latinists from Doctor-Lacroix High School in Narbonne were able to meet Maria-Luisa Bonsangue, an epigraphy professional whom they could interrogate about the chosen blocks. Their last work was to propose texts around a choice of blocks.
The last high school students, Louise-Michel’s in Narbonne, carried out original work creating literary texts inspired by a short play. They then fragmented their text, extracting sentences from it to present an echoing chaos with the lapidary wall of stone fragments. This creates a plastic presentation and a panel with a stone chaos on which they have stuck pieces of meaning.
What stands out is the wide range of ages and forms of refund…
JJ: The multiplicity of ages is voluntary as it was important to represent each school cycle. The diversity of forms of restitution reflects that of each teacher’s culture and appetite. These are very tough projects to run, so it was very important that teachers and their students were able to express themselves and use the widest possible range of media to suit their way of working.
What feedback do you get from the students?
MB: All students fit in and find their place during the project, even those with learning disabilities. This project allows them to open up and also express themselves in public, which is not easy. I find them very comfortable and impressive. Because they are integrated from the start and the approach motivates them, they are stakeholders, drivers and applicants.
JJ: There are always very enthusiastic and highly motivated students. In one class, the teacher is pleasantly surprised and happy to see the enthusiasm of the parents; many responded present while the refund is being made outside of class and on weekends.
The idea is not only to create works, but also to present them to the public. How did you prepare them to mediate?
MB: Each student who participates is in fact the mediator, the cultural channel of the evening. The most recently performed interventions relate to the presentations; we make supporting texts, determine the teams and carry out the rehearsals so that they are a bit more comfortable and on D-Day.
JJ: Once the teachers have invested in the project, I insist that the students be links in this cultural exchange, on the investment it requires and on everything it represents in a school year.
How did you get “La classe, l’oeuvre!” at Amphoralis? know how to develop? in eight years?
MB: With experience, we manage to better master the subject and refunds, making us more and more ambitious! The sketches and renditions of speed dating are ideas we’ve been thinking about for a while, but the Covid had slowed us down; we decided to run them this year. Finally a few years ago we made the amphora game with a group of 6 and it will be on the market in the museum soon!
The theme for next year has already been found: the track…
JJ: We are in an archaeological museum, so all our objects are ultimately traces of lost civilizations. At Narbo Via, we chose to work on the theater, which is a rather puzzling place, as we have never found the location until now, but only clues to its existence: written elements, a hypothetical inscription, a decor depicting a fresco of a ceremonial dining room or theater masks carved in stone. All this mystery will, I hope, appeal to the imagination. And this theme will put us in the permanent route, which involves a restitution in spaces that can accommodate more public…
MB: It’s an extensive topic! We are fortunate to have animal footprints on building materials and traces of potters. And the archaeological site is a trail in itself!
“The class, the work! » : an artistic and cultural educational project
The device “The class, the work!” is the result of a collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Since 2013, this artistic and cultural educational operation has been linked to the European Night of Museums, a date that completes a whole year’s work performed in classes and museums. Faithful to the three principles of arts and cultural education (encounter, practice and knowledge): “The classroom, the work! have students work on a work from the collections of one of the museums participating in the operation. The class builds an original mediation project which is then presented to the visitors during the European Night of Museums. In addition to these “physical” refunds on D-Day, an interactive platform of the Canopé network lists and promotes all initiatives carried out on the national territory.