'Scéal to Storia': creating a framework for cultural heritage education, outreach learning methodologies and international exchange in primary schools

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Hegarty, Aoife
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University College Cork
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This research was initially inspired by the obvious differences between a childhood growing up in London, to one based in rural Ireland. For instance, regardless of financial status, educational opportunities can vary widely based simply on geographic circumstances. Following some initial reading in public history and outreach programmes, it became clear just how variable learning can be. The development of this investigation grew over time to consider the ways in which educational barriers could be alleviated, and how learning opportunities could be adapted and delivered within alternative settings. The theme of such learning programmes was focused entirely on arts, cultural and historical knowledge using museum-style exhibition-based teaching as its core inspiration. Following a connection with Swiss-based student Giulia Ferrati, the research began to take more focus into addressing the methodologies of arts or museum-based teaching for delivering educational opportunities as an alternative to formal learning practices. This focus was particularly aimed at children who were experiencing a barrier to accessing such opportunities. Shortly following this connection, an intensive collaboration was founded and the creation of Scéal to Storia came into being. This was an international project, practically designed to explore learning methodologies that help primary school-aged children experience arts, cultural and historical education in the classroom. While these topics are often on school curricula, in this instance, the project was concentrating on the styles of learning that normally occurs in an informal setting, such as a cultural organisation; with the intention of bridging the accessibility gaps that can so often occur in education. The research took place in Cork, Ireland and Milan, Italy with the practical delivery of the project spanning the course of one academic year in two primary schools in each respective location. The schools groups followed a framework of learning designed by the researchers, which incorporated a knowledge exchange for the students to interact with each other throughout the duration of the programme. The project was supported by both respective universities, University College Cork (UCC) and Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD), as well as both respective city councils. This thesis examines the development of this project through its design and implementation, and analyses the outcomes. This analysis provides insight into a variety of learning methodologies, and arts and cultural education in the classroom. It further provides an examination of cultural exchange and how it can be adapted to maximise its strengths. It looks at how digital innovation can aid the exploration of intercultural learning and the implications of digital humanities and public history in a classroom setting. The study contributes to ongoing research and debates within public history as well as education, and curriculum structures.
History , Education , Public history , Cultural heritage , Art , Outreach , Arts education , Museum
Hegarty, A. D. 2022. 'Scéal to Storia': creating a framework for cultural heritage education, outreach learning methodologies and international exchange in primary schools. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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