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In a highly globalised world with increasing ethno-nationalistic tensions and conflicts, the importance of intercultural education has never been greater. The challenge remains, however, as to whether educating for mutual respect and social cohesion can be achieved through traditional modes of schooling or whether additional approaches that are not necessarily school-centric are required. Drawing on in-depth qualitative data including video diaries, narrative interviews and focus groups with Australian secondary school students and semi-structured interviews with teachers, this paper discusses such an endeavour in which a museum exhibition on identity and belonging is employed as an interactive space for meaningful encounter among students and as a form of professional learning that enlivened teaching practice. Using the concept of reflexive ethnicity, this paper examines whether cognitive and affective encounters outside the ‘school gate’ create opportunities for critical learning about ethnicity that can complement and enhance school curricula and classroom learning. More importantly, the paper explores how the possibility of building on such activities to create and sustain teaching practice can challenge entrenched static notions of ethnicity. The paper concludes that reflexive encounters with ‘difference’ within an interactive museum space can unsettle prejudice and provide a deeper and more meaningful understanding of ethnic identity that goes beyond rote classroom learning.
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Towards reflexive ethnicity: Museums as
sites of intercultural encounter
Jessica Walton*, Yin Paradies and Fethi Mansouri
Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, VIC,
In a highly globalised world with increasing ethno-nationalistic tensions and conflicts, the impor-
tance of intercultural education has never been greater. The challenge remains, however, as to
whether educating for mutual respect and social cohesion can be achieved through traditional
modes of schooling or whether additional approaches that are not necessarily school-centric are
required. Drawing on in-depth qualitative data including video diaries, narrative interviews and
focus groups with Australian secondary school students and semi-structured interviews with teach-
ers, this paper discusses such an endeavour in which a museum exhibition on identity and belonging
is employed as an interactive space for meaningful encounter among students and as a form of pro-
fessional learning that enlivened teaching practice. Using the concept of reflexive ethnicity, this
paper examines whether cognitive and affective encounters outside the ‘school gate’ create opportu-
nities for critical learning about ethnicity that can complement and enhance school curricula and
classroom learning. More importantly, the paper explores how the possibility of building on such
activities to create and sustain teaching practice can challenge entrenched static notions of ethnicity.
The paper concludes that reflexive encounters with ‘difference’ within an interactive museum space
can unsettle prejudice and provide a deeper and more meaningful understanding of ethnic identity
that goes beyond rote classroom learning.
Keywords: identity; museum; reflexive ethnicity
The 2006 UNESCO guidelines on intercultural education emphasise ‘the need for
tolerance and respect of all peoples in the world through the inclusion of human rights
principles in the school and the curriculum’ (UNESCO, 2006, p. 7). In education
research, schools are viewed as microcosms of society and in many ways reflect
broader human interactions and social dynamics (Waller, 1932; Boocock, 1973;
Pohan, 2003). As such, this calls for a transformative dimension of intercultural edu-
cation is all the more pertinent in the current international climate, dominated as it is
by a hyper-securitised agenda (Mansouri & Lobo, 2011). Indeed, this is even more
pertinent today than a decade ago when it was noted that, ‘in a world experiencing
rapid change, and where cultural, political, economic and social upheaval challenges
*Corresponding author. Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin Univer-
sity, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia. Email:;
Twitter: @jessrosew
©2016 British Educational Research Association
British Educational Research Journal
Vol. 42, No. 5, October 2016, pp. 871–889
DOI: 10.1002/berj.3241
traditional ways of life, education has a major role to play in promoting social cohe-
sion and peaceful coexistence’ (UNESCO, 2006, p. 8).
The escalation in international conflicts and associated intercultural tensions, in
particular since the 9/11 events and the subsequent wars on terror (Modood et al.,
2006; Cesari, 2010; Hage, 2011; Mansouri, 2015), has heightened the need for cre-
ative approaches through broader educational avenues in order to initiate and sustain
positive encounters between people from different ethnic, racial, cultural and reli-
gious backgrounds and in particular among youth. Substantial research, particularly
in the area of prejudice reduction, has found that pedagogical approaches that focus
primarily on knowledge acquisition are not enough to facilitate positive intercultural
relations (e.g., Pedersen et al., 2011). Instead, what is required is a more reflexive
understanding of one’s own sense of identity and belonging that is framed in relation
to others within situations that support positive intercultural contact (Pettigrew &
Tropp, 2006). To support this call for more creative and critical approaches that fos-
ter reflexivity, counter prejudice and engage with broader socio-political issues, the
arts and in particular museum exhibitions have been called upon to create spaces
where visitors can reflect on their own biases through meaningful intercultural
encounters (Sandell, 2007).
Internationally, and particularly since the 1990s, museums have started to engage
seriously with ‘difficult’ social issues around ethnic and cultural diversity especially in
relation to cultural identity, contested belongings, prejudice and racism (Bonnell &
Simon, 2007; Sandell, 2007). This shift has since accelerated in response to increased
global flows and interconnections, which have challenged nation-states not only to
face a social environment characterised by ‘“super-diversity” ... but a “hyper-diver-
sity” in which the proliferation of differences produces a dynamism that alters pro-
cesses of interethnic identification and connection’ (Noble, 2011, p. 830). In other
words, nation-states are nowadays not only more ethnically diverse but also exhibit
more complex forms of diversification within and between different ethnic groups.
Rather than taking a normative approach to ethnicity wherein ethnic groups are rei-
fied as ‘authentic’ and displayed for public consumption (Durrans, 1988), museums
have the capacity to take a critical pedagogical approach by paying attention to ‘the
processes of showing, who takes part in those processes and their consequences for
the relations they establish between the museum and the visitor’ (Bennett, 1995,
p. 103). In Australia, the Migration Museum in Adelaide (Szekeres, 2002) and the
Immigration Museum in Melbourne (Witcomb, 2013; Schorch, 2015) have sought
to open up spaces for engaging with contested Australian histories of migration and
their representation in museum exhibitions. Witcomb (2013, p. 256) argues that criti-
cal pedagogical practice within museums can ‘provoke unsettlement in their viewers
by playing with their collective memories about the past, challenging them to rethink
who they think they are and who they think they are viewing’. This pedagogical
approach positions museums at the forefront of critical inquiry into contemporary
social issues by engaging visitors as active participants with their own diverse and
complicated histories.
Although there is a growing body of empirical work about the effectiveness of
museum-based learning (Hooper-Greenhill, 2007) and how visitors engage with
interactive and immersive museum exhibitions (Whitehead et al., 2015), less is
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©2016 British Educational Research Association
known about the impact that museums have on visitors’ understanding of complex
subject matters such as ethnic identity (Sandell, 2007). This paper aims to contribute
to educational research on how museums can facilitate reflexive and in-depth engage-
ment with concepts such as cultural identity by examining how encounters with eth-
nic and cultural difference can go beyond learning ‘about others’. To examine how
secondary students in this study engaged more deeply with their sense of ethnic iden-
tity, the paper draws on the theoretical concept of ‘reflexive ethnicity’ (Pieterse,
2004; Hussain & Bagguley, 2015).
First, reflexivity can be broadly defined as a process of critical self-reflection
through which individuals become aware of their own subject-positions within a par-
ticular cultural framework and in turn, how this positioning influences and shapes
how they view and behave in the world (Kleinsasser, 2000). Both Pieterse (2004) and
Hussain and Bagguley (2015) draw on reflexivity to develop a nuanced analysis of
ethnic identification. Hussain and Bagguley (2015, p. 1) define ‘reflexive ethnicity’ as
the ‘different ways of relating to ethnic identity’. Critically, this concept focuses on
the circumstances that mediate people’s actions rather than viewing ethnic identity as
simply a matter of ‘ethnic choice’. Along similar lines, Pieterse (2004) also raises the
question and possibility of reflexive ethnicity by outlining variations of ethnicity,
which are broad categories characterised in relation to social, political and cultural
dynamics. Both conceptualisations of ‘reflexive ethnicity’ emphasise the social milieu
that informs ethnic identification rather than a simple matter of individual choice or
The concept of reflexive ethnicity was first empirically developed by Hussain and
Bagguley (2015) in the context of British adults from Pakistani, Bangladeshi,
White, African-Caribbean, Indian and Muslim backgrounds who were exploring
their ‘ethnic’ identity in the aftermath of the London bombings on 7 July 2005.
Drawing on Archer’s (2012) and Lash’s (1994) concepts, Hussain and Bagguley
(2015) delineated three different forms of reflexive ethnicity, which included: (i)
‘autonomous cognitive reflexive ethnicity’ (taken-for-granted ethnic identity without
need for discussion to affirm this identity); (ii) ‘communicative cognitive reflexive
ethnicity’ (taken-for-granted ethnic identity that is prompted or confirmed through
discussion with people with similar self-described ethnic identities); and (iii)
‘meta-reflexive hermeneutic’ or aesthetic reflexive ethnicities, which refer to socially
mediated heightened awareness of ethnic identity in relation to meaning-making
processes (hermeneutic) or in relation to everyday life and cultural practices
(aesthetic). For example, Hussain and Bagguley (2015) found that people who
described themselves as White-British tended to demonstrate autonomously reflex-
ive cognitive or communicative ethnic identities because their identity was often sta-
ted as an unproblematic fact or affirmed through discussion with the interviewer
who was also White-British. Autonomous cognitive reflexive ethnicity is similar to
Pieterse’s (2004, p. 33) concept of ‘dormant ethnicity’ in which ‘intergroup con-
tacts have no or little salience’ and so there is very little reflexivity and low aware-
ness of ethnic identity. The difference is that someone with ‘dormant ethnicity’ may
not only take their ethnicity for granted but also feel it has little salience, whereas
someone with autonomous cognitive reflexive ethnicity may feel that their ethnic
identity is salient but does not require intergroup contact for this to be the case.
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Comparatively, in Hussain and Bagguley’s (2015) study, people from Muslim or
ethnic minority backgrounds explained that they were often asked to state their reli-
gion or where they were from and so in the process were a priori made hyper-aware
of their ethnic or religious identity. In the interviews, they talked about ethnic iden-
tity by reflecting on the past and present personal and social circumstances that
shape their ethnic identity (meta-reflexive) and the everyday cultural practices that
inform and affirm their ethnic identity (aesthetic).
In this paper, we draw on the theoretical concept of ‘reflexive ethnicity’ (Pieterse,
2004; Hussain & Bagguley, 2015) to examine how Australian secondary school stu-
dents understood and related to key concepts of ethnicity and culture after visiting a
museum exhibition that explicitly dealt with ethnicity, identity and belonging. The
broader research question that informs our study is, ‘What is the effect of the IYMO
exhibition on the attitudes, emotions, beliefs and behaviours of Victorian students in
Years 10-12 in relation to racism, cultural diversity and racial and ethnic identity?’. In
this paper, we examine how students’ experiences in the museum activated a sense of
reflexive ethnic identity and how museum-based learning can augment teaching prac-
tice. The paper begins with a critique of ethnicity as it is taught in the Australian sec-
ondary school Year 12 sociology curriculum. Then, drawing on qualitative data from
the study, we explore how the concept of ‘ethnicity’ was enlivened during the stu-
dents’ visit to the museum exhibition by examining the different ways students under-
stood and related to ethnic identity in relation to different types of ‘reflexive
ethnicity’. We conclude with teachers’ perspectives about how the museum helped to
invigorate teaching practice in order to draw attention to the importance of reflexive
and experiential learning for teaching about ethnicity. Finally, we identify study limi-
tations and provide suggestions for future research.
Methods and participants
This paper draws on a larger research project funded by the Australian Research
Council that examined the impact on students of the Identity: Yours, Mine, Ours
(IYMO) exhibition at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, Australia. The study
was conducted between 2013 and 2014 and involved eight Year 12 classes, one Year
10 and one Year 11 class across seven secondary schools, with the majority (five
schools) located in outer metropolitan Melbourne (in the state of Victoria) and two
schools in regional Victoria. The schools that participated in this project were
recruited after they made initial contact with museum staff. After making a booking
for the museum visit, teachers were informed that a researcher would make contact
with them and the school’s principal to invite their class to be involved in the research
evaluation. Informed consent was received from students, students’ parents (for stu-
dents under 18), teachers and principals. All participants were in Year 12 except for
five in Year 11 and one in Year 10. Pseudonyms have been used for all participants
and schools. Ethics approval was received from Deakin University Human Research
Ethics Committee (#2013_008) and the Department of Education and Early Child-
hood Development (#2013_001878).
The evaluation utilised a multi-method longitudinal approach including video dia-
ries, narrative interviews and focus groups with 76 secondary school students and
874 J. Walton et al.
©2016 British Educational Research Association
semi-structured interviews with six teachers (Schorch et al., 2015). Focus groups and
narrative interviews were conducted two weeks after (T2) students attended the exhi-
bition and again three months later (T3) to assess any longer-term impacts. The focus
group schedule centred on themes gathered from the IYMO exhibition, which
included stereotypes, identity, citizenship, belonging, racism and bystander anti-
racism. The focus groups (approx. 1 hour each, 19 total) were designed to establish
group consensus and points of convergence (Rabiee, 2004; Robson & McCartan,
2016) about the themes in the exhibition. In order to facilitate focus groups that
‘allow issues and perspectives to emerge and to be discussed’ (Newby, 2014, p. 366),
some of the prompts we used in reference to different parts of the exhibition included:
‘What did you think when you saw it? Was there anything that surprised you? Was
there anything that you found challenging? Are there any particular situations or
events that come to mind?’. During the focus group (approx. six students each), stu-
dents provided examples of everyday experiences at home and school, thus drawing
connections with their experience of the exhibition. The narrative interviews (approx.
1530 minutes each, 16 students at T2 and 11 at T3) were used to provide an under-
standing of students’ experiences of the exhibition without semi-structured prompts
used in the focus group. The interviewer asked students to begin wherever they liked
in terms of talking about themselves and their experiences in the exhibition. This nar-
rative approach (Wengraf, 2001) elicited student narratives about aspects of the exhi-
bition that resonated with their personal experiences (Schorch, 2015). A total of 18
students recorded a video diary during their exhibition visit. This method was used to
provide a more intimate, sensory and immediate account of the students’ experiences
as they moved through the exhibition (Bates, 2013). As a visual method, the video
diaries provided an affective additional lens through which we could understand stu-
dents’ experiences in the exhibition that enriched the data from the focus groups and
narrative interviews. The video diaries also provided an informal medium through
which young people could express themselves, which is particularly useful when
understanding complex issues (Guillemin & Drew, 2010). Students were asked to
record their experience in the exhibition by focusing on things that interest or surprise
them and why and also to reflect on content that relates to experiences they have had
or someone else they know.
Focus groups were facilitated by three female researchers who identified as having
white, Jewish, Anglo-Australian and Korean American racial, ethnic and cultural
backgrounds. Most of the narrative interviews were conducted by a male researcher
with a white German background. All focus groups and interviews were audio-
recorded, transcribed verbatim by a professional transcription service and quality
checked by the first author. Video diaries were transcribed verbatim including
descriptions of students’ affective responses and objects/exhibition sections the stu-
dents filmed. Participants received $20 gift cards to thank them for their time and
contribution to the study. For students who participated in the narrative interviews
and video diaries, there was an even gender balance due to purposive sampling, which
aimed to include one boy and one girl from each class. Conversely, the number of
participants in the focus groups was more skewed toward girls, which reflects a larger
proportion of girls to boys in the classrooms.
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The transcripts were thematically coded using initial line-by-line coding and then
coded into themes and sub-themes based on an analysis of similarities and differences
across the focus groups, narrative interviews and video diaries (Robson & McCartan,
2016). Using qualitative analysis software, NVivo 10, themes emerged through
inductive coding as well as a priori codes based on themes in the focus group schedule.
Themes examined in this paper include teacher expectations of IYMO, the value of
IYMO, the impact of IYMO on students’ understanding of cultural and ethnic diver-
sity and racism, and IYMO’s influence on teaching practice.
Critiquing curriculum approaches to ethnicity
Four of the 10 student classes that visited the museum and participated in this study
were completing Year 12 VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) Sociology. The
sociology course covered four units. The unit associated with the excursion to the
IYMO exhibition was: Unit 3 Culture and Ethnicity (VCAA, 2011). In the unit, the
students focus on two ‘areas of study’, which include Australian Indigenous cultures
and the concept of ethnicity in relation to Australia’s migration history. The key out-
comes for the area of study on ethnicity are centred on conceptual knowledge about
sociological theories of race, ethnicity, ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. The
students also learn about hybrid identities with a focus on Stuart Hall’s theories of
cultural hybridity (Hall, 1990). As part of the recommended activities for this unit,
especially for the area of study on ethnicity, teachers are encouraged to attend an
exhibition at the Immigration Museum. The other classes included two classes study-
ing an ‘Identity and Belonging Unit’ within Year 10 English/VCE English and two
classes within English as an Additional Language (EAL). There were also two classes
studying the ‘Identity Strand’ within VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learn-
ing) literacy classes as part of the Personal Development Skills units. Although the
VCE sociology classes focused more explicitly on ethnicity with a whole unit dedi-
cated to it, the curriculum content in the other classes also related to understanding
identity, belonging and broader social issues. Because of the explicit educational rele-
vance to the unit, the teachers and students already expected that the exhibition visit
would enhance their understanding of topics they had been discussing in class around
ethnicity, migration, identity and belonging. All of the six teachers
who were inter-
viewed agreed that the IYMO exhibition was highly relevant to the curriculum con-
tent that they teach, particularly for English, Sociology, History and Literacy. This
was the main reason they decided to take their students to the exhibition:
If you have someone who’s teaching the subject I think it’s a useful resource, I think it’s a
useful tool for teaching and implementing that unit and I have spoken to some other teach-
ers who have been to the Immigration Museum during this exhibition and have thought it
wonderful. (Brett, Harford Teacher Interview)
I went online and then noticed that there was one [exhibition] specific for ethnicity and
immigration so I thought [it would] expose the students a little bit more. (Helen, Bayside
Teacher Interview)
The reason why we took our kids there was, because part of our coursework. We’re doing
a unit on identity and belonging and we wanted our students to explore that. (Mandy,
Kensington Teacher Interview)
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©2016 British Educational Research Association
As these quotes illustrate, before they visited the museum, the teachers felt the exhibi-
tion would extend their content knowledge for the purposes of classroom teaching.
They also expected that the exhibition visit would be an extension of their coursework
or simply part of what they were already learning. However, as discussed below, the
exhibition provided much more than simply an extension of the classroom space.
In the VCE sociology curriculum, ethnicity is defined as ‘particular cultural fea-
tures that are shared by a distinctive group or population’ (VCAA, 2011, p. 51).
There is also a statement that points out that ‘the way that a group sees itself might
not correspond to the way that outsiders see it’ and also explains that ‘ethnicity is not
fixed and unchanging ... [and is] shaped through a variety of political and social
forces’ (VCAA, 2011, p. 20). Although these statements denote some dynamic move-
ment when understanding ethnicity, this definition still assumes a static in-group/out-
group binary without sufficiently accounting for the blurriness of ethnic boundaries,
the diversity within and between ‘ethnic groupings’ and complex processes of identifi-
cation that inform those boundaries (Barth, 1969; Eriksen, 2010).
Furthermore, throughout the VCE Sociology curriculum, ethnicity is mainly
understood and taught at a conceptual and theoretical level. There is one key out-
come in the curriculum that aims to bring an ‘experiential element’ to the theoretical
work on ethnicity and culture, which involves an assessment of students’ understand-
ing of a particular ethnic group’s experiences in relation to the group’s identification,
material and non-material culture, cultural activities and challenges they experience
in society (VCAA, 2011). However, even this experiential element remains less of a
reflexive exercise and more centred on learning about ‘other’ people who ‘have ethnic-
ity’, which reinforces the idea of static ethnic group boundaries (Carter & Fenton,
2010). Furthermore, this understanding of ‘ethnic group’ is based on being able to
‘identify’ a set of cultural criteria that ‘define’ different ‘ethnic groups’.
If classroom activities and discussions are centred on learning about the characteris-
tics of different ethnic groups, there is a tendency to elide the process through which
ethnicity is socially, historically and culturally constructed, negotiated and contested
and more about defining ethnic groups. This approach inadvertently presents ethnic-
ity and ‘ethnic groups’ as largely static and bounded. Furthermore, without a critical
understanding of the processual and situated characteristics of ethnicity, there is also
the risk of reinforcing totalising assumptions that equate ethnicity with ‘race’
culture. The VCE Sociology curriculum states that ethnicity is a concept that is used
instead of ‘race’ with the claim that ‘most sociologists prefer to focus on the concept
of ethnicity rather than race’ (VCAA, 2011, p. 20). This claim is dubious given the
breadth and depth of critical sociological studies on race, especially in education
(Gillborn, 1995; Stevens, 2007; Walters, 2012; Race & Lander, 2014). Moreover, as
Barker (1981) argued with his concept of ethnicity as the ‘new racism’, ethnicity is
still often used in the same delimiting ways that race is often used to refer to one
aspect of someone’s background as if it constitutes the whole of that person.
Given this limited conceptual focus on ethnicity in the curriculum and as demon-
strated in a systematic review of multicultural education and student learning (Zirkel,
2008), how students learn about ethnicity in the classroom is mainly centred on
acquisition of knowledge about ‘difference’ rather than building a deeper understand-
ing of how this knowledge is constructed and what these concepts mean as lived
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experiences in contemporary socio-political contexts. Drawing on Banks’ and Banks’
(2004) multicultural education framework, Zirkel (2008, p. 1169) found that multi-
cultural content integration is the most common educational practice because it ‘re-
quires only a superficial reworking of the curriculum ... [and] does not demand us as
educators to rethink how knowledge is constructed or to make dramatic changes in
our pedagogical practices’. By focusing mainly on incorporating content, students
tend to learn about people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds rather than
through a more engaged and reflexive understanding that humanises ‘difference’
(Schorch, 2015) while becoming aware of their own positionality in critical ways. The
next section analyses the impact of the museum experience on students’ openness
and reflexive understanding of ethnic and cultural diversity.
Activating reflexive ethnicity in the museum space
In contrast to learning about ethnicity in the classroom, the museum experience pro-
vided an opportunity to interact with people’s stories as if they were talking to or lis-
tening to a particular person rather than simply learning ‘about’ someone perceived
as fundamentally ‘different’ to them. There were students who mainly viewed the
exhibition as a resource where they gained additional knowledge. However, they also
described this knowledge as providing increased awareness and openness toward an
array of experiences that people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds have
in Australia. This exposure to ethnic and cultural difference was particularly powerful
for students from White-Anglo backgrounds. For example, White-Anglo students
It definitely opened my eyes ... ‘cause I’ve never really seen it first-hand like I did there.
(Sandra, Bayside, T2 Narrative Interview)
I don’t know, kind of like I guess it gave me a bit more insight into what people feel like
when they’ve come here from other countries. Didn’t really know much about that. (Har-
ford T3 Focus Group 2014)
And, I guess, helped us all ... we can now talk about it more, have more knowledge on it,
so we can talk about it in deeper context. (Woodlane T3 Focus Group)
These students describe an initial openness that provided a starting point for deepen-
ing their awareness and understanding of other people’s experiences beyond a cogni-
tive level.
Building on this increased awareness and knowledge, there were also other students
from both White-Anglo and ethnic-minority backgrounds who described a deeper
experience of engagement, which activated feelings of empathy and openness through
an affective connection with the person whose story they were immersed in. As Wit-
comb (2013, p. 267) argues in the context of the role of museums, ‘By engaging the
viewer in a very direct and physical way, objects are able to activate an emotional
response’ by creating a ‘simulation of dialog’ between the viewer and the person who
is sharing their experience. Integral to this dialogue is that upon entering the exhibi-
tion, the viewer brings their past and their ‘partial knowledge’ to the present and
specifically, to the museum space. Through interacting with the other person’s story,
they could then ‘extend that partial knowledge’ at both cognitive and affective levels
878 J. Walton et al.
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(Witcomb, 2013, p. 267). For the students and their experience in the exhibition, it
was also more than just a dialogue; there were non-verbal aspects that were also
important including the feeling of emotion conveyed through stories as well as the
images, body gestures and sounds.
Even if students could not readily relate to the stories, they could still have a felt
connection with the stories of people positioned as ‘other’. By listening to the people’s
stories in the touchscreen videos or picking up an audio handset,
they could feel con-
nected to that person by imagining what it would be like to be in their position. In this
sense, the inter-subjective connection fostered perspective-taking and empathy and
helped the students to imagine what it is like to be ‘othered’ through the ‘othering’
experiences told by people in the interactive displays. This shift toward what it feels
like to be othered mainly occurred among some White-Anglo students whose ethnic
identity was mostly taken-for-granted. Drawing on Hussain and Bagguley (2015),
their ethnic identity could be understood as autonomous cognitive reflexive ethnicity.
It was autonomous because for these students, ethnic identity was taken-for-granted
to the extent that they did not necessarily even feel the need to acknowledge that they
have an ethnic identity. It was cognitive because in classroom discussions about eth-
nicity, they knew that they have an ethnic identity because the teachers told them they
do, but it was not salient for them in their everyday interactions.
One of the key features of the exhibition that helped to unsettle these students’
automated certainty of identity and belonging was the Welcome video because it placed
them in a position where they began to feel ‘othered’. Welcome is a video installation
designed by Australian video artist Lynette Wallworth (refer to Figure 1). In order to
enter the exhibition, the visitor walks down a dimly lit narrow corridor where all they
can see is a video display of life-sized people projected onto the back wall. The video
display is outlined with a doorframe to give the impression that the people in the video
are either welcoming the visitor into their home or rejecting them. Each group of
people included in the Welcome video are presented in both a negative light (e.g.,
unwelcoming body language) and a positive light (e.g., welcoming body language).
In interactive displays like the Welcome video, it can feel like the people in the video
are reaching out beyond the screen, thus inviting the visitor to move from being a pas-
sive observer to an active participant. At first, the students were not quite sure what
they were looking at and their initial reactions were of surprise and shock. As they set-
tled into the experience and stood watching the video images, they were also simulta-
neously being watched under the direct gave of the life-size people in the video. This
surprising feeling of being ‘othered’ shifted the White-Anglo students’ sense of self.
The following describes how the Welcome video helped April, a White-Anglo student
from Bayside, to move from an ‘autonomous cognitive reflexive ethnicity’ to one that
was more ‘meta-reflexive’ (Hussain & Bagguley, 2015). Her experience of ethnicity in
terms of ‘autonomous cognitive reflexive ethnicity’ characterises other White-Anglo
students’ experiences. While filming her video diary, April commented on her reac-
tions to the images as they changed on the screen. She was surprised by an image of
three men of different Asian backgrounds who were wearing black leather because
they were smiling and displaying positive body language, suggesting she would have
expected them to be unwelcoming or potentially dangerous. The image shifted to a
group of schoolgirls who she described as, ‘whispering and looking really unaccepting
Towards reflexive ethnicity 879
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of people coming into the country, like it just looks nasty’ (April, Bayside Video
Diary). She immediately connected this feeling of being excluded and taunted to what
it might feel like to be someone ‘of a different ethnicity, wanting to come into this
country and this is the reaction that people are giving you’. There was a third image
of a family with many small children, who she thought could be a foster family. Their
wary and closed bodily expressions made her feel that they were scared of her. By
being ‘othered’ as a person who others are suspicious of, she began to empathise with
people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds who experience this in everyday life.
Through this perspective-taking and empathy, she began to reflect on her own iden-
tity and subject-position. She explained:
Standing in this doorway ... it just kind of puts it into perspective that the looks people
give you can really make a difference. Like these people just looking at you make you feel
guilty for just standing here and I’m not even an immigrant. I’m an Australian girl just
watching this video and it even makes me feel guilty just standing here. (April, Bayside
Video Diary)
In this video diary reflection, she recognises that, as a White Australian girl, if she can
feel guilty for standing there as if she is intruding on other people’s space, she suggests
that it must be far worse for people who have migrated to Australia. In her use of the
word immigrant, she implies that immigrant refers to racial and ethnic minorities in
comparison to the implied whiteness of being Australian. However, at the same time,
by experiencing a position where she is the one not being welcomed, her sense of
Figure 1. Walking toward the Welcome video installation
Image: Still shot from Lynette Wallworth’s Welcome video installation as part of the Identity: Yours,
Mine, Ours exhibition at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, Australia.
Source: Museum Victoria
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belonging is unsettled and she begins to reflect more on her racial and ethnic identity
as an ‘Australian girl’ and the social normativity of that positioning. The certainty and
normativity of her racial and ethnic identity as White and Anglo Australian positioned
her ethnic identity as a ‘dormant ethnic identity’ (Pieterse, 2004), or an ethnic iden-
tity that is not realised because it is not experienced as relevant or recognised and
marked as ‘different’ in everyday life. Through her experience at the exhibition, she
was affected by the unfamiliar feeling of being ‘othered’ and through this affective
experience, could engage in a meta-reflexive ethnic identity process (Hussain &
Bagguley, 2015).
For White-Anglo students whose exhibition experience did not facilitate a deeper
sense of their ethnic identity, it did, however, help them to reflect on reasons why they
may feel they do not have an ethnic identity or a feeling of being ‘cultureless’ (Perry,
2001). In the following example, White-Anglo students at Woodlane first affirmed
their ethnic identity as ‘Australian’ (read as White and Anglo) through ‘communica-
tive cognitive reflexivity’ (Hussain & Bagguley, 2015). In this variation of reflexive
ethnicity, ‘communicative cognitive reflexivity’ is achieved by temporarily drawing
attention to a taken-for-granted ethnic identity and then seeking to affirm that iden-
tity with someone perceived to be from a similar background. Then, through the dis-
cussion about their exhibition experience, they became more ‘meta-reflexive’
(Hussain & Bagguley, 2015) about why their ethnic identity was taken-for-granted.
Karen I guess it’s hard because I’ve never like lived in another country. I’ve never
experienced another culture so I don’t know, if I were to go to another country,
would I feel like I belong more to that country than I did in Australia.
Beth I don’t really know, I guess like how do you feel to be like acknowledged as an
Australian, like especially because I’ve never left the country or like really
experienced other cultures so deeply that you don’t really know like anything
else ... like you only know how you live like each day. It’s not really like, ‘oh I
feel different because I know I’m Australian’.
Karen Yeah you can’t acknowledge what you don’t understand. (Woodlane T2 Focus
These students went deeper into the issue of reflexivity. They acknowledged that it
was difficult to be reflexive if they did not have experiences where they were perceived
as different or could feel what it is like to experience their own ethnic background as
Anglo Australian as different from another ethnic background. They talked about this
in terms of not ‘really know[ing] like anything else’ because they are so immersed in
their own way of living. Because they come from a majority Anglo ethnic background,
which is completely normalised in Australian society as the ‘core culture’ (Forrest &
Dunn, 2006), and live in an area that is predominantly White and Anglo, they do not
know what it means to ‘feel different’.
Conversely, for students who could recognise themselves in people’s stories, the
emotional and bodily reaction to those stories brought up their own memories and
experiences. In particular, stories of racism and bullying experiences conjured past
experiences and negative feelings that students had encountered in their own lives.
Tamati, a Maori student at Harford, said that the experience that most affected him
in the exhibition was the tram simulation. The tram simulation includes a life-size
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video screen of people riding a tram in Melbourne. It shows a racist incident between
a man with darker skin of African background (as target) and a White-Anglo man (as
perpetrator) and the reactions and actions/inactions of bystanders. Tamati said that
watching it reminded him of racism he had experienced because of his skin colour.
He explained, ‘It was of a dark skinned person ... no-one would sit by him because
there was the colour of his skin and I’ve only picked that out because I’ve been
through it myself and yeah just got to see what happens and the situations’ (Tamati,
Harford, Class B,
T2 Narrative Interview 2014). Tamati could readily identify with
the target of racism in the video by reflecting on his experiences with racism in Aus-
tralia. Through this interactive experience, Tamati felt a sense of heightened aware-
ness of his own identity and engaged in ‘meta-reflexivity’ by relating it back to his
own experience (Hussain & Bagguley, 2015). Earlier in the interview, he reflected
that in New Zealand, he did not remember experiencing racism and reasoned that it
was because he was mainly around other Maori in the neighbourhood where he lived.
However, when he moved to Australia, he became more aware of his racial and ethnic
‘otherness’ through experiences of racism. The tram simulation caused him to reflect
on his personal history and the differences between being Maori in New Zealand and
being ‘othered’ in Australia.
The exhibition also encouraged ‘a meta-reflexive attitude toward the aesthetics of
culture’ through reflections on ethnic identity (Hussain & Bagguley, 2015, p. 8). For
example, material artefacts displayed in the exhibition that included stories about
who they belonged to resonated with some students and caused them to consider
reflexively what they mean for their own sense of ethnic identity. Cezmi and Fahim,
two students from Turkish backgrounds, commented on the similarities between the
Greek shadow puppets in the exhibition and the puppets they had in Turkey:
Another familiar sight, the shadow puppets. We had a lot of them in Turkey and growing
up, we used to watch performances of the shadow puppets. Seeing that in the immigration
museum it’s a familiar sight, I love it. (Cezmi & Fahim, Hartville Video Diary)
The students enjoyed seeing reminders of their ethnic heritage reflected back to them
in the exhibition. Seeing the Greek shadow puppets in the Immigration Museum con-
nected them to memories they had in Turkey when they watched shadow puppet per-
formances as children. Even though the shadow puppets were from Greece and not
Turkey, the familiarity of the shadow puppets evoked past memories, thus connecting
the present with the past and helping them to reflect on their Turkish identity.
The exhibition also included written prompts in each section to encourage stu-
dent reflexivity. For example, in his video diary, Matai from Wellview talked
about his Pacific Islander background
in response to a display about food. In
the ‘What We Eat’ section, the main introductory panel asks, ‘We are what we
eat, or are we?’ Matai filmed another panel that encourages the visitor to think
about how food considered ‘weird’ in some places is also normal in other con-
texts. Matai reflected, ‘We do eat kind of weird food I would say but you know,
it’s part of my culture. It’s what I eat, it’s really nice’. He continued to read the
display, which talked about taking pride in your family’s traditions. He added,
‘You know ‘cause I go to church I get taught how to make food and stuff so I’m
always proud of what culture I’m in’. He then panned down to other images
882 J. Walton et al.
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about how people in different cultures prepare their food and reflected, ‘We’re
actually not that different as you see, how they make the food it’s pretty much
how [we] make the food’ (Matai, Wellview Video Diary). Throughout, the panels
and stories of other people’s food and family traditions sparked reflexive thinking
about Matai’s own sense of identity and associated family traditions. He acknowl-
edges that others might think that what he eats is strange but then reflects on
similarities between how his family prepares particular foods and how people
from other ethnic backgrounds prepare the same thing. Although this may seem
like a simple representation of ‘multicultural difference’, Matai’s intercultural
engagement through food supported a ‘schema of perception’ (Watkins & Noble,
2013) that enabled a sense of ‘affinity’ (Noble, 2011) with people from different
cultural backgrounds who seemed to be preparing food in a similar way to
Matai’s family. Matai’s experience was not simply a ‘moralistic insistence upon
the “appreciation” of difference’; rather, by practically engaging with alterity
through food preparation, Matai could make connections across differences while
also meta-reflexively (Hussain & Bagguley, 2015) examining his own ethnic
background in a new light as different but ‘not that different’ (Matai, Wellview
Video Diary).
Although students expressed pride in their ethnic background, the pressure to have
an ethnicity, read as ‘non-White’ and ‘non-Anglo’ meant that students also had expe-
riences when they were pigeonholed and defined by how they look or speak. In
response to what identity and belonging means, Tuyen, an international student
Because like I say like ...I’m Vietnamese here but then identity isn’t only about the ethnic,
it’s about like in [my] class here, my identity is a student but when I go home to ...accord-
ing to my little brother, I am the sister. (Tuyen, Kensington T2 Narrative Interview)
Tuyen reflected on how other people use her ethnic identity as the defining feature.
By asserting that she is also a sister and student, she resists essentialising multicultural
discourse that categorises people by static ethnic and cultural categories based on
physical appearance and linguistic and cultural differences. Here, she is both meta-
reflexive about her ethnic identity and is critical of how others define her based on a
limited understanding of identity. While white and Anglo identities are normalised
and allowed to include multiple individual characteristics such as personality, ‘multi-
cultural others’ are fixed to their ‘ethnic identity’ as the key feature that defines the
whole of their sense of self. By asserting other aspects of her identity, Tuyen resists
this form of ‘static and categorical multiculturalism’ (Ang, 2011, p. 29) by drawing
attention to the complexity of identity.
Overall, students explained that they could relate to the stories in the exhibition
because they could either recognise their own experiences reflected in the other per-
son’s story, because it reminded them of previous experiences of other people they
know or because it challenged a previous assumption they had about people from dif-
ferent ethnic or cultural backgrounds and caused them to reflect on their own sense
of self. For other students, especially for White-Anglo students, the exhibition helped
them to reflect on the normativity of their ethnic identity in Australia.
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Augmenting teaching practice about ethnic identity
Despite already having ‘buy-in’ based on the exhibition’s connection to the curricu-
lum, like the students, teachers who had not visited the exhibition before were sur-
prised at the depth of interactive displays within the exhibition. They were also
surprised at the number of diverse personal stories that were included in the displays.
This is illustrated by Mandy’s reflection:
I was just assuming okay, there’s ... going to have a few displays and we’ll be able to walk
through but I was really pleasantly surprised as to how interactive the displays were and
how thorough and diverse the actual stories and different sections were and the experience
was really beneficial for the kids and even for myself it was an eye-opener too and I really
enjoyed a lot of the yeah, the interactive displays, which made the experience that more
enjoyable. And interesting. (Mandy, Kensington Teacher Interview)
Mandy described her experience of the exhibition as an ‘eye-opener’, which was facil-
itated by the interactive format that allowed the teachers and students to engage with
the stories and other content directly. Rather than staying at a distance, they were in a
sense, drawn into the stories. Helen, a teacher at Bayside, explained, ‘That sort of
stuff makes it stick in their minds a little bit more ... [due to the] hands-on element’
(Helen, Bayside Teacher Interview). From the teachers’ perspective, the exhibition’s
interactive format, supported through audio-visual content as well as diverse personal
stories, provided the students with a ‘hands-on’ experience that not only extended
but also enriched what they were learning at school. For the teachers, this was the
core value of the exhibition.
Back in the classroom, the teachers found that after visiting the exhibition with
their students, they could revitalise topics about belonging and identity in ways that
were more concrete and practical compared to their previous classroom discussions.
Annette explained:
In the classroom if I say, ‘Okay, who are you? Tell me, you know, tell me about yourself.
Tell me about your background, you know, where do you belong? Or tell me a little bit
about the country where you’re from. What do you think about or what’s your first impres-
sions of you know life in Australia or how have you been treated by people here?’ It’s just
... it’s not a practical application. But with the exhibit we were able to apply it practically.
(Annette, Wellview Teacher Interview)
It was the tangible connection between the students and the exhibition material, and
the affective dimension that the space evoked that provided a deeper and more engag-
ing connection to the concepts the students had learnt in the classroom.
Importantly, teachers explained that learning more and understanding more about
the complexity of people’s experiences of identity and belonging helped them to feel
more capable teaching about such issues to the students. As Lynette reflected:
I was probably confident before but I think it’s given more information that ... I don’t
know if it boosts the confidence but it certainly makes what you’re saying at least in your
own head a lot more credible. (Lynette, Wellview Teacher interview)
This sense of increased professional capability was echoed by Mandy, a teacher at
Kensington. Mandy had considerable teaching experience (over 10 years) and already
felt fairly confident talking about identity and belonging. However, she said that going
884 J. Walton et al.
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to the exhibition provided a ‘practical’ side to teaching those concepts in a way that was
less abstract. Overall, the teachers felt the exhibition visit catalysed their teaching prac-
tice, providing a stronger connection to the concepts they were learning in class by
drawing on how these are experienced by actual people in everyday life. These findings
are consistent with the ‘benefits to both learners and teachers of research-rich continu-
ing professional development (CPD)’ (Cordingley, 2015, p. 236). Based on a system-
atic review of CPD (Cordingley, 2015), research-based opportunities for professional
development have a greater impact if they provide specialist expertise that enhances
existing knowledge through new approaches and support teachers to develop their
teaching skills by focusing first on how their new knowledge and understanding can
assist students’ learning. The museum exhibition served as a form of CPD by enhanc-
ing teachers’ understanding of sociological concepts and providing a more in-depth
interpersonal understanding of cultural diversity and racism.
Although the museum provided the opportunity for students to reflect on their own
thoughts and feelings about identity and belonging and professional development that
helped the teachers to enliven their understanding of these issues, the class-based
assessments did not necessarily provide an opportunity to build on this experience.
The need to integrate individual interventions such as the museum exhibition into the
curriculum and broader school policy and practice supports research on using educa-
tional approaches to facilitate long-term changes in attitudes toward ethnic diversity
(Zirkel, 2008; Walton et al., 2013). Although teachers in this study expressed they felt
more capable talking about topics in the curriculum due to the concrete examples pro-
vided in the exhibition, this also did not always translate to critically challenging
assumptions about ethnic identity in Australia. For example, students at Bayside and
Woodlane, two schools consisting of mainly White-Anglo students, had to complete a
research project on ethnicity and were told they had to research an ethnic background
different from their own. This reinforces the view that ethnicity is something that
‘other’ ‘non-White’ and ‘non-Anglo’ people have (Dyer, 1997; Hage, 1998; Franken-
berg, 2001). Therefore, in addition to curriculum and whole school support, teacher
training to have a critical understanding of ethnicity and opportunities to reflect deeply
on how their views are informed by their social positioning, including privilege, is
required (Sleeter, 2001; Picower, 2009; Kowal et al., 2013).
Drawing on the concept of reflexive ethnicity, this paper expands on previous theoret-
ical research about the capacity for museums to engage visitors and their past experi-
ences in a way that evokes an empathetic connection with other people’s stories
around complex social issues such as identity, belonging and racism (Witcomb, 2013;
Schorch, 2015). The research reported in this paper also provides an additional
empirical basis for theoretical work on reflexive ethnicity by extending it to the con-
text of museum-based learning among young people. Overall, our findings demon-
strate that the museum’s immersive and affective atmosphere provided a space that
enabled students to think reflexively about their own sense of identity and belonging
through interpersonal encounters with ethnic and cultural difference. Rather than
being solely a cognitive act, reflexivity was enabled through a felt connection with the
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personal stories in the exhibition. This occurred as students became aware of them-
selves through the experience of viewing self as ‘other’ or through seeing themselves
in or empathising with the ‘other’. This reflects a trend in cutting-edge museological
practice in which previously unexamined connections involving the self and others
are challenged through emotionally intensive exhibitions (Witcomb, 2015). As Erik-
sen (2010, p. 42) argues, ‘ethnicity is a product of contact and not of isolation’. Eth-
nic identity emerges through social relations and interpersonal interactions rather
than as simply an independent and individualised matter of ‘ethnic choice’ (Hussain
& Bagguley, 2015, p. 1). The museum exhibition simulated an immersive situation
where students could have interpersonal encounters with people from different ethnic
and cultural backgrounds. Through these encounters, the exhibition also included
prompts in each section that encouraged students to reflect on their own sense of
identity and belonging. This focus is reflected through the provocative question and
exhibition slogan, ‘I belong, do you?’.
As our research findings demonstrate, the students’ reflexive positioning was not
simply a cognitive act but, at times, became ‘meta-reflexive’ through both hermeneutic
and aesthetic modes (Hussain & Bagguley, 2015). For example, this occurred through
a sudden and acute bodily awareness of one’s positionality, such as when one’s racial
identity is felt as salient during experiences of direct or vicarious racism or when
becoming aware of racial privilege (Kowal et al., 2013). For students from ethnic-min-
ority backgrounds, who were often already reflexive about their ethnic identity, their
experiences in the exhibition strengthened their sense of identity by mirroring stories
from their own lives in terms of cultural practices and issues of belonging due to
racism. Their encounters with people with similar experiences enabled a ‘meta-reflex-
ive’ approach to ethnicity, which contributed to meaning-making processes around
the significance of their ethnic identity (Hussain & Bagguley, 2015). In contrast, the
exhibition unsettled White students who had very little contact with people from dif-
ferent racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds and who had never questioned whether or
not they belong in Australia. White-Anglo students in this study tended to take an ‘au-
tonomous cognitive reflexive’ approach to ethnic identity (Hussain & Bagguley,
2015), in which their ‘dormant identity’ (Pieterse, 2004) as ‘Australian’ was taken for
granted. It was through their engagement with the exhibition and expressed later dur-
ing focus groups and narrative interviews that they began to reflect on their ethnic
identity through ‘communicative cognitive reflexivity (Hussain & Bagguley, 2015).
Rather than simply a once-off visit to a museum exhibition, this kind of deep reflexiv-
ity, through which students consider their own identity and belonging in Australia
rather than taking it for granted, is a crucial step toward dismantling ‘othering’
approaches and building a more just society (Byrd Clark & Dervin, 2014).
Another significant finding relates to the potential for museum-based learning to
provide a refreshed approach to teaching topics about identity and belonging (Hoo-
per-Greenhill, 2007). The contrast between the students’ and teachers’ reported
experiences in the classroom and of the exhibition demonstrates a significant gap in
the curriculum. The value of the exhibition as expressed by the students and teachers
clearly shows that a more in-depth, affective and self-reflective understanding of eth-
nicity is required. Traditional forms of education need to be augmented by creative
aesthetic modes that engage and activate the affective dimension of teaching and
886 J. Walton et al.
©2016 British Educational Research Association
learning among students and teachers alike. This can include community-based
learning and cross-cultural immersion programs (Sleeter, 2001) as long as they are
implemented in relation to broader school change and ongoing professional develop-
ment (Cordingley, 2015). Such positive and open approaches can orient educational
experiences towards social and cultural learning while mitigating against a persistent
neoliberal obsession with measurable literacy outcomes and numeracy attainments
(Kamp & Mansouri, 2010).
Finally, in relation to the study limitations, our research methods did not include
scope to explore students’ engagement with ethnic identity at school or in relation to
their inter-ethnic encounters in the broader community. Further observational
research is needed to gain a better and more in-depth understanding of the extent to
which museum-based learning impacts on student learning and teaching practice at
school and how this connects to everyday experiences of ethnic and cultural diversity
in local contexts.
This study was supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage
[LP120100080], the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and Museum Victoria.
The second author holds an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship
[FT130101148]. The third author holds a UNESCO Chair on Cultural Diversity
and Social Justice.
1. The six teachers include two from VCE sociology, two from VCE English/EAL and two from VCAL.
2. ‘Race’ is a socially constructed category associated with essentialised difference based on physical appearance,
ancestry/inheritance and/or culture (Paradies, 2006).
3. The audio handset looked like a telephone, which provided a more familiar sense of everyday connection to
the person talking about their experiences.
4. There were two different Year 12 classes at Harford College that participated in the evaluation. Class B refers
to the second class that participated in 2014. Class A refers to the first class that participated in 2013.
5. For purposes of anonymity, the exact country is not identified.
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... The trend for community participation in museums -the "participatory turn" -aiming to counteract previous hegemonic structures (see Mygind, Hällmann, and Bentsen, 2015;Lynch and Alberti, 2010;Lynch, 2013), potentially shifts the "boundaries of belonging" (Yuval-Davis, 2006;Anthias, 2013) presented in or upheld by museums. The ways that museum professionals use such strategies to empower or educate (see Morse, 2018;Walton et al., 2016) could lead to a critical rethinking of museums as public spaces of belonging. ...
... Peu de recherches ont été menées en contexte partenarial mobilisant les institutions muséales (Moore, Hoskyn, & Mayo, 2018), malgré leur potentiel reconnu pour développer des programmes sur la diversité culturelle et linguistique (Charalampopoulou, 2013). Ce sont en effet des lieux d'apprentissage et facilitateurs de rencontres interculturelles (Walton, Paradies, & Mansouri, 2016). Un état des lieux de ces recherches montre l'ampleur des défis relevés par le partage d'expertise entre praticiens, chercheurs et partenaires éducatifs lorsqu'ils mettent en place des projets éducatifs qui prennent en compte la diversité des langues et des cultures des apprenants. ...
... In particular, Science & Religion programs explored approaches to prompting reflection and conversation among participants as a means to encouraging greater understanding (Roberts 2013;Skydsgaard et al. 2016;Walton et al. 2016;West 2013). The team was inspired by previous work we had done, which developed both programming resources and facilitation techniques to support open-ended conversations focusing on public audiences' experiences and values, validating their experiences and opinions, and identifying a role for them in making decisions about emerging technologies (Ostman 2017;Ostman et al. 2013). ...
The Science & Religion project explored the relationship of science and religion through creative nonfiction stories and public programs. The overarching goal of this work was to investigate whether and how museums can encourage reflection and conversation around big, important, and difficult questions. In this paper, we contextualize the project in the movement to address societal issues in museums, describe some of the design and delivery strategies we used to create public programs that were inclusive of diverse points of view, report the programs’ impact on participants, and offer lessons learned for museum practitioners interested in similar programmatic approaches or topics. We also reflect on our own attitudes and preconceptions as museum educators, considering why we felt this was a controversial topic and why we were surprised to discover that audiences were so receptive to it.
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La contribution porte sur une recherche en cours dont l’objectif est de comprendre comment se construit un partenariat pédagogique et de recherche impliquant un travail collaboratif entre une école, des familles et plusieurs musées de la ville, autour du développement de scénarios didactiques pour/ par le plurilinguisme pour des enfants du primaire, à Montevideo (Uruguay). L’enjeu est d’éclairer certaines conditions d’élaboration d’un tel partenariat impliquant des enseignants, des praticiens de l’éducation muséale, des chercheurs en didactique des langues et des parents d’élèves. Par le biais d’une approche (auto)-ethnographique, nous chercherons à comprendre : (i) comment ce partenariat éducatif est envisagé par les différents partenaires – ses enjeux et ses contraintes pour chacun ; (ii) leurs rôles dans l’éclairage et la compréhension d’une recherche visant une innovation pédagogique autour du plurilinguisme. Nous explorerons en particulier quelques implications pour le chercheur-acteur, ainsi que les transformations qu’elles supposent, tant au niveau des pratiques professionnelles que des pratiques et de la posture de recherche. La contribution pose ainsi quelques jalons pour mieux comprendre les enjeux, les savoirs et les méthodes des recherches collaboratives en didactique des langues et du plurilinguisme, ainsi que leur potentiel pour la transformation des pratiques (de recherche et en éducation).
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Over the last thirty years museums around the world have shown an increased willingness to take on what is often characterized as ‘difficult subject matter.’ Absent in Anglophone museum studies literature, however, is a sustained discussion on what it is about such exhibitions that render them ‘difficult’ and, most important, what can be achieved by making painful histories public. This paper sets out to stimulate such discussion, illustrating the relevance of our concerns within the context of a comparative analysis of two recent Swedish exhibitions: The Museum of World Culture’s No Name Fever: AIDS in the Age of Globalization; and Kulturen’s Surviving: Voices from Ravensbrück. Very divergent in their presentation strategies and in the type of information presented, these exhibitions attempt to position their viewers in relation to violence and suffering of ‘others’ distant in time, place, or experience. We conclude by discussing the ways in which public history might animate a critical historical consciousness, a way of living with and within history as a never-ending question that constantly probes the adequacy of the ethical character and social arrangements of daily life.
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This timely collection focuses on domestic and international education research on race and ethnicity. As co-conveners of the British Education Research Associations (BERA) Special Education Group on Race and Ethnicity (2010-2013), Race and Lander are advocates for the promotion of race and ethnicity within education. With its unique structure and organisation of empirical material, this volume collates contributions from global specialists and fresh new voices to bring cutting-edge research and findings to a multi-disciplinary marker which includes education, sociology and political studies. The aim of this book is to promote and advocate a range of contemporary issues related to race, ethnicity and inclusion in relation to pedagogy, teaching and learning.
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How far have ethnic studies advanced past the finding that ethnicity is constructed, not primordial? While the “decolonization of ethnicity” is still under way, at times the stream of ethnic studies seems to add up to little more than a series of vignettes. Ethnicity is still talked about in a generalizing fashion, as if in each contribution the sociology of ethnicity has to be reinvented again and again. But what if we unpack ethnicity by means of a typology and taxonomy of ethnicities, and thus bring the sociology of ethnicity to the foreground and bring finesse and method into the discussion? This is the aim of the first chapter. The second aim of this chapter is to twin the ethnicity discussion with the discussion on multiculturalism – combining and contrasting discourses of ethnicity and multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, like ethnicity, is a moving target – an ongoing cultural flux and an institutional arrangement, a target of criticism or a reform platform. Ethnicity is a contemporary vocabulary for various notions of group boundaries; multiculturalism, likewise, is a discourse that negotiates group boundaries. Thus both ethnicity and multiculturalism address the underlying theme of the politics and discourse of group boundaries. Group boundaries, a fundamental theme in anthropology and social science, now come back in various guises, such as the “spatial turn” that takes us beyond notions of borderlessness and nomadism, and reterritorialization, border matters, border theory, border consciousness, and so forth (cf. Nederveen Pieterse 2002). © Cambridge University Press 2004 and
2001 introduction to in-depth semipstructured qualitative interviewing and to BNIM in paerticular. Unique in its conceptual coherence and its level of practical detail, it cov ers a full spectrum from the identification of topics and research questions, to the interviewing, to the answerin g of research questions, the compring and theorising of cases an d to strategies of writing-up presentations.
Written with the novice educational researcher in mind, Research Methods in Education is designed to help students produce good quality, valid and valuable research. The text is written in an engaging style and adopts a mixed-methods approach; guidance on analytical procedures that require more advanced tools such as SPSS and Minitab are also provided. The book is packed with exercises, examples and comparative international material from other educational contexts, all of which help to introduce this complex subject in an easy to use format for people that are new to research and are not confident with numerical information.
This book examines the foundations of multiculturalism in the context of émigré societies and from a multi-dimensional perspective. The work considers the politics of multiculturalism and focuses on how the discourse of cultural rights and intercultural relations in western societies can and should be accounted for at a philosophical, as well as performative level. Theoretical perspectives on current debates about cultural diversity, religious minorities and minority rights emerge in this volume. The book draws our attention to the polarised nature of contemporary multicultural debates through a well-synthesised series of empirical case studies that are grounded in solid epistemological foundations and contributed by leading experts from around the world. Readers will discover a fresh re-examination of prominent multicultural settings such as Canada and Australia but also an emphasis on less examined case studies among multicultural societies, as with New Zealand and Italy. Authors engage critically and innovatively with the various ethical challenges and policy dilemmas surrounding the management of cultural and religious diversity in our contemporary societies. Comparative perspectives and a focus on core questions related to multiculturalism, not only at the level of practice but also from historical and philosophical perspectives, tie these chapters from different disciplines together. This work will appeal to a multi-disciplinary audience, including scholars of political philosophy, sociology, religious studies and those with an interest in migration, culture and religion in contemporary societies.