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Democracy needs art: Städel Museum launches education initiative
The Städel Museum's digital offers. Photo: Andreas Reeg.



FRANKFURT.- Knowing what is, what has been, and what might come, forming opinions, and engaging in debate and discourse in order to foster a lively democratic culture is at the heart of a major cultural education initiative by the Städel Museum titled Shifting Points of View. Seeing Differently. Understanding One Another. Building on the understanding that a museum is a place for diverse social aspects of life, for years the Städel Museum has been developing audience-oriented art education that reflects the times. Shifting Points of View is intended to support thinking and acting in a way that promotes democracy. It allows historical developments and processes that have shaped the social value system of freedom and democracy to be impressively retraced through active engagement with artworks at the Städel Museum. The works in the collection from 1300 to the present encompass a wide range of subject matter, telling stories that include topics such as globalisation, resistance, utopia, emancipation, power, oppression, and populism.

“The museum is a place for both art and debate. Larger political and social correlations can always be found in art. The Städel Museum – a civic institution rooted in the tradition of humanism – demonstrates with the education initiative Shifting Points of View that the ability to judge history can be trained and strengthened by engaging with art. Yesterday can tell us a great deal about today. It enables us to stay alert and face life’s realities by forming our own informed opinions and points of view”, explains Philipp Demandt, Director of the Städel Museum.

Within the framework of the education initiative Shifting Points of View an ever-expanding art education programme will be created, consisting of various new formats targeted to a broad audience, such as discursive guided tours, digital offers, practical art seminars and workshops, and specific continuing and advanced training courses. Themes and content that promote democracy are already being addressed in numerous current outreach offers, including online tours, CLOSE UP, the Städel podcast “Blinded by Rembrandt”, Digitorials®, and the training materials used during Education Week. Encountering and engaging with art fosters cultural participation and empowers viewers to help actively shape a diverse democratic society. With Shifting Points of View, the Städel Museum is also explicitly addressing day-care centres, schools, and adult education institutions.

“What shapes our points of view, and how are these opinions reflected in art? Learning to read and interpret images, talk about them, discuss them together, and ultimately better understand the social developments and phenomena of our time underlies the educational approach behind Shifting Points of View. We see art as a medium to promote democratic discourse. The development of skills in the areas of interculturality and multi-perspectivity, as well as responsible handling of the flood of information and images in the digital age, are also fundamental to the aims of our education initiative”, explains Chantal Eschenfelder, head of Education and the Digital Collection, Städel Museum.










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