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The Cultural Stories educational programme - A nationwide programme promoting cultural education on the subject of Islamic art


On Friday 30 January 2015, a press conference on the Cultural Stories educational programme was held in the Mshatta Hall in the Pergamonmuseum. The Staatliche Museen zu Berlin aims to use the project to promote cultural education on the subject of Islamic art. Further project partners are the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, BAU International Berlin, and Freunde des Museums für Islamische Kunst im Pergamonmuseum. (Project manager since 1 December 2011: Prof. Dr. Stefan Weber).

The Museum für Islamische Kunst launched the programme for cultural stories from the Islamic world in December 2011. In addition to the museum’s own resources, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Education and Visitor Services department also offers extensive learning activities and educational publications to a diverse range of museum visitors. The aim of the Cultural Stories educational programme is to go beyond the museum’s physical boundaries  in communicating its educational work relating to Islamic art and culture, using media geared towards specific target groups to anchor the content in different external locations. It aims to reach different target groups to promote an informed encounter with other cultures, making them less unfamiliar to participants and fostering a greater understanding between cultures.

The Cultural Stories educational programme pursues two main objectives:

- To portray open, hybrid cultural snapshots, through art, architecture, and archaeology with the aim of sharpening an understanding of other ethnic groups based less on religious grounds, rather cultural ones.

- The study and development of education formats that are adapted to the information needs and media uses of specific target groups so that content is delivered more effectively.

In 2012, teaching materials relating to 'Cultural Stories from the Museum für Islamische Kunst’ were developed in close collaboration with teachers and released for use by 5th and 6th grade pupils. Today, the materials are used in classrooms across the country, in about 600 schools. In May 2013, the follow-up project, 'Cultural Games’, was launched. It aims to create an online learning and gaming platform in association with the faculty staff and students of Bahcesehir University and BAU International Berlin.

The project is the first time that a Turkish university and a German museum have worked together in the field of cultural education, and the potential for similar projects to follow at other institutions has already been recognized. During the academic year, researchers and students at the university of Istanbul are developing an Internet portal featuring various media, such as games, animation films, and shorts, for recreational use and for cultural education purposes for children and families. These media are available to teachers for use in the classroom for pupils in grades 4 to 7.