In this project our research team worked on the development, follow-up and evaluation of the program ‘IntegrARTE: Identidades en Movimiento (IntegrARTE: Identities in motion)’ from the Foundation Arte Viva, aimed at teenagers of several nationalities. This program, which was implemented in Participation and Integration Centres for Immigrants (CEPI) tries to promote the mutual knowledge of multiple cultures as a way of favouring the relationship among them. For this they use photographs as an innovative educational tool that contributes to the construction of one’s own individual, social and cultural identity while respecting our differences.
The general objective pursued by this educational program is to “explicitly name the most effective educational strategies for the education of citizens, committed with their environment, capable of respecting and appreciating differences. In addition, it defines the role played by photography and the new digital technologies in the definition of settings that aim to socially integrate youngsters through art.
Our objective as researchers was to contribute to the improvement of the program through the analysis of the process in its implementation.
One of the challenges faced by today’s Spanish society is for people originally from other geographical environments, who wish to build among us a new way of life, to become part of our society as full right members. The ArteViva Foundation wanted to contribute to this challenge through their project ‘IntegrARTE: Identities in Motion’, aimed at teenagers of multiple nationalities. The purpose of this educational program is to promote the mutual knowledge of multiple cultures as a way of easing the relationship among them.
For this they used new technologies, especially photographs, as innovative educational tools that contribute to the construction of one’s own individual, social and cultural identity while respecting our differences. This is why carrying out the project in Participation and Integration Centres for Immigrants (CEPI), dependant from the Office for Immigration and Cooperation from the Community of Madrid, was a key factor.
Within this context our research team worked on the development, follow-up and evaluation of the program on the basis of our previous experience with the DAP program, in which children focused on the dialogue and the idea of a production was abandoned. This idea was taken into account when it came to designing this new project and lead us to discover that children are capable of personally commenting, interpreting and evaluating different works of art or photographs by leaning on different activities that imply the presence of not just an oral discourse but also of a corporal an expressive one.
In this case, children dialogued with the artist and from there started to capture the reality from this perspective through the photo camera, which thus became their means of expression. The words were complemented with images. In this sense, the difficulty arose when it came to relating the artist, in this case the photographer, with the educator. In the case of DAP, the educator was the mediator between the work of art and the teacher, but in this new project the educator’s role was not clearly defined and children turned to him or her during the production process rather than to the artist.
This program is an excellent bridge between formal and non-formal teachings. For the participant it is very important to receive the author of a series of photographs in his leisure centre. We seemed to confirm that a project of this type, with continuity over time and with a personal relationship, increases the levels of trust of its participants thus maximizing the learning possibilities for educators and pupils.
Dialoguing is something that is learned only if it is taught. Based on studies, Diana Kuhn concludes that, “very often, youngsters do not now how to dialogue. They usually talk through non-connected monologues . A good argument does not come naturally. Learning about other people’s ideas helps in becoming aware of one’s own ideas and contributes to the development of the tolerance among speakers.” In this sense, these programs teach to dialogue, and therefore to respect the value of argumentation against the mere unfounded opinion,
The development of creativity is undoubtedly present in the activity of inventing a story on what can be seen, on the creation of images and productions, metaphors, narratives and, hence, their meaning.