The Democracy Factory

1. School/Organization, where the practice is collected:
The Democracy Factory is an original realization of the Stichting Vredeseducatie (Peace Education Projects) in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Later, the concept of the interactive exhibition was transferred by the foundation to Belgium and Luxembourg.

Contact info:

The Netherlands
Peace Education Projects, Utrecht

BELvue Museum, Brussels

Zentrum fir politesch Bildung, Luxembourg

2. Description
In a democracy, people have different opinions, interests, and beliefs. This results in a vibrant society, but also many conflicts. In a democracy, almost anything is allowed, except using violence to get your way. Agreements and laws are made to be able to live together peacefully. That seems obvious, but it isn't. Democracy is made by people and can be discovered and practiced in the Democracy Factory.

The Democracy Factory is an interactive travelling exhibition for young people about citizenship. It deals with major themes such as conflicts, power, and democracy, but visitors gradually discover that the exhibition is actually about themselves. About their ideals, hopes, values, attitudes, and behaviour.

Learners, starting from the age of 12 years visit the Democracy Factory in pairs. They are given all kinds of assignments that will constantly challenge them to question their own ideas, their doubts, their opinions, and prejudices. The interactive modules present them assignments and dilemmas about controversial subjects, about living together in diversity, about active citizenship and democracy.

The visitors are constantly challenged to form a judgment and then to question their opinion or experience. Because they work in pairs, they discuss the assignments and questions with each other before making a final choice. Since the exhibition is built up interactively, they

always receive short feedback on their choices. They walk through the exhibition with a ‘road map’, on which they keep track of their scores for each exercise. At the end, they can download a certificate, which not only informs them about their choices but is also useful for further processing in the classroom.

The Democracy Factory was initiated in the Netherlands and developed for different countries. It can be visited in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. It is available in Dutch, French, English and German.

In the Netherlands the travelling exhibition can be visited in different municipalities. At the request of a local organisation, school of municipality, the exhibition is set up by Peace Education Projects for several weeks in a cultural centre, city hall, school, or theatre. Local volunteers play an important role in animation and creating a save education site.

In Belgium the Democracy Factory (French, Flemish) can be seen and experienced in the BELvue Museum. The BELvue wants to be a place of meetings and exchanges around democracy and all kinds of related themes. The museum is in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and Europe, next to the Royal Palace and close to the country’s major institutions.
A specific French version of the exhibition travels though Walonie in cooperation with Service Public de Walonie (SPW) A specific German version is part of the parliament of the German speaking part of Belgium.

In Luxembourg the Demokratie LABO is travelling through the country and exhibit in schools, cultural centres, and museums. Mainly a local group or community is responsible to invite the school, to brief the teachers and organize local events.

3. Assessment:
☒ Yes
☐ No

Central is the dialogue in which listening, and inquiry is more important than being proved right in the discussion (Freire, Araujo Freire, 1997). The interactive exhibition is based on ‘experiential learning and self-directed education’. That is why the students work in pairs with a kind of roadmap in which assignments are listed and reactions, opinions and answers are noted. In a sense this is already a kind of first peer to peer evaluation because all answers were discussed beforehand. During the visit, student will reveal directly feedback on their choices and opinions in about 20 assignments. At the end of the visit, the students process about twenty scores from the roadmap in an internet application with which they can print and email a personal document with feedback on their opinions. Once in class, the teacher asks them to respond in writing to the content of the feedback and thus the cycle of reflection can be extended.

4. Images/Picture/Video

Democracy Factory_English

Democracy Factory : impression

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