The V-Lab Express – Friedenslabor Express

1. School/Organization, where the practice is collected:
Foundation ‘Peace Education Projects, Utrecht. Netherlands
The V-Lab Express is a mobile, interactive exhibition in a truck and was developed by the Foundation "Vredeseducatie"/"Peace Education Projects" and is available in a Dutch and German version.

2. Description
The travelling exhibition "V-Lab Express" deals with topics such as conflicts and power, but also freedom, mutual support and creating peace in one's own living environment. Gradually, visitors discover that the exhibition is about themselves, their own ideals, hopes, norms, attitudes, and decisions. Democracy is the work of humans and must be discovered, learned, and practiced by children and young people. This is possible in the 'V-Lab Express'.

The interactive exhibition is housed in a trailer (length 12.5 m) and transported by a truck to the Municipality and parked in front of the school, city hall or community centre.
The exhibition is aimed at children and young people aged 10 to 18 in schools, child, and youth work. There is a differentiation in the assignments according to their age. In the V-Lab Express, visitors work in pairs using a worksheet on which opinions and answers are noted. After the visit they receive a certificate in which the decisions that were made during their visit of the exhibition are printed.

In the V-Lab Express, the young people investigate the basic principles of democracy based on 14 different activities. They explore their personal limits regarding democratic citizenship. They learn to “put democracy into practice”.

Objectives and competences

Participants can:
- Describe characteristics of democracy with at least 4 of the following terms: don't argue, just talk; set rules together, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion; no threats; but arguments; freedom of religion, minority - majority.
- Connect the basic principles of the Constitution to democracy: equal treatment in equal cases, prohibition against discrimination.
- Examine conflicts between people using a definition of anger and bullying. Based on their own experiences, interpret group dynamic conflicts from different perspectives.
- Use examples to illustrate the concept of respect. Express their own and others' motives for respecting or disrespecting something or someone.
- Interpret freedom in terms of behavior, active citizenship, and rules in relation to current tensions and challenges of a plural society.
- Reflect on freedom of expression in connection with one's own and with foreign religious or ideological identities and be able to combine it with mutual respect.

The exhibition is designed to be interactive, i.e., the children "guide" themselves "around" with the help of the worksheet. The role of the accompanying mentor is mainly to support. Adults should be prevented from taking the initiative. Stimulation and support are important, but it is up to the students to find answers and form their own opinions. If the students work too hastily or do not understand certain tasks because of reading difficulties, the facilitators can read the task again with them at their leisure.

3. Assessment:
☒ Yes
☐ No

Direct feedback. After the visit, students are presented with a certificate addressing their behaviour in relation to the democratic concept of freedom. The content of the certificate is kept positive. The arguments refer to the basic laws in the Constitution and the applicable rules in democracy. Experience shows that young people value a reference to their choices/responses and their relation to underlying 'democratic' values.

4. Images/Picture/Video

© Peace Education Projects, Utrecht