The International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) fulfils one of its missions by creating the conditions for the widest possible range of people to come into contact with and create art. This means that both classical and alternative approaches are included in our educational programmes. These are linked to learning about the creative processes to understand the artworks in the exhibition not only as the curator's interpretation but also as the artist's proposal or starting point for perceiving the world. Our programmes are a kind of "third space" where visitors of different ages and interests are invited to contribute their knowledge, ideas and interpretations.
Visitors come to the museum or gallery as individuals or as members of a social group for whom an appropriate interpretation of the content must be prepared. The basis for this is the intelligibility of the material, the inclusion of different learning styles suitable for people of different ages and interests, the accessibility for visitors with special needs, and the inclusion of aids that can also be understood by children. The methods of communication and interpretive techniques of presentation in the museum are very diverse: guided tours, workshops, demonstrations, lectures, seminars, symposia, discussion groups, video and film screenings. In recent years, there has also been an increasing focus on the development of multi-sensory and mindful programmes that centre on the well-being of visitors.
At MGLC, we run targeted programmes for pre-school and school groups, families, people in the third age and vulnerable groups. We are involved in numerous joint initiatives and collaborations, such as the BOBRI Festival, European Heritage Days, Cultural Bazaar, Student Culture Festival, Third Age Festival, Student Arena, Family Week, Children's Week, Play with Me, the Ljubljana KUL Abonma subscription, Stories of Ljubljana Castles, Cultural Neighbourhood and Brko Tour. Many schools regularly follow what goes on in our museum and send groups to us every year, which shows their confidence in our work. A special interest in exhibition-related workshops and printmaking demonstrations has been noted. Printmaking classes and training courses for art students are an integral part of the MGLC adult educational programme. We also participate in open days, which provide an excellent programme platform for developing family visits. Particularly extensive educational programmes are run to coincide with major exhibitions and projects, as well as all editions of the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts.
The educational programme also includes mentoring full-time students in the preparation of their BA and MA theses, and within the framework of the Erasmus+ international exchange programme. Expert guidance is available for the Curatorship professional examinations and compulsory secondary school work placements. We also offer an intensive volunteer programme throughout the year, mostly involving students or people over 55. During 2015 and 2020, MGLC was also the holder of the European Voluntary Service (EVS) certificate.
The content of our educational activities is usually developed in a working process and with the participation of those concerned. The impact of a creative pedagogical approach on the perception of an exhibition and how an exhibition can thereby increase the intellectual and emotional curiosity of visitors was aptly shown by The Tàpies Educational Lab, which accompanied the exhibition Antoni Tàpies, Prints 1959–1987 (2016), and Lynch Lab, a temporary gallery studio where visitors could re-enact their impressions of the exhibition David Lynch: Fire on Stage (2018). Both programme units represented a symbolically empty space that visitors filled with spontaneous creative, performative and visual expression.
An example of a successful partnership is the collaboration with the Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, with whom we developed an experimental printmaking programme for groups of pre-school and school children and youth. Despite material and time constraints, the workshops achieve high-quality artistic results and are suitable for implementation in schools.
KUL Adventure is another programme that focuses on young people and their personal perspectives. Once a year, especially during the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts, we invite young people to "our house" for a few days or provide them with a residential area and the right conditions for reflection, creation and engagement. This encourages them to co-create and participate in shaping the programming process.
In recent years MGLC has undertaken several projects exploring new approaches to interpreting exhibition content and cultural heritage based on the use of the body approach, multi-sensory perception, the power of meditation and self-focus in developing an understanding of the artwork and the space. Guided tours were conducted with movement interventions that focused on the issue of control and physical intervention in the space of the artwork. We organised a sensory awakening workshop with urban yoga that encouraged participants to experience the exhibited works and the space through sensory meditation in movement. This meant that precedence was given, not to visual perception, but to the question of recognising emotions and inner images. The exploration of the experience of art and the diversity of creative thoughts was opened up by an experiential psychodrama workshop led by theatre director Tomi Janežič and a Gestalt therapy workshop with Gestalt psychotherapist Tomaž Flajs.
Projects aimed at local audiences and addressing issues such as empathy, social inclusion and well-being in society include the community programme The Old Continent, which involves the senior generation of citizens and is run in cooperation with the Ljubljana Day Activity Centres. It focuses on the question of the future and takes the historical and artistic context of Švicarija as the starting point. There was also acclaim for the social activation of immigrant women from different parts of the world with the art group Oloop, which enabled them to express their own hardships related to exclusion, loneliness and isolation in an artistic medium and redirected them towards a new way of interacting with each other and fusing with the local environment.
Through the educational programmes at MGLC, we aim to continue to ensure the broadest possible social inclusion and participation through art and creativity. At the same time, we strive to increasingly involve artists in the development and delivery of educational content based on stories, experiences and feelings.
Written by Lili Šturm.