Partner – MO Museum
Duration – 2020–2021
Regions – Ignalina, Kalvarija, Kybartai, Marijampolė, Riešė, Šalčininkai, Šilutė, Švečionėliai, Švenčionys, Tauragė, Trakai, Vilnius and Visaginas
The main goal of the Visual Thinking Strategy project was to develop critical thinking and dialogue through contemporary art in Lithuanian schools and ethnic communities. The project’s commenced with the exhibition Why Is It Hard to Love?, created by the world-famous British director Peter Greenaway and Dutch artist Saskia Boddeke. The exhibition analysed a particularly relevant and universal theme of opposites in a narrative of inequalities (e.g. social, racial and gender), raising the principal question: Why is it hard to love another?
During the seven months of the project, which ran from June 2020 to January 2021, MO Museum educators aimed to employ the topics explored in this exhibition to allow the engagement with individuals from distinct linguistic or socially excluded minority groups in Lithuania. Through its strong focus on visual thinking, the project furnished participants with the methods and tools to assess information critically and objectively, while empowering those from socially excluded backgrounds with the 21st century skills of critical thinking, creativity and dialogue. Through the educational activities, the educators also encouraged these groups to collaborate around the exhibition narratives and experience different approaches to these themes via the medium of art.
In parallel, an additional Traveling Museum project was carried out in various Lithuanian cities and towns. The museum thus extended its reach beyond the framework of the institution by travelling to communities where art is not easily accessible. The MO Museum educators met with the local communities and conducted visual thinking-based experiential sessions, encouraging engagement by posing the question: What is happening in this picture? The residents of the town or city were able to identify new means of relating to art: viewing works of art from a variety of perspectives, discussing and expression their opinions, distinguishing facts from the interpretation, and constructing their ideas.
In sum, the project:
- engaged with nine schools and three communities in ethnically diverse regions of Lithuania;
- reached out to 10 communities in Lithuania through the Travelling Museum initiative; and
- saw the participation of 35 teachers, 260 students and 270 community members in various educational sessions delivered locally, as well as at the MO Museum.