Art labs – involving young people in the construction of meaning

The National Gallery of Denmark situated in Copenhagen has been working with Art labs for young people since 2006. The aim of the Art Lab is to break up with the image of art museums as places reserved for “middle aged upper class citizens interested in culture”.

The idea is to involve young people in the making of events and exhibitions at the museum, so that the contents make sense for a larger audience.

The young people involved in the Art Lab are between 15 and 25 years old and are called “art pilots”. They meet at the museum on a voluntary basis once a week.

Over the years the role and space attributed to the Art Lab and the art pilots has extended. It started as a project under the educational section of the National Gallery, and benefits today of a big space  called Lab 01 which is equiped with computers, cameras and all kind of materials that art pilots use to develop their ideas and projects. For the first time this year, art pilots are involved in the making of an exhibition on Bosch and Bruegel, where they interact directly with the staff of the museum to define the contents of the exhibition.

An inspiring project for communication of science

The idea behind the Art Lab is that knowledge is not the property of priviledged people, but on the contrary can be produced and disseminated jointly by a variety of actors.

I am really fond of that concept and I would like to know if anyone out there knows about similar projects in communication of science! It is often claimed that we need to attract more young people to scientific careers and that one of the aim with communication of science is to create an interest for those topics among this audience. Using young “opinion leaders” to do the job sounds like a very good idea to me :-)



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