“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” – Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General
The Learning Democracy/DemoLab project is a two year education project that aims to reach and support young people (aged between 14 and 20) in developing competencies and 21st century skills such as critical thinking, team working, creativity and problem solving through collaborative, self-managing creative workshops.
DemoLabs will offer a unique opportunity and safe places to young people, where they can explore and discuss issues that matter to them and materialise it through various channels such as exhibitions, meetings and portfolios. Workshops will be led by a teacher and a contemporary artist and they will take place in four secondary schools over the first year and another eight schools over the second year. As part of the learning process students will have to develop a portfolio or product that represents their ideas and thoughts on a particular topic. The topic of the first year will be Utopia. Each DemoLab will consist of 8 to 12 students, who will continuously communicate with each other and attend a general assembly and a summer camp each year.
A pilot project was delivered successfully last year in a Budapest based secondary grammar school, Karinthy Frigyes Gimnázium, where 12 students from different grades and classes joined together to discuss the topic of education. As a result they developed a printed document entitled “Tanközlöny”, – Education bulletin, in which they freely expressed their ideas as well as self-censured themselves on the topic of education. To develop this product they used a Risograph, a digital duplicator designed for high-volume photocopying and printing. The idea of the Risograph printing came from Célestin Freinet’s pedagogy that serves as a core concept of the project and it uses various techniques such as free writing, classroom assembly as well as the learning printing technique.
Besides developing skills and competencies the project aims to create a network of safe democratic places, where young people, teachers and the wider public can have the opportunity to freely discuss and share their thoughts, with the idea of creating and becoming responsible 21st century citizens, which is much needed in our current Hungarian society.
The Learning Democracy/DemoLab project is solely funded by the United Nation Democracy Fund.