A Virtual Museum: Sharing
Gavin Baldwin, Middlesex University
The origins of SMILE
• Bruges seminar: December 1998 to consider ways of involving young
people in Active European Citizenship
• The members of SMILE are now
Arkitekturmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden (Co-ordinator)
Middlesex University, London, UK
Katholieke Hogeschool Kempen, Herentals, Belgium
Wojewodski Osorodek Metodyczny Dolnoslazki Osrodek
Doskonalenia Nauczycieli , Wroclaw, Poland
Bildungsanstalt fur Kindergartenpadagogik, Feldkirch,
• SMILE at yourself
The major principles of SMILE
• What values underpin SMILE?
• What is European Identity?
• What are the roles of the built environment
and museums in exploring and expressing
What values underpin SMILE?
• to enable young people to explore Europe through their own eyes and
their own experiences.
• we are not trying to teach about Europe directly, to give information,
or to impose an identity that can be described as European.
• to avoid stereotypes
• the project is also committed to inclusion: involving a wide range of
schools, rural and urban, especially those with a high percentage of
ethnic minority children so that European Identity is seen as a
pluralist, multicultural identity and not one restricted to the traditional
cultures of the member states.
What is European Identity?
• a fluid and complex phenomenon which can vary depending on the
context in which it is explored. In this sense it may be akin to ‘role’.
• identity is closely linked to perception. Identity is not only concerned
with how you see and present yourself but is also about how others see
and interpret you. It is also, therefore, about how you see others.
• There are social, cultural and political pressures that may limit our
choice, or subconsciously influence our espoused identity and the
identities we ascribe to others.
• Many of these influences on our identity formation are historical
• self identity:
– How do I see myself and choose to present myself to others?
• group identity:
– Which groups do I belong to? My family, my ethnic group, my
religion, my class (both social and at school!), the area in which I
live. Which societies do I choose to join that represent my
• national identity:
– How do I identify with ‘my country’? How do I see the countries
• the identities expressed in Europe?
– How do my identities compare with others that I can find out
What is the role of the built environment and museums in
exploring and expressing identity?
• to develop an understanding of the way in which the spaces people
occupy are designed and how this may influence the lives that they
• to increase awareness of environmental quality and the develop a
sense of responsibility for the environment;
• through working critically to learn how the past is constructed and
communicated through the material culture that has survived and
which curators choose to value and display;
• to share identities with others through the presentation of where and
how people live;
• to show what is significant to those that live in a place and not what a
‘foreigner’ should see.
How does SMILE work?
• Stage 1
• Carrying out a wide range of activities selected from a bank which
lead to pieces of work representing various aspects of the identity of a
group of children (usually a school class) which can then be published
in a virtual museum.
• Stage 2
• The exploration of this museum through a range of comparative
activities (possibly involving communication between schools)
whereby young people develop an understanding of the lives of others
living elsewhere in Europe. From this they can explore what it is like
to be a European Citizen.
The Cabinet of Curiosities
• Row one
• .Exploring myself and my family
• .Exploring my home
• .Exploring my neighbourhood
• Row two
• .Exploring Museums
• .Exploring Europe
• .Making a museum
• Row three
• .Using digital cameras and publication
• .The explorer’s ruck sack of additional ideas
• .Notes for teachers
• The translating tool
• The publishing tool
• By undertaking the SMILE activities we hope to
enable young people to explore European identity
through their own eyes and experiences and to
play an active role as European citizens.