Understanding Religion through Art – abstract

Understanding Religion through Art

A Model Project at the Museum Rietberg Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Caroline Widmer, Art Education, Head of the project
Anna Hagdorn, M.A., Project member

Four years ago, the Museum Rietberg Zurich launched the project ‘Understanding Religion through Art’. With the development and implementation of an innovative, wide-ranging art education programme tailored to the school subject ‘Religion and Culture’, the Museum Rietberg has become an outstanding place for learning about Buddhism and Hinduism outside the classroom.

Today, not only school classes from the city and canton of Zurich regularly visit the museum to learn about religion, but also school teachers join the education programme. They deepen their knowledge about Buddhism and Hinduism and broaden their methodological competence in teaching about religion and culture especially through works of art.

The presentation will give an insight into the project structure and its various sub-projects. On the basis of Museum Rietberg’s art education approach to religion, it will point out the project goals and its working methods. Special emphasis will be placed on the close cooperation between the so-called project classes and the Museum Rietberg. Using the example of the project classes, the presentation will, on the one hand, illustrate the outreach of the programme to the classroom. On the other hand, it will show how the experiences and findings made by teachers and pupils flow back into the museum, thus facilitating the continued development of art education programmes and exhibition content.

By introducing the genesis and results of the project ‘Understanding Religion through Art’ to a wider audience, we hope to open up a discussion about the possibilities and limits of teaching about religion in the museum context.