TEACHING MATERIALS

10 starter activities to support use of the Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects digital exhibition in learning contexts.

Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects offers a brief and selective introduction to the many campaigns, activities and organisations in Ireland which have focused on justice and human rights issues in many parts of the world over many decades.

The exhibition includes items borrowed from individuals and groups from all over the country, and highlights the role of those objects in education, protest and campaigning. The exhibition shows how objects, images, cartoons, graphics and posters are used to influence public opinion, government and international bodies to shed light on important, challenging and frequently controversial and contested issues.

From the anti-Apartheid movement to recent environmental campaigns, the exhibition explores the idea of ‘activism’ or being an active citizen.  It also explores how individual and/or collective action or protest can and have brought about significant change.

Taken together the 100 objects represent powerful symbols for human rights, environmental and social justice for change and for what has been achieved so far by engaged activists from Ireland.

WARMING UP

Think about an issue or campaign highlighted recently in the media or one that you or your friends have been involved with:

  • How was the message of the campaign presented?
  • What types of objects were used to highlight it?
  • Was there a slogan, a logo or a dominant colour for the campaign?

Think of one important human right you have today as a citizen living in Ireland – freedom of movement or speech, the right to vote or the right to basic health or education. Imagine if it was taken away – how would this impact on your life?

Important Note: if you are planning to use the exhibition with a group, please review it first and be familiar with the content and approach – this will help ensure it is used productively and appropriately for your particular group.

SOME KEY QUESTIONS

The following questions may be of use in exploring the exhibition.

  • Why do you think the exhibition is called Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects?
  • Why do you think the objects in the exhibition were chosen by the organisers and/or by the group/campaign represented?
  • What images, colours, facts, graphics and slogans are used – what is your reaction to them?
  • Explore the objects in the exhibition – what issues, rights, injustices and challenges do they highlight?
  • Create your own campaign inspired by one or more of the objects

STARTING OUT ON 100 OBJECTS - AN OVERIEW

There are 100 objects in the exhibition.  Have a quick look over all of them and then consider the following questions.  Once you have done this yourself, you could compare and contrast your choices with those of others. 

  • Which objects stand out for you (pick 2-3)? Why, explain your choices? 
  • What was ‘predictable’ in the collection and what surprised you?
  • Can you identify any overarching themes in the collection? How might different objects be linked together?
  • Try to group the objects together and then briefly describe your choices

Note on themes – when we organised the exhibition, we noted four loosely defined themes:

Planetary Emergency

Life During Wartime

Below the Line – poverty, aid & development

World Class

ACTIVITY 1.

Using either your choice of objects or a random group of objects, review them and choose a set of keywords you would associate with them, for example; environment, women, children, conflict etc.

Using a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and see which keywords you chose appear also in either document.

Identify and then discuss the values associated with those keywords and how the objects help in the promotion of such values e.g. equality, non-discrimination, human dignity etc.

Skills: identifying; exploring definitions; reading 

ACTIVITY 2.

The objects presented in the exhibition use different images, slogans, graphics and keywords.

In smaller groups, ask for objects to be compared and contrasted – what messages do they offer?  What images and keywords or slogans do they use?

Stimulus questions:

In what ways do different objects differ in terms of images, slogans or keywords?

Who do you think the objects and messages are trying to reach?

What actions or ideas do they suggest to people?

Do any of the objects and their messages/images contradict each other?

 

Skills: visual literacy; communication; comparing and analysing

ACTIVITY 3.

Timeframe activity – explore if and how the objects change in presentation, tone, image over time and how earlier images and approaches present a picture that is different from later ones

Skills: listening and expressing myself; analysing patterns and trends; evaluating

ACTIVITY 4.

Choose a particular object and the campaign or issue behind it.

Think about how that issue or campaign might look like in 20 or 30 years from now. And what kind of object might depict it then?

Has the issue been resolved or not?  How might it be depicted in that context?

Skills: evaluate sources and information; thinking creatively

ACTIVITY 5.

Choose one object, the issue it addresses and the group behind it

Find out more about the issue, the campaign and the group

Now design your own object to depict that issue, campaign or group – think about image(s), slogan(s), fact(s) and graphic(s)

Skills: research; creativity

ACTIVITY 6.

Many of the objects deal with ‘big picture’ issues – human rights, women’s rights, environmental destruction or climate change etc.

Choose one of these themes and identify those objects associated with them.

Explore the particular aspect of the issue addressed by the object and how does it do this

Stimulus questions:

Does the object represent information and education on the issue or campaigning?

How is this done? 

What messages does the object communicate?

Skills: reading; analysing

ACTIVITY 7.

Choose one object from the exhibition and use it as a focal point

Research the issue further

Explore as to whether the campaign or the movement represented by the object is still in existence.

Find out more about the organisation behind the object

Stimulus questions:

how has the issue/campaign changed since the time of the object? Has the situation improved or deteriorated?  Is the object still relevant? 

How has the campaign evolved/changed

what other work or projects did/does the organisation have?  What actions, if any is it asking people to undertake now? 

Are there any similar or related organisations working on the same agenda?

Skills: researching sources and evidence; exploring people and places

ACTIVITY 8.

Focus on a group of 4-5 related objects (they could be related by country focus, by issue or by area of focus such as schools or youth or adult education etc.)

  • Identify what the objects have in common and what are their differences
  • Assess how they approach the question of educating people on the issue – do they offer a particular interpretation or do they offer multiple views and perspectives?
  • Do they offer different activities to highlight different dimensions of education e.g. information/facts, values and/or perspectives, suggested actions/activities?

Skills: comparing; assessing methods; debating

ACTIVITY 9.

Choose one object from the exhibition and use it as a focal point

Research the issue further

Explore as to whether the campaign or the movement represented by the object is still in existence.

Find out more about the organisation behind the object

Stimulus questions:

how has the issue/campaign changed since the time of the object? Has the situation improved or deteriorated?  Is the object still relevant? 

How has the campaign evolved/changed

what other work or projects did/does the organisation have?  What actions, if any is it asking people to undertake now? 

Are there any similar or related organisations working on the same agenda?

Skills: researching sources and evidence; exploring people and places

Choose an issue or campaign represented by an object (or a group of objects) and think about an object that might represent that issue or campaign in for example 20 years’ time.

Stimulus questions

Would the object chosen for the exhibition still be relevant or would it need to be represented by a different object?

If so, what object would you choose to represent the issue in the future?

Apartheid is gone, so how would it be represented in 20 years’ time

Aid is changing all the time – in 20 years’ time?

Women’s rights?

Environmental issues?

ACTIVITY 100+1.

You have been invited to add one object to the exhibition – what would it be and why choose it?

skills: research; reading; creative thinking

Using the timeline of the students’ lives (for example, if working with a group of 16 year olds, the timeline would begin in 2004), search the 100 objects and place them chronologically on the timeline.

Explore this timeline using the following questions

  • Do students remember any/some/all of the issues/campaigns that the objects represent?
  • IS there any that stand out in particular to students, either in their memory or for the issue that is represented?
  • How are any of the issues/objects connected to the present?
  • Perhaps ask parents/guardians/grandparents at home if they remember any of them or have any stories attached to the issue/object

Time to add to this timeline.

  • Are there any campaigns/acts of solidarity/acts of resistance or protest that the students would like to add to this timeline?
  • If so, what are they?
  • What objects could be used to represent these?
  • Are they all local or is the international included also?

This could be made into a collective visual on a wall or notice board in a classroom, or a more personal version by each student.

An alternative or complimentary version of the timeline can be made using a map and students can mark out on the map, the objects from their timeline, and discuss the location of past and previous struggles and how far Ireland’s impact has travelled around the globe.