Pilot Study on Historical Consciousness and Democratic Citizenship, authors Steven van Huiden, Maria Grever, Kees Ribbens and others

Maria Grever and Kees Ribbens contributed to the pilot study Enhancing Historical Consciousness and Democratic Citizenship: A Report about Quantitative Prioritization of Unmet Needs, written together with Steven van Huiden, Kenneth Fernald, Linda van de Burgwal and Eric Claassen.The pilot study focused on the ways in which relevant key opinion leaders, such as EUROCLIO, and other professionals in Europe view the integration of popular culture initiatives in formal education.

Societal unmet needs for enhancing historical consciousness (HC) and democratic citizenship (DC) may be fulfilled by integrating popular culture initiatives with formal education. Focusing on the heritage of wars in the 20th century (modern war heritage), this pilot study identified and prioritised such unmet needs and the perceived advantages / disadvantages of integrating popular initiatives with formal education. Furthermore, some research priorities were determined. The aims were reached by consulting key opinion leaders and professionals from several European countries in the fields of popular culture, modern war heritage and education. Their insights were evaluated in an online survey by means of a prioritisation process. Participants in the survey prioritised: for HC and DC unmet needs in terms of importance and improvement; the advantages / disadvantages of integrating popular initiatives with formal education. Seventeen semi-structured interviews were conducted (response rate 46%); 49 surveys were returned (response rate 37%).
Most important unmet needs were: ‘Enhancing insights, skills and capacities’ (HC / DC) and ‘Making the past relevant in the present’ (HC). Most important integration advantages were: ‘Increased opportunities for multiperspective understanding’ and ‘Increased possibilities to make the past relevant in the present’ (HC); ‘Inspires curiosity and personal development’ and ‘Inspires critical thinking and reflection’ (HC/DC). The ‘Risk of inaccuracy and inhibition of critical thinking and further exploration’ was the most important integration disadvantage for HC and DC.