Images - Mémoires

County-based project in image education (PEI) of 80h.
Project initiated by the “Culture et art au college” Mission (MICACO).

 

Tutors: Perin Emez Yavul, art historian, associate of the Centre de recherches sur les « Arts et le langage » (CRAL-EHESS) 

Chargée de projet: Anna Mezey

 

Objectives:
This project enables students to explore some of the relationships our society has with images, especially images of the past. Using a photographic collection from the National Archives (Pierrefitte site), an art historian shares her methods with students; in the process, she explains to the class what a picture can say and how images are very often related to other fields of knowledge (history, philosophy, arts, etc.).

Workshop:
Yesterday for Today
Before the project got underway, the contributor selected some photographs from among more than 8000 pictures in the collection of the Propaganda Department of the High Commission for Youth and Sport (under the Vichy Government). Approximately fifty photographs were selected for the project in class. The students and the historian investigate this little-known subject. The initial discussions between the contributor and the class cover several points: what is an archive? How to look at a picture, what meaning does a picture have? Etc.

Seeing, observing and classifying
Once they have begun a rigorous classification process, the contributor invites the students to express themselves freely about the photos chosen for the project. The class then tackles the major task of interpreting the pictures, learning to sort, classify and observe the contents. They take charge of the documents to observe and describe what they can see in them, look for clues (who, what, when, where) and analyse the situations. 

Understanding and interpreting
The students then pick out themes by comparing the images, types of images, activities, etc. The aim is to appropriate more fully this set of pictures as a whole – what does it say about the period? This is also the moment when the class attempts to connect the images to each other and to other fields of knowledge. They investigate the context and the history; they research numerous sources so that they can reproduce the moment the picture was taken. Some of these sessions take the form of a correspondence between the researcher and the class leading to a dialogue via postcards.

In front of your eyes
In this final phase, the students choose to focus on a few photos. Together, they attempt to penetrate the depths of these fragments of time, exploring the details, to try and extract the stories surrounding these testimonies. With the encouragement of the contributor, they provide their own analyses and prepare their final rendition.

Outcome:
From 8th – 24th June 2016, the hall of the National Archives in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine hosted the students’ work on this period of the Vichy Government. The scenography enabled the public to follow the students’ research through a choice of photographs, analyses and discussions.

 

Outings:
- TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES WORK, A SERIES OF VISITS TOOK PLACE TO BOTH THE PIERREFITTE-SUR-SEINE SITE AND TO THE ARCHIVES IN PARIS, WHERE THE STUDENTS MET ARCHIVISTS, HISTORIANS, BOOKBINDERS, RESTORERS, ETC.
- TRIP TO THE EXHIBITION “LE SECRET DE L’ÉTAT, SURVEILLER, PROTÉGER, INFORMER. XVIIE-XXE SIÈCLE” (THE STATE’S SECRET; SURVEILLANCE, PROTECTION, INFORMATION. 17TH - 20TH CENTURY), PARIS.

Participating school:
- Class 4e 9, Collège Robespierre, Epinay-sur-Seine

 

Photo and layout: ELODIE DESCOUBES

Images - Mémoires
Images - Mémoires
Images - Mémoires