enlarge the image: Diverse Vitrinen in der Dauerausstellung des Ägyptischen Museums.
Blick in die Dauerausstellung des Ägyptischen Museums. Foto: Marion Wenzel


On this page, you will find research projects in the field of Primary Didactics of the Social Sciences, which are also part of the university's teaching.

At present, two binational research projects with project partners in France and Italy have been approved and are in the process of preparation or implementation.

Museum and university collections display or preserve an extensive material and cultural heritage that is only partially accessible to primary school children. Many of the objects in these collections — most of which are kept in storage rooms and depots — are not accessible to them. The few educational opportunities available in collections often arise without educational science expertise and without the participation of primary school children, although the educational potential of collection objects has been extensively described in theoretical works as part of studies on the pedagogy of material culture. One reason for this lack of opportunities is that there are few qualitative empiricial studies based on the theoretical work of general pedagogy and historical educational research. Such studies could elaborate educational potentials in collections with a reference to the subject didactics and point out the possiblities for cooperations between schools and collections. Based on two school-related collections, which have references to known object- and life-worlds of primary school children as well as the activity of collecting, the planned ethnographic research project involves qualitative-reconstructive empirical research on the affordances of historical collection objects. The collections will be opened up optimally for 8- to 11-year-old primary school children, using the anthropological approach to contact zones.

The project Historical learning processes of primary school children in museum collections is financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): 487,288 euros (budgeted at the University of Leipzig).

When: 2022­–2025

How can civic education succeed in institutions? The French-German research project looks at the status and perspectives of "Enseignement moral et civique"/civic education in France and Germany. The contrast between the variants of civic education serves the discussion on the conditions for successful social education in schools. The focus is on best practice examples. People from the pedagogical staff, from the student body as well as experts from both countries are being interviewed. The reference points of the research are the concepts of political education/ education civique developed in science and practice in both countries. In addition, the research group is focused on binational pedagogical projects in which heterogeneous ideas about democracy can be exchanged and difficulties can be dealt with. Is it possible for binational projects to awaken in children and young people an awareness of democracy as a way of life and the political as a moderation of conflicts of interest?


Perspectives on civic education and democracy education(Perspektiven politischer Bildung und Demokratiebildung) in France and Germany on behalf of the Franco-German Youth Office (DFJW): 90,000 euros (budgeted at the University of Leipzig).

When: 2021–2023

The project develops didactic perspectives in which civilization and cultural awareness, language and historical learning of primary school children are linked in the context of cultural literacy. The ethnographic research video project on the cultural educational potential of collection objects, developed in cooperation with the German Historical Museum (DHM) in Berlin, examines situations of speech-act competence. In the museum, selected collection objects are made accessible to primary school children with reference to their socio-geographical and historical significance in learning environments. The contribution provides verbal presentations of primary school children resulting from performative confrontations with the collection objects in the learning environments. The empirical data indicates that perspectives on and concepts of culture are materialized in collection objects that stimulate communication and interaction connected with contents of German history.

The project on cultural education in museums: Maps in the change of time - Welcome classes discover historical maps and their history(s) in cooperation with the German Historical Museum (DHM): 4650 euros (fundraising for the partners involved in the research project)

When 2018–2020

A French-German research team is working on the question of how learning opportunities related to mobility can be structurally integrated into school processes and offered to pupils within an institutional framework. In this context, a learning concept related to mobility has been developed by the French-German research group. The empirical research is based on best practice examples and interviews with head teachers. The results offer hints on good conditions for institutional mobility and how this approach can be part of school programs and school development processes. The aim of the research project is to develop perspectives, and to integrate institutional mobility both in practical phases of teacher education and training courses for head teachers.

Research project on Bringing Mobility into Schools! (Mobilität in die Schule bringen!) Institutional mobility as a topic of inclusive school development on behalf of the Franco-German Youth Office (DFJW): 100,000 euros (budgeted at the University of Leipzig).

When: 2017–2020


The Museum für Gegenwartskunst (MGK) in Siegen and the Department of Sachunterricht und seine Didaktik have been working in a regional research partnership since April 2015. The ethnographic research project Cultural Education and Aesthetic Factual Learning Processes in the Collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, in which Prof. Dr Andreas Nießeler and Susanna May-Krämer from the University of Würzburg are also involved, accompanies primary school classes in Siegen in the integrative primary school subject Sachunterricht. The project uses two interrelated sub-studies to investigate how learning processes can be designed using collection objects in school and out-of-school science lessons. It is about linking scientific-technical learning when learning about and trying out the basics of building statics with socio-scientific-aesthetic learning when philosophizing with children about buildings. Perspectives of cultural education are addressed based on collection objects in the museum. On the one hand, it is about the affordance of things (Norman, 1999) that stimulates experimentation and reflection. On the other hand, the subjective view of children on things is important, which can be uncovered through educational approaches. In the two interrelated sub-studies, ethnographic body-related-performative and associative-cognitive dimensions of object-related forms of engagement of primary school children are investigated with reference to educational anthropology.

Regional Research Partnership for Cultural Education and Aesthetic Material Learning Processes (Regionale Forschungspartnerschaft Kulturelle Bildung und ästhetische Sachlernprozesse) in the Collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art: 60,000 euros research funding (HOPA funds).

When: 2015–2016

The project includes a four-year binational comparative study of primary school children’s learning processes associated with travel and cross-cultural encounter. Funded by the French-German Youth Office primary school exchange programs are analyzed. In France and Germany. In the ethnographic study the research group of Paris Est-Créteil and Leipzig universities evaluates video material of 20 primary school exchange programs in relation to the cross-sectional task of intercultural education, which may be addressed by German primary school lessons in social science. The study also investigates preparation material and follow-up activities for the exchange journeys.

Research project on Intercultural, informal learning in children's groups (Interkulturelles, informelles Lernen in Kindergruppen) – a comparative primary school study in France and Germany on behalf of the Franco-German Youth Office (DFJW): 111,000 euros (budgeted at the University of Siegen) and 2,600 euros publication grant.

When: 2013­–2016

The cooperative project with the Department of Education and Communication of the German Historical Museum (DHM) aims to make the extensive collections of the DHM accessible to preschool children, who often have their own collections of objects at home and have experience with the activity of collecting. Contact zones involving the collected objects of the museum are created by children and historical transformations explored. Play-stations for 5-year-old preschool children are installed in the exhibition German History in Images and Testimonies, which was originally designed for adults.

The project Historical learning processes in museums in cooperation with the German Historical Museum (DHM): 5,250 euros (Budget for project partners).

When: 2012–2014

Best Practice Award 2014 awarded by the International Council of Museums ICOM-CECA