Earlier this month, a team of the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) visited Museum Rietberg in Zurich for a first joint workshop. In the focus of this fruitful exchange were the different experience in education in art, knowledge transfer and public education in religious studies. While the museum staff introduced into their work and especially an education in art project that deals with religious art works, CERES experts themselves demonstrates on how to teach religion a broad public audience with the help of religious artefacts. For the latter approach, Buddhist objects were chosen.
Together, both parties discussed new measures and ways for museum educational services to approach a even broader audience without loosing sight and reducing the covered contents to banalities. Thus, it is of upmost importance to avoide any widely spread stereotypes when portaying religion, e. g. Buddhism. Both museum eduaction and the public presentation of research findings should rather aim to shed light to the internal diversity of religious groups in history and present times. This may challenge the practical side of the educational service since religions are often widely seen as monolithic enterprises without shades and inner diversions.
As part of the workshop, the CERES team introduced into their recent research activities: Professor Carmen Meinert presented her international research project BuddhistRoad, funded by the European Research Council, while Professor Jessie Pons gave insights into her project on the digitization of Buddhist artefacts of Gandhara. Additionally, Dr Patrick Felix Krüger talked about the efforts to integrate an own research section for Jainism within CERES.
As result of the workshop, both parties agreed and underlinded to strengthen the fruitful cooperation for future projects which include a tight collaboration in educational services for exhibitions that deal with art and religions as well as some further activities in regard to joint exhibitions.