a well made expo answering pressing questions of today
“En Lutte. Histoires d’émancipation” is a permanent exposition in the Centre d’Action Laïque in Liège, Belgium. It introduces visitors to the history of class struggle from the beginning of industrialisation in Belgium until the austerity politics of the European Union after the financial crisis from 2008. Many explanations in well done videos on large screens are mixed with interactive displays like the top hat of a bourgeois or the Maison du Peuple of the workers movement. It connects the historic fights for essential rights and social welfare to today’s problems of austerity politics, working hours and depression from bad working conditions.
The expo is available in FR and NL, not in EN, DE, Arabic or other languages. It is well suited for group visits. The Centre d’Action Laïque is interesting both architecturally and regarding other, temporary exhibitions.
more languages, more detailed arguments: how the expo could become even better
My personal recommendations for the development of this expo:
- It should be accessable in English for international visitors and Arabic, Italian, Turkish, Polish to better include those migrant workers who are addressed in the stories told already.
- The amazing posters decorating the Maison du Peuple need to be available for sale in the bookshop. They can still transport the message of cutting working hours and the need for solidarity among workers and employees.
- More visual data: Unions and strikes have reduced working hours enormously over time. They have brought a bigger share of profit as salary to those who work for it the hardest. Why not show these graphs from the beginning of industrialisation until today?
- More personal stories and sound bites: One poster in the Maison du Peuple shows bourgeois arguments against the 8h working day. There are some great sharepics about reducing working hours, raising the minimum wage that show how owners of capital and economists working in their interest always explained how impossible such social measures would due to the market competition between companies and between countries. In the style of Jon Stuart’s Daily Show, such old citiations could be added to recent clips from TV debates. This would bring abstract issues closer to the audience’s daily news consumption.