Images and identity: Children constructing a sense of belonging to Europe

Mary Healy, Mary Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Downloads (Pure)


The European Framework for Key Competences (2006) promotes a shared European identity as a priority for assuring a cohesive future for the European Union (EU), yet the development of a discrete European identity remains acutely contentious, with critics claiming it is too shallow to support the bonds of solidarity needed to engender and support a shared ‘future together’. Most EU member states now have some sort of citizenship curriculum within their state education systems and most are aware that such programmes are difficult to introduce, to teach and to assess within conventional school curricula. However, much of the citizenship education literature tells us that educators are conscious of the problematic nature of exploring citizenship identities. Drawing on both philosophical perspectives and an empirical investigation undertaken by one of the authors, this paper argues that issues of belonging may prove a useful way to explore wider conceptions of citizenship. The research was designed to examine how visual art and citizenship education could be combined to explore and extend children’s notions of European identity, using data from Images & Identity, an EU-funded 2-year curriculum development project on citizenship and art education in the Czech Republic, England, Ireland, Germany, Malta and Portugal.

© 2016, The Authors. This is an author produced version of a article published in EUROPEAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-454
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Issue number4
Early online date21 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Nov 2016

Cite this