Imperial War Museums

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Using documentary making to build critical thinking

‘Is this too important to be in a museum?’

That’s the question the Imperial War Museum is asking students this year. Its Documentary Challenge sessions are getting students not only thinking critically about the museum’s collection, but making their own documentaries about an object of their choice.

Our funding of £18,510 is supporting the sessions which are running at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth. Targeted at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 students, it’s hoping to run two sessions a day throughout the 2021/22 academic year. That means up to 4,930 students are getting the chance to make their own documentary and use digital storytelling as a gateway to the museum’s collections.

  • We gave the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth a grant of £18,510 to support their Documentary Challenge programme.
  • The programme will aim to deliver 128 sessions – each one can accommodate up to 35 Key Stage 2 and 3 students.
  • The Imperial War Museum is a global authority on war and conflict, and its impact on people’s lives.

© Peter Trimming / Imperial War Museum / CC BY-SA 2.0

Fun, innovative and interactive

Students use a mobile app to create their documentaries in small groups – a fun and innovative way to help build their critical thinking skills and to practice debate and discussion.

Sessions are tailored to suit the need and abilities of each class. Most schools pay £120 to take part, and 30 sessions are being offered free of charge to schools for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), along with £200 bursaries for any additional staffing and transport costs.


“We were pleased to award this grant because the Imperial War Museum’s Documentary Challenge offers participants a unique and powerful way to engage with the wealth of exhibits in the museum and express their perspective. We hope the project will allow young people to improve their critical thinking skills around challenging topics.” 

Soma, Kusuma Trust’s Executive Trustee

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