Innovative and sustainable aesthetic methods for citizenship education: Nordic and Baltic perspectives (ISAMCE)

Project owner

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Project categories

Developmental Project

Project period

December 2015 - January 2019

Project summary

Relevance, objectives and innovation: How can the aesthetic subjects and methods contribute to the understanding and innovation of our way of thinking citizenship in the Nordic and Baltic countries today? How can we discuss the meaning of citizenship of today through aesthetic disciplines? How can we develop new artistic methods to rethink and gain relevance of citizenship in relation to identity, loyalty, participation of today?

How to learn to live together? This question is now arising very acutely under the pressure of various factors such as the global and European economic, cultural, and political integration process, the ongoing migration process, and the environmental and ecological challenges. These factors are calling into question the political references such as Nation State, and the social dimension of the Welfare State. Citizenship has become a “fancy” word/term because we now talk of a new social contract to reinstate social cohesion as well as solidarity bases on moral order.The word citizenship has been acknowledged that is has a multiform concept. In spite of that, it has a core. Citizenship is always a matter of belonging to a community. Therefore, the citizen is always a co-citizen, somebody who lives with others. Citizenship simultaneously designates a status and a role:The former refers to civil, political and social rights for its citizens guaranteed by the state. The latter aspect takes into account the identity and mental representations that each individuals designs for her/himself. These subjective representations may be attached to a particular region, or nation. However, the individual can also create several identities simultaneously according to a cultural and psychological perspective and then the identity is not exclusively (or not all) linked with a particular territory. Therefore citizenship cannot be reduced to a catalogue of rights and duties, but entails membership of a community or communities. Consequently, citizenship requires an ethical shift that includes a personal and collective emotional dimension. Because individual construct themselves and their relationship with others in accordance with certain values, identities are brought into play in a very profound way. Examples of concepts related to moral principles and moral dilemmas: freedom, equality, solidarity, responsibility, rights, justice, rules, laws, tolerance, identity, ethnicity, religion, gender and community.

These key concepts we would like to set on the agenda the next following three years. Our aim is to develop skills and competencies related to citizenship; such as the capacity for communication and dialogue, the capacity to live with others, to recognize and accept differences, sharing narratives, critical thinking, and participation by working in an aesthetical collaborative learning approach.

Part 1 : Freedom: Escape, exile, migration, minority. Totalitarian systems/democratic systems. Fundamental values – security, justice, solidarity, family, welfare etc.

Part 2: Equality: Social justice/classism: differences in economic, social and cultural capital. Globalization increasing cultural and religious diversity, multiculturalism and religion

Part 3: Brotherhoods – Sisterhoods/Solidarity: Cultural diversity, tolerance/intolerance, freedom of speech, right to be different, cultural clashes, gender questions, religion and orthodoxy, race
Prejudices and images – intercultural competence
Cosmopolitanism ><world citizenship><world consume








Organization and implementation

The main pedagogical and didactical approaches are daily workshops in the different aesthetic expressions:  music, drama, dance and visual art – separately and combined. The workshops include collaborative and democratic devising strategies where the teachers are used as facilitators and tutors.  The teachers are responsible also for the warm ups of the participants each day and for the summing ups and evaluations at the end of each day. Keynote lectures by specialist teachers will be followed up by thought provoking activities in groups intended to deepen understanding of the topics at hand.

Assessment will be both formative and summative. Informal concurrent assessment practices will be applied as well.

Students will make:

1. Presentations and discussions/reflections of the aesthetic, transdisciplinary and multimodal expressions (eg. video, performance, installations) during the course.

2. A written individual report reflecting on the general experiences as well as the aesthetical and pedagogical working methods implemented during the week in relation to the applicability into the teacher/pedagogue profession. This report has to be approved by the local partner representative before awarding credits for the course

Students will receive on-site assessment and feedback of participation during the course for their presentations, artistic works and group collaborations

Program for intensive seminar: All days include warmups, followed by a lecture and reflection /discussion and workshops in transnational and transdisciplinary groups. Most days will also include a presentation or a performance, either by the participating students or by a guest artist. The last day will have a final performance open for public and evaluations. See more detailed schedule attached to the application.

The hosting of courses rotates between institutions but the coordination and leadership is executed from Bergen University College by Torunn Bakken Hauge. Each institution in the network has a particular strength within the aesthetic and pedagogical subjects involved.

The planning and outline of the project and each course created by a project committee formed by representatives from different partner institutions (HEI’s following representatives/teachers:

The project committee for the courses 2017 – 19:

Sabine Lam, international coordinator UCC,  Karsten Arvedsen and Anne Louise Bahn, arts and crafts and Rose Maria Behring, religion and ethics, UCC Copenhagen, Hanna Olafsdottir, arts and crafts, University of Iceland, Dzintra Ilisko, sustainable education, University of Daugavpils Latvia, Annli Falk, music, VIAUC Aarhus and Torunn Bakken Hauge, music, Bergen University College. UCC Copenhagen is the host of the first course.

The roles of participating institutions for the course include selecting teachers (expert teachers), selecting students, helping students prepare for the course: forwarding reading material and preparing presentation and disseminating reports and articles after the course - locally, in the network, nationally 

The host institution is responsible for taking attendance and monitoring individual participation at each activity throughout the course. After the course, the course administrator gather all students’ reports and writes a summary. The project committee write the course report that is published on the home page of the network