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International exchange of experience in Norway on the creation of cultural products for child and youth audiences

2022. gada 22. septembris

With the launch of the project “Me, A Human Being in the World”, A Tool for Fostering Contemporary Culture Processes, we are working with children and young people in Latvia, preparing to unveil the next murals, and have visited Norway for exchange of experience.
At the beginning of September, we were welcomed by the project partners – The Culture Schoolbag Nordland team (this initiative is consonant with Latvian School Bag programme). From now on, new achievements and reflections on the experiences gained in Norway will be summarized in the format of theses.

Interesting facts about the Norwegian programme The Culture Schoolbag Nordland (Kultur, Miljø og Folkehelse Den kulturelle skolesekken i Nordland):
 each region has its own “Culture Schoolbag” team, which prepares a special programme for pupils – two to three culture events per school year;
 the programme is the largest employer of artists in the field of culture;
 the programme does not adapt to the curriculum, while including the major topics of the curriculum – equality, democracy and others;
 funding for “Culture Schoolbag” comes from the National Lottery (just like in Latvia –from Latvian national lottery “Latvijas loto”).

Some ideas and reflections for working with young people in culture education: 
 in experiencing literature, an opportunity can be provided to practically experience the written narrative – to cook the dishes described in the stories, to experience the works that people did in the times depicted in the story. To have a contemporary conversation about literature through the passage of time and the adventures of the characters;
 to structure the work process like a game – the more can be experienced with different senses, the more is remembered;
 it is also possible to experience a historical person through architecture and interior. An excellent example is the Knut Hamsun Centre and its design;
 culture institutions are a valuable place for honest conversations with young people about cultural values and events.

Interesting facts about the Norwegian education system:
 duration of primary school education is 10 classes, and children start school at the age of six;
 average number of students in a Norwegian school is around 400;
 the first day of school here is not a festivity like in Latvia, and it is not customary to give gifts or flowers to teachers;
 the law states that if there are more than 20 students in a class, two teachers must work with it.
 although Norway is perceived as a prosperous country, since the spring there has been a teachers’ strike to increase the salary. Likewise, lack of teachers is a big problem.

Insights regarding Norwegian Culture Schoolbag:
 artists apply in a special system, and then a team consisting of representatives of the Culture Schoolbag, teachers and pupils evaluates them and makes selection for the school year programme;
 in each team of the region, each person responsible for his/her own field – cultural heritage, music, literature, theatre and visual arts;
 the use of virtual reality technology is associated with the cultural experience of a developed country, but even in Norway its use is at the introductory stage;
the Norwegians were pleasantly surprised by Ziedonis Class escape room. It builds self-confidence and continues our way in the world!

Reflections on Norwegian art, museums and culture in general:
 In Norway, since the beginning of the 1990s, it has been customary to place art objects in the open air, so people who go out in nature encounter art and vice versa;
 at the beginning of June, a new National Art Museum (Nasjonalmuseet) opened in Oslo, combining art history, conceptual and contemporary art. The children’s activities go on in almost every room, which appears very logical and organic;
 Deichman Bjørvika, or the Oslo Library, has been recognized as the world’s best public library in 2021. Designed to be accessible and open to all and reduce social inequality (accessible sewing machines, music recording studios, cinema halls, children’s area with diverse entertainment and other opportunities for everyone).

Impressions of the museum and art experience in Oslo:
 we observed that the exposition of Edvard Munch Museum (Munchmuseet) depends on interpretation. Even though Edvard Munch’s life was full of anxiety and depressing, the artist’s museum inspires and creates positive emotions – interesting, interactive, educational, and once more – very considerate of the young visitors of the museum;
 although the collection of Edvard Munch Museum is exhibited behind glass, it is interpreted and made interactive. The space has been designed as if Mr. Munch had just left his house a moment ago and the visitors can sit in his rooms. Interactive objects allow the visitor to act, listen, draw, be involved, and it kindles interest in all ages;
 the private collector Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (Astrup Fearnley Museet) has an impressive and worldly main exhibition and changing exhibitions, and, moreover, it offers workshops for families every Sunday. Contemporary art workshop topics change monthly, and workshop methods are different each week.


Imants Ziedonis Foundation Viegli , Ziedoņa klase is implementing a project “Me, A Human Being in the World”, A Tool for Fostering Contemporary Culture Processes (project No. EEZ/2021/1/28) with the support of the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism for the period 2014–2020 programme Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Cultural Cooperation, awarded under the open call Support for the Creation of Professional Art and Cultural Products for Children and Youth.

Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe!