Culture For children and culture with children

Art for all

List fyrir alla (Art for all) is a cultural project for children and youth under the auspices and funded by the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

We aim to choose and produce art events nationwide to give all children and youth equal opportunities in experiencing diverse and elaborate art events, regardless of their residential and economic situation.

The main focus is on culture for children and culture with children. We aim to give students, during their ten years of schooling, a good overview and insight into diverse forms of art across different eras and cultures, including the Icelandic cultural heritage.

By doing this we will extend and increase the cultural supply and contribute to the cooperation of artists and art groups with the children and youth of our country while maintaining consistently high standards of quality and professionalism.

Objectives

  • To ensure that all children and youth in Iceland have access to culture of high standards regardless of their residential and economic situation.
  • To increase the supply of elaborate and diverse art events both for and with children and youth.
  • To strengthen children’s and youths’ awareness of our cultural heritage and enhance their cultural knowledge.
  • To create a platform for direct communication between children and artists, thus enriching both school and art communities in the country.
  • To increase diversity in education and to strengthen the role of arts education in schools and within the community.
  • To encourage artist to create art that appeals to children and youth of different ages who come from different backgrounds and have different interests.

The project is intended to promote the possibilities of children to participate in artistic activities and discover their artistic abilities, with close contact with professional artists. List fyrir alla can have implications for the individuals themselves and also the society in which they live.

 

Background

On 6 March 2013, the Althing passed a resolution mandating the Minister of Education, Science and Culture to implement a policy on the arts and the cultural heritage – the National Cultural Policy. This is the first time a specific public policy is drawn up in this domain. The policy document describes the government’s involvement in matters relating to the arts and the cultural heritage. The following four factors are the cornerstones of the National Cultural Policy:

  • Creative work and participation in cultural life.
  • Easy access to the arts and to the cultural heritage.
  • Cooperation between the government and the many people and institutions which are active in the field of culture.
  • Participation by children and young people in cultural life.

The policy was prepared in consultation with the government and is divided into six chapters with several objectives in each. The six chapters are:

  1. Cultural participation
  2. Living cultural institutions
  3. Cultural cooperation
  4. Iceland in an international context
  5. Operational environment in the field of culture
  6. Digital culture

In August 2013 the Ministry formed a working group to create suggestions for an action plan on children’s and youth culture. List fyrir alla became one of the main suggestions of the group.

Examples and good experience from comparable projects can be found in our neighbouring countries. A comparable Icelandic project, a smaller one, has been running since 1992 under the name of Tónlist fyrir alla – skólatónleikar á Íslandi (Music for all – school concerts in Iceland) and List fyrir alla is based in many ways on the valuable experience gathered from that project.

Collaboration

Strong communication is to be ensured between all parties involved in the implementation of the project; the Ministry, municipalities, school directors, teachers, children, youth, art organisations and artists. The project manager is responsible for informing and providing services to all those involved in List fyrir alla and to ensure that the project is run professionally and smoothly.

Through List fyrir alla there will be new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration between schools, artists and arts organisations. It is also important to cooperate successfully with those representing each part of the country. The project will no doubt provide great support for art teachers and it is important to cooperate successfully with them.

In the future, List fyrir alla will seek collaboration with universities and research departments in the fields of art and art education and will encourage and collaborate in research on children’s culture.

There will be opportunities to work with artists from abroad, as foreign artists will regularly be added to the schedule.

It is important to focus on List fyrir alla events leaving as much impact as possible on the school community. Increasing collaboration between cultural organisations and artists, sharing teaching material and offering the schools visits from artists can be important additions to the continuing education and professional development of teachers. This can be followed up by accompanying documents, teaching material based on the events, recordings and other digital content. Some events could also be followed up with short courses for teachers.

 Cultural connectors

The sharing of information is an important factor in all collaborative work. This is where the role of a cultural connector could become important to build a bridge between the schools and List fyrir alla and even other art events organisers.

This way, List fyrir alla, as well as other cultural organisations, can have an easier access to share information to the schools. With time, the cultural connector can become a part of a larger network and influence the project and how the schools are utilising the visits and the artist contribution, thus strengthening the artistic focus in schooling.

For schools

The schools play the key role in List fyrir alla. The visits should always be a supplement to the existing art education and events that are already available to the schools. The schools have the possibility to expand and work further on the visit as art can be approached as a subject, method and/or experience.

The school is responsible for how it receives artists and welcomes them, the school is the host. The school is responsible for sharing information, such as the number of children that will participate, the size of performance space and other facilities such as projector/screen, sound system and electricity, and the school should try to meet the needs of the artists as much as it possibly can.

The school leaders and teachers can support the project by informing List fyrir alla what kind of projects they wish to have at their school and by sharing their experience of the project to others.

For artists

The role of the artists and art organisations can vary greatly according to the nature of each event. In some cases, artists/art organisations will offer a pre-produced event to pass between schools and in other cases the event is formed in collaboration with List fyrir alla.

The artists go through a certain process before they set off. It is important that all information on the event lies with the project manager, such as information on traveling, number of participants, the event, photos and promotional material for the homepage and sharing any further information.

The event is shown to an assessor and project manager who will guide and suggest what can be done better so that the event will be the best it can be.

Situations vary greatly and can be challenging, different and fun, all at the same time, and artists need to be prepared to be presented to different facilities through their visits. They are also due to hand in a summary after each trip, summarising how the event went, their experience of the visit and suggestions for improvements.

Here are a few examples of how different events can be implemented through List fyrir alla. The possibilities are of course many more but these examples are mentioned as guidelines.

Art event at schools
The schools host an art event delivered by the artists travelling from one school to the next. This way, all the pupils in a certain part of the country get to experience the art event.

An art event at a cultural centre
Pupils visit art events at a cultural centre. This can be offered to a mixed age group, from year 1 to year 10 and can be offered to different sizes of groups, all according to the facilities that each centre has to offer.

Artist residency at a school
The artists visit the town/village community and have access to a space either at a school and/or other facilities supplied by the council, according to the needs of the project. Artists stay with the children, i.e. they work with pupils. The duration of the project can vary from half a day and up to a few days. Each group of pupils is to be of mixed ages although there can be an emphasis on a certain school level. Bigger municipalities choose a certain age group to participate while smaller municipalities may participate jointly.

Fostering the artist
The artists bring their art project to the same school a few times, for example three or four times over one semester and the project concludes with a performance/exhibition including all participants. The results will probably be extremely varied between the many projects, for example concerts, art exhibitions or stage performance where the artist leads the project. The pupils work independently between visits or collaborate with their teachers. The pupils are of mixed ages although there is often an emphasis on a certain school level. Bigger municipalities choose certain age groups to participate while smaller municipalities may participate jointly.

Digital cooperation with arts foundations
Cooperation with arts foundations where promotional material is shared and other information and educational material is followed up in the schools. This way the information has the possibility to be accessible to everyone throughout the country.
The information can be followed up by visits from professionals who will work on projects with pupils after the group has seen information/material on the website or in their classroom.