Empowering disadvantaged learners through art

Tue 25 Jul 2017 10:00:00 AM EEST

EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2017. The Creativity and Growth “Vi På Vrangen” project helps people who face challenges in regard to mental/physical endurance, low self-esteem and teamwork. This is often a result of psychological challenges or diagnoses and it will prevent them from participating in new communities and learning situations.

The article series shares good practices on engaging new learners by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2017.

Vi På Vrangen focuses from the beginning on young people and their educational possibilities. However, at the same time the target group is characterized by failed educational tries, mental barriers and stress related symptoms.

“This is why the job is to create an inclusive community, infuse faith and courage to change through new qualifications, to work actively with creativity as more than crafts but also through new ways to handle life,” says Julie Høncke Keldorff, the manager of the project.

To help this target group to overcome the difficulties, the teachers of the project help the participants to empower themselves through art and information adult education methods.

The project wants to generate readiness to change, courage, energy to dare choose a job or an education and to increase self-esteem. However, the project doesn’t only focus on individual, but also wants to play an active role in the community.

“We want to create positive effects from the community and to create something that evokes excitement and joy with others,” says Julie Høncke Keldorff.

Creativity as a tool

The project teaches the participants crafts, engages them in finding a place in the community and guides them in bridging the gap between future dreams and concrete goals. Creativity is used as a tool to teach the participants about project management and to be part of the community. To do so, the associations who coordinate the project cooperate with the job center in Aalborg Kommune, surrounding municipalities and innovative partners.

For example, the partners started cooperating with the drop-in center Parasollen, where participants photograph homeless people and interpret the photos into line drawings and print on t-shirts. Together they had to align expectations in a team and create a product to which everybody had contributed. This initiative helped build a bridge between the participants' abilities and future dreams to the right choice of education or job.

According to Julie Høncke Keldorff, even if it is to maintain motivation over time and to continuously create meaning and understanding about the project, the benefits of the project are huge.

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Thanks to this project, the participants (in 2017, 40 participants are enrolled in the project) will get a company internship where they will be able to test their new skills, which also make them feel that the goal of employment is within reach.

Participants gained several qualifications, such as serigraph printing, stock management or communication and cooperation skills. The creative tools produce social skills that strengthen the foundation for finding and staying in employment and have a positive domino effect on mental barriers: participants feel increased self-esteem, self-knowledge and success. They get a larger perspective on life, get more tolerant and in general get more zest for life.

The project: Vi På Vrangen
  • Award category: National projects (Denmark)
  • Learner target group: Young adults with failed educational trails
  • Innovative practice: Continuos recreation of the original meaning of the project

Coordinator:

Text: Lou-Andréa Pinson
Photos: Vi På Vrangen project