The project partners represent nine organisations from four countries (Norway, Finland, Iceland and North Macedonia) and come from the school and art sectors. You can read more about the partners here.
In 2020 WOW was awarded Erasmus+ funding until August 2023.
The instigator and coordinator of WOW is the art provider for The Cultural Schoolbag in Vestfold and Telemark County Council in Norway. The Cultural Schoolbag is a national programme designed to ensure that all pupils in Norway aged 6 to 19 years old regularly experience professional art and culture of all kinds.
A shared international challenge and the positive impact of art experiences
The backdrop to WOW is that according to a national survey in Norway (UngData 2019) fewer pupils are happy at school, relatively many experience a high level of stress and there has been an increase in pupils who suffer from depressive symptoms.
The partners involved in WOW have all witnessed the positive impact meaningful art experiences can have on pupils. It can bring about engagement and openness about sensitive topics, trigger critical thinking and spark creativity. Art evolves us as human beings and sharing good art experiences can bring pupils together and give them a sense of belonging.
Our experiences are supported by the 2019 WHO report “What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being”, which confirms that participating in the arts can be beneficial to our mental health and foster social inclusion.
However, we see differences between and within schools in the outcome of art experiences. Some are active recipients and facilitators; others are passive and non-engaging. And herein are many missed opportunities. This is what WOW wished to explore: How could we ensure that pupils have meaningful experiences in their meetings with professional artists?
The project objectives
- Improve the working relationship between art providers and schools when providing professional performing art experiences to pupils.
- Improve the organisation of professional art and culture activities within the schools.
- Increase the number of teachers who facilitate the conditions for meaningful professional performing art experiences for their pupils.
The Best Practice Toolbox
During the project we exchanged experiences and explored practices to improve our own work methods. We also tested a few chosen methods. The result is this toolbox that we hope may provide simple tips and ideas to how others can make the most of professional art experiences - and thus making them more meaningful to students. The toolbox is aimed at art providers and schools (teachers, culture contacts and school management).