The project partners represent nine organisations from four countries and come from the school and art sectors. In 2020 WOW was awarded Erasmus+ funding for 3 years and the project started officially in September of that year, although Covid-19 caused a few alterations in the original timeline.
Organized by The Cultural Schoolbag (TCS)
The instigators of WOW are the administrators of The Cultural Schoolbag (TCS) in Vestfold and Telemark County Council (VTCC) in Norway. TCS 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 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.
Positive impact on pupils
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 wishes to explore: How can we ensure that pupils have meaningful experiences in their meetings with professional artists?