European Capital of Culture on the curriculum

Subject: Aesthetics and Culture. Course: Culture 2. Course level: Bachelor 3rd semester.

Motivation for the activity

The background for this activity is to identify how students can engage with and evaluate the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) 2017.

Central learning outcomes for the course

Through the course, the students will learn

  • to demonstrate knowledge of significant cultural and political theories
  • to demonstrate basic historical knowledge of cultural politics and the institutionalisation of culture
  • to describe and analyse the character and issues of contemporary cultural life, including the positioning of art in the cultural field as a whole (locally, nationally and internationally).

Central learning outcomes for the activity

The emphasis is on the extent to which the students are able to describe, analyse and assess cultural-political and cultural-institutional cases.

Description of the activity

The case work is integrated into a compulsory and defined process, which in general assists in qualifying and preparing/concluding the students' work on the cases. Further, the permanent Annual Seminar (for all DAC students and former candidates) has contributed to the students' general introduction to the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) as an EU project with the following seminar programme.

Aesthetics and Culture's Annual Seminar

European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017: "Rethink" - What is the idea, what is the perspective?

  • Uffe Østergaard, Professor, CBS: "European Capitals of Culture – culture, branding and European identity"
  • Anne Marit Waade, Associate Professor, Media Studies, AU: "Researcher away from home - city of culture collaboration between researchers, cultural life and public agencies and institutions"
  • Pia Burchardt, Consultant at Aarhus 2017: ”IMPACT 2017”
  • Mads Lauersen, Godsbanen/Department of (X) /B-Huset: "Department of (X) and the social design method.”

Instructions for the students' case

The students will be given an assignment to conduct a research- and interview-based study of an individually chosen project under "Rethink" - Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017, with special focus on its administration and reflection of the international and European dimension contained in the project’s formulation and its former/current status.

In addition, I provide the students with a range of instructions in connection with their individually chosen case work:

The case study should preferably include a

  • Factual presentation: the project’s character, artistic-cultural production and activity(s), purpose/objective, intentions, geography, its relation to the "Rethink" application, as it is found, as well as to the requirements in the European Capital of Culture (ECoC).
  • The study of the project must be related to Emilia Palonen's text (on ECoC), which they have read during the course, her presentation and analysis of ECoC in relation to the four levels of interest (local, regional, national and international) with a focus on the international level
  • The study should assess whether the case project fulfils the "Rethink" application’s central strategies, objectives, plans and goals regarding the European and international levels.

Work process and methods:

  • Find/discuss a focus or a particular issue in your case
  • Prepare the interview and allocate responsibility
  • Document the interview with a transcript and keywords
  • Conduct an analysis of the interview/research
  • Write a case report of approx. 2-3 pages per person
  • Place the report in the shared online conference
  • Everyone presents their report orally. Thirty minutes per group + 10 minutes for the feedback group. Recap and perspectivation of cases with everyone
  • Remember to state sources and texts, plus a short process description (meta-reflection).

Outcome of the activity

The students worked together in 6 groups on very different actual cases within the framework of the European Capital of Culture: from Bureau Detours Department for (X) D.A.K., over the "Kulturremisen" in the town of Brande, to the town of Struer as "Sound City".

In their evaluation of the course the students pointed out that they had received an alternative knowledge of culture-political ethics and their own practice, which they would not otherwise have gained through ordinary teaching, and they had gained an insight into their own (lack of) knowledge about Rethink and ECoC. The course gave the students a specific approach to Rethink 2017 and showed them that they can contribute with something useful: They can actually help to "quality assure" the European Capital of Culture 2017.

Reflections on the activity

In the final evaluation the students stated that the whole course had been intensive and demanding, but very instructive.

They also pointed out, however, that the Rethink 2017 case course had perhaps taken up too much of the total Culture 2 course programme as a whole. It was suggested, for instance, that we next year consider

  • placing case work within the European Capital of Culture 2017 at the beginning of the semester,
  • concentrating and limiting it to a couple of weeks as a kind of introductory project to Culture 2, but with the option of returning to it, e.g. in the final exam assignment.

I also find this would be better.

Ansa Lønstrup

M
H bldg. 1580
P +4593508704
P +4593508704

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