The Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centers’ project Promoting Cultural Education Plans (2021-2023) came to an end in the summer. Project’s purpose was to increase the number of Cultural Education Plans in Finland by supporting municipalities in developing Cultural Education Plans and by sharing the cultural education expertise of the national children’s culture network.
The educational services were intended for municipalities that did not yet have their own Cultural Education Plan. The educational sessions allowed the municipality to build its Cultural Education Plan under the guidance of a children’s culture expert, and the training sessions were free of charge for the municipality. The trainings consisted of a three-part consultation package in which people from different municipal departments and a children’s culture expert met remotely or face-to-face to jointly design a Cultural Education Plan for the municipality. The content of the training sessions was always tailored to the needs of the municipality, and during the training sessions the municipal actors had the opportunity to ask the children’s culture experts for advice on questions and other problems that arose during the planning process.
54 municipalities signed up for the training services. The training services involved municipalities from most of the regions, all the way from southern Finland to the north. The educators came from six member organisations of the The Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centers and The Association of Cultural Heritage Education of Finland. As a result of the training services, 43 new Cultural Education Plans had been drawn up in Finland by the end of the project.
The webinar series
The webinar series consisted of monthly meetings with experts discussing current topics related to Cultural Education Plans. The webinars were open to all interested parties, regardless of the status of their own local Cultural Education Plan. The themes of the webinars were inspired by the wishes of the municipalities and other current issues in the field of cultural education. Webinars’ aim was to promote knowledge on children’s culture and cultural education, to provide good practice and experience, and to create opportunities for joint discussion.
A total of 12 webinars were hosted during the project. The themes varied from resourcing the Cultural Education Plan to Cultural Heritage in Cultural Education Plans. In line with the objectives, the participants came from different municipalities around Finland and from different municipal departments. The webinar series reached over 650 participants from all over Finland. The webinars were recorded but are available only in Finnish.
The kulturikasvatussuunnitelma.fi website was originally created in 2015 as part of the project called Kulttuurivoltti, but since the end of the project (2018), it has not been maintained and updated. The current project revived the website and took over the responsibility of updating it.
The project gave the website a completely new visual appearance and a lot of new content. To update the site, a working group from the children’s culture network was set up to provide suggestions for improvements to the site and to help source materials. The website includes, among other things, a Planning Tool to help municipalities create their own Cultural Education Plan. During the project the Planning Tool was developed by publishing Swedish and English versions of the tool. Early childhood and secondary education were added as possible target groups, and questions were added to strengthen the dialogue between education and culture. In addition, registration was removed to make it a low-threshold activity. All existing Cultural Education Plans were made available on the site, and the possibility was added to post your own Cultural Education Plan for all to see. The site was updated to include tips, information, blog posts and a new video presentation of the Cultural Education Plans.
Producing new information
The need to conduct more information on the Cultural Education Plans was to improve the content of the project, the expertise of the association and the general awareness of the Cultural Education Plans. New information was produced by conducting two municipal surveys (spring 2022 and 2023) and by supporting the completion of two theses.
The municipal surveys in the spring of 2022 and 2023 were carried out to find out the needs, experiences and circumstances of municipalities in relation to the work of the Cultural Education Plans. The answers to the municipal survey were used to shape the content of the project and to plan the content of the future project.
The Association of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centers supported Eeva Laitinen’s Master’s degree thesis “Ylimääräinen asiakirja vai käytännön työkalu? : kulttuurikasvatussuunnitelmille annettuja merkityksiä kuntien kulttuuritoiminnassa” [An additional document or a practical tool? : Given meanings to Cultural Education Plans in municipal cultural activities] (2022). University of Jyväskylä.
The Association acted as the commissioner for Eeva Petterson’s thesis “Yhdenvertaisuuden edistäminen lastenkulttuurin alueella – työkaluina kulttuurikasvatussuunnitelmat ja verkostoyhteistyö” [Promoting equality in children’s culture as a tool for cultural education plans and network cooperation]. (2022). Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
Raising awareness of Cultural education plans
The project was involved in 12 events to spread the word about Cultural Education Plans.
Other project activities have also contributed to increased visibility. In autumn 2022, “Cultural Education Plan Wednesdays” were launched in the social media channels of children’s culture, where, according to their name, content related to Cultural Education Plans is always shared on Wednesdays. The content could be new plans, news or blog posts and articles added to the kulttuurikasvatussuunnitelma.fi website.
For more information
Eeva Laitinen, project coordinator
The Association Of Finnish Children’s Cultural Centers