project ”Enhancing Cultural Awareness Through Cultural
Production” aimed at finding methods with which to increase
and practice tolerance and intercultural understanding, especially
in adult education. The project emphasized educational methods
implemented in inter- and multicultural contexts . This choice
was based on the assumption that in addition to cognitive
elements, education which enhances tolerance and intercultural
activities, necessitates emotional experiences and social
participation. All four educational institutions involved
in the project had prior experience in cultural education
which offered a perfect tool for active participation, but
also left room for personal experience.
Cultural education offered a wide variety of activities through
which immigrants and national populations could meet each
other and interact. The number of participants and the duration
and intensity of the activities developed and organised varied
greatly within the project activities.
event organised by Jägerei Hustedt can be considered
as one extreme which attracted an audience of several thousand.
The event was of short duration and the educational intensity
was slight. The majority of the visitors only stayed for a
few hours, because of the informal nature of the event. The
educational activities aimed at the public cannot be considered
to be extensive.
Informality allowed the public to choose the degree of participation
and commitment and this can be considered to be the main characteristic
of Interkuul. The threshold for participation is low in these
types of events. The activities aimed at the public only partly
fulfill the educational criteria, the educational guidance
being dependent on the organiser of a single attraction. The
degrees in which the event offered experiences and intercultural
cooperation varied greatly from one person to the next. The
main benefits of large events like Interkuul are the attainment
of a large audience and a widespread intercultural cooperation.
In addition the main responsibility of the event is on the
organisers not the participants. This implies that a too great
demand is not attached to the participants’ behaviour.
Furthermore, large events often acquire a lot of media attention,
thus the role of the media should be taken into consideration
when evaluating the influence gained. Events, such as Interkuul
belong to the first phase of intercultural education. Here
the emphasis is put on raising public interest and accomplishing
intercultural cooperation in a situation where the participants’
can choose the degree of participation. European history,
even recent history, is still full of examples of multiple
barriers existing in the way of intercultural encounters.
These are the reasons why events such as Interkuul as a means
for intercultural encounters continue to present challenges.
event “Tellus” organised at the Korpilahti unit
of Humanities Polytechnic in Central Finland took place in
a very different type of environment compared with Interkuul
in Celle. The immigrant population in Finland is about two
per cent of the total population, the smallest percentage
in Europe. Most of the immigrants currently in Finland have
arrived during the past ten years, during which time their
number has quadrupled. The majority of immigrants in Finland
live in the south of the country, in the Helsinki region.
In contrast, Korpilahti is a small country municipality/ community
almost 300 kilometres from Helsinki. Its population has to
the present day been very homogenous, thoroughly Finnish.
The immigrants who participated in the intercultural project
organised at Korpilahti were mainly from the following three
groups: Russians, Iranians and Kurds. For these immigrant
groups the integration process has been more difficult than
for other ethnic groups. The reasons behind this can be partly
explained by religion, in the case of Kurds and Iranians,
and by prejudice based on history, with regard to Russians.
The integration process has been further hindered by the high
level of unemployment ranging from 50 to 80 per cent in these
three ethnic groups. For these reasons the multicultural event
organised at Korpilahti was both regionally and culturally
extremely difficult and challenging.
song and dance were chosen as the cultural elements around
which the encounter between the immigrant and Finnish population
was built. The choice proved a fruitful one as these cultural
elements can easily be used to overcome cultural barriers
and thus be used as convectors of intercultural activities.
The event received wide-spread publicity in regional newspapers.
The second intercultural event organised in Finland, a community
theatre event organised in the Helsinki region received much
less public attention.
and War” the subject was children, Kosovarian children,
who had experienced the destruction and terror of war returning
to their homes. The traces and experiences of war were portrayed
through the photographs taken by these children. The possibilities
offered by new technology were coupled with the world of children
and their experiences. The learning by doing method was used
in its most creative form in this project. This method is
both emotionally and intellectually very demanding for the
creators, their instructors and the public alike. Compared
with the events organised in Celle and Korpilahti, projects
like “Children and War” demand not only a long
working period but also technical professional skills which
are not available everywhere. The method is multiphased and
offers plenty of possibilities for intercultural cooperation
at all stages.
In opposition the second intercultural project organised in
Cologne “Intercultural story-telling” does not
necessitate any technical equipment, but relies on the skills
that all of us already have: communication skills, memory
and soul. Due to its simplicity story telling can be produced
in all conditions and environments. The method has been tested
over several centuries of human oral tradition. Story-telling
is built on face-to-face contact, where both the speaker and
the audience are part of an active process through which experience,
attitudes and feelings are conveyed.
and Finnish project partners both tried Brazilian Augusto
Boal’s “Forum Theatre” method which is one
of the forms of “Theatre of the Oppressed”. The
method aimed at increasing the participants’ awareness
of cultural differences and similarities, immigrants’
awareness of their own culture. Furthermore it aimed at improving
their aptitudes to resolve problems encountered in every day
life and increase their civil courage. Boal has developed
this method on the basis of participative and improvisation
theatre which combine the roles of the audience and actors.
In improvised every day situations the participants deal with
intercultural problems, where oppression, power and violence
have concrete manifestations. The aim is that the participants
gain control over every day racism. The method demands a lot
of time and professional expertise from the instructor. In
addition the method demands thorough commitment from participants,
immigrants in the educational process. The project implemented
in Finland suffered slightly from the lack of commitment from
from Graz implemented a demanding “Intercultural work”
– workshop. This was formed by four three-day modules.
The workshops aimed at strengthening the participants’
sensitivity and sensibility to work with people from different
cultures. In addition the workshops aimed at improving the
participants’ skills to command cultural conflicts.
The method was divided into four distinctive parts which combined
cognitive, social and emotional elements and treated individual,
group and community levels. The participants were of several
professions, the common factor being their professional contact
with immigrants. This intensive, structured and lengthy method
demands a high level of education from the instructors. The
method can be classified as professional interdisclipinary
The influences of Grundtvigian ideology still have a firm
footing in Danish adult education. The over 100 year-old Askov
folk school has widened its mission outside this tradition
into internationalism and Europeanism. The “living word”
proclaimed by Grundtvig 150 years ago was replaced by live
interaction in Askov. Young students were given the opportunity
to create a theatre event and a film founded on intercultural
interaction. These cultural productions were developed and
completed by a multicultural group of students. The theatre
event was shown to a European audience in places of youth
cultural activities. A Scandinavian boarding school and folk
high school was opened towards Europe through the theme of
tolerance. The method adopted by Askov necessitates a command
of European networks and a professional director. Furthermore
this method is intensive and time consuming.
emphasizing tolerance and intercultural understanding may
be contained in the curricula of basic education. Futhermore,
educational contents having these aims find a natural place
in several subjects. In adult education the situation is different.
Participation is voluntary, there are no standardized curricula
and education offered is guided by demand. Liberal adult education
emphasizing culture is one of the most popular forms of adult
education in several European countries. Adults cannot be
impelled to participate in intercultural education. They choose
their subjects based on personal needs and interests. This
is one of the reasons why the partners involved in the project
chose cultural education as a mediator for the “tolerance”
theme. Cultural education opens numerous possibilities for
educating people towards tolerance and multiculturalism. The
number of participants may vary from a few to several thousands
depending on the way the education is carried out. The intensity
of participation may begin with that of a curious bystander’s
passive role to end with participative theatre, where the
people involved use all their emotional arsenal and are responsible
for the whole learning process. Thus the cultural field offers
the possibility for a large variety of educational events.
In cultural education, encounters may be organised in such
forms which take into consideration not only the local population’s
customs and traditions but also those of immigrants.