Kulturverket is an organisation within the municipality of Umeå. We work with students of different ages in arts- and culture based projects.

At Kulturverket we employ professional artists from different fields: filmmakers, musicians and composers, artists within animation, photography, paper cutting and technology. We also involve other professionals in our projects; symphony orchestras, hip hop artists, dancers, actors and so on. This means that the students meet and work with practising artists and cultural workers of all kinds in our projects.

Since we started in 2006 we have developed two methods, financially supported by the National Heritage Fund. Both methods are used on an ongoing basis and keep developing, based on what the children and young people want to do, and what artists are involved.

Kids tell the pro’s what to do – is a method that we have used in all our projects so far. This method means that the children’s ideas, thoughts and creative work are developed together with older pupils, students and “the professionals” (cultural venues and practising artists). The children are the creators, and take part in visualising and generating ideas for professional exhibitions, shows and concerts, but it is the grownups with their experience, knowledge and resources that make it happen. Thus the children tell the pro’s what to do!

Where’s the art in Research? – is our second method that brings researchers, artists and school children together in the classroom, where the research is turned into art! Kulturverket invites scientists or researchers to give lectures to children of different ages. We then have a discussion about what the research is really all about. When there is an understanding about this, the pupils turn their new knowledge into art, together with the artists from Kulturverket. This way we develop new learning processes, using art as a meaningful tool. The method is frequently used in our projects.

We are very pleased our work has been so successful and involved so many children in Umeå – and actually in other parts of Sweden and abroad as well! One of our success factors is how we bring cultural institutions and the University world into our projects in the school world. This way we have created unexpected meetings, and brought resources together. But we have to remind ourselves to think new, and not get stuck in old patterns, even if those patterns seem to work just fine… We need to find new ways of working, to keep our own curiosity and creativity alive!

Our future work is in many ways defined by what the kids think is important. We will keep developing methods to work with children in art- and cultural projects, and to create opportunities and situations where school children can be creative and artistic. Who knows what way we will choose in the future…?