Last week saw another visit of Leeds City Council’s EU-funded Erasmus+ project PACE (Partnerships in Arts and Cultural Education) go to our German partner city Dortmund. Through PACE we are connecting teachers and experts on cultural education from Leeds with partners in Lille (France), Dortmund (Germany), Malmö (Sweden) and Espoo (Finland) to share their work, exchange best practice and develop new ideas for joint projects.
Since Dortmund held the title of European Capital of Culture as part of Ruhr 2010, the city has developed a fascinating offering in cultural education. Colleagues from the Dortmunder U, a former brewery that has been turned into a centre for culture, have introduced us to the work of UZWEI, a whole floor in their building dedicated to cultural education. Here, children and young people will learn to express themselves in different art forms, explore artistic techniques and find room to grow their own creative ideas.
While we were at the U, students of the Westfalen-Kolleg Dortmund have shared their well thought out film “RACES” with us which they have professionally produced in 2017/18 as an extra-curricular activity.
After seeing the Dortmunder U, our partners in Dortmund have introduced us to a whole range of projects giving children and young people a great cultural experience: The city’s Museum of Art and Cultural History (MKK Dortmund), for instance, informs about the city’s history at the re-built guard tower Adlerturm, an exhibition devised by a Children’s Advisory Board. The Dietrich-Keuning-Haus in Dortmund Nordstadt offers after-school care as much as a space for creativity and play; and at the cultural centre Balou in Dortmund Brakel anyone from 5 months of age can find a creative hobby that is just right for them.
Most impressively, Dortmund gives all children in primary school the opportunity to learn an instrument or take up dancing. As part of the JeKits scheme (An Instrument, Dance and Singing for Every Child) pupils in their first year in school will be introduced to a range of different instrument and can then access free classes in the instrument of their choice from year two. So it is no surprise that more than 50% of primary school pupils in Dortmund are learning and instrument!
After two days of a full programme, all participants have come back with great ideas for future projects with their partners in Dortmund and we are looking forward to developing them.