Intergenerational – Casestudies

Case Study 1: Culture Guides and Open Schools

Case Study 2: Time travelling

Case Study 3: Intricate fate of the First World War heroes

Case Study 4: Theatre joins generations

Case Study 5: KNOT

Case Study 6: Dance moments (Croquis workshop) at Summer Dance School


Case Study 1: Culture Guides and Open Schools

By Bente von Schindel,


1 Background of the project


Modern welfare states have as an important objective to ensure free and equal access to art and culture for all, because the experience of art and culture can enliven and enlighten people and change their lives for the better. Art and culture have positive consequences for both the individual and for society.

The National Association of Cultural Councils in Denmark (KSD) therefore elaborated on research by the Danish Ministry of Culture called “The Cultural Habits of the Danes 2012”. It showed that part of the Danish population do not regularly (or ever) go to theatres or concerts, read books or go to art exhibitions etc. The reasons for not choosing art and culture were varied and included involvement in other interests and priorities, lack of geographical and financial availability and cultural barriers.

Also, the cultural consumption of children was mapped in the research and marginalised groups were also found here.

This lack of cultural consumption of children led to a group of volunteers in Copenhagen creating a corps of adult voluntary culture guides whose ambition was to:

  • introduce children from social housing districts of Copenhagen to cultural activities (museums, theatres, film etc.) – both as audience and as participants.
  • to prevent marginalisation and ensure equal access to cultural activities by “bridging” between the residents and the cultural institutions.
  • to ensure that cultural institutions and associations met new audiences (by developing new exhibitions/activities in correspondence with their interests and demands.


2 Who is involved and what they have done 

The research of the Ministry of Culture and the Culture Guide project in Copenhagen inspired KSD to launch a Culture Guide model in order to find out whether it would be possible to develop groups of adult cultural volunteers in local cultural councils – themselves being extremely engaged in their activities – to help disseminate culture to children.

KSD chose to focus on marginalised children because of the survey made in 2012 by the Danish Ministry of Culture about Danish cultural habits, showing that children from homes that do not participate in artistic and cultural activities are not going to participate in them when they grow up. So it was natural to think of children and young people as end users.

KSD saw a need to enhance access to art and culture for cultural marginalised children all over the country, and felt that the most appropriate means to fulfil this need and promote cultural sustainability, would be to use the idea of “people helping people”. State and municipalities can support such initiatives, but they cannot do it alone – the effort depends on adult volunteers.

The elementary school reform

 At the same time, a primary school reform came into force – the so-called “Open School”.

Some of the overall aims of the reform were that it should:

  • Make education more realistic and have contact with the community.
  • Strengthen the professional development of the pupils with other expertise that can complement the professional and professional skills of teachers and educators. (Including art and culture)
  • Give more pupils knowledge and desire to participate in the associations and the leisure life.
  • Contribute to promoting the pupils well-being and social skills, e.g. the ability to enter into communities.
  • Strengthen local cohesion.


3 The Open School and the Associations

 With KSD’s interest in launching a culture guide model, it was obvious to participate in the reform, and at the same time it was important that the local cultural councils and their members were given the tools to initiate such cooperation.

The tools include among other things cultural offers for the schools and the ability to create contact. The offerings consisted of shorter or longer participation in the activities of a cultural association or of activities that were “specially designed” for the grade, but were still close to the association’s core activities.

KSD first thought of finding marginalised children in each class, but it’s hard to take children out of classes. Therefore they chose to involve whole classes, even though some of the kids (but really only a small number, which was unexpected) spent time on culture outside of school.


It was also important that the learning goals were clear. And here it must be up to the national organisation to help explain what considerations need to be taken.

Additionally, a large and a small seminar where held where the Culture Guides were taught how to communicate with children, what the children expected and how the roles would be between teachers and Culture Guides.

The areas in which the cultural associations could interact and cooperate were:

  1. Subjects such as Danish, mathematics, sports, etc. Here the learning objectives are professional and here the associations can complement and support the teaching and provide inspiration and complement to the academic education.
  1. Teaching where the cooperation supports learning, well-being, motivation, social skills, etc. This takes place in Danish schools for 5-7 hours a week (depending on the grade), of which 2 to 3 hours are for homework. Here the learning goals are supportive.
  1. Finally, there is exercise and movement a total of 45 minutes averages a day, which can occur both in the specialized education (including sports) and in the supportive teaching. Here too the learning goals are supportive.


4 With what can the associations contribute

Examples of specific areas of cooperation between primary schools and cultural associations.

The associations in the cultural field possess special professional skills that the school teachers can draw on both in general education and in supporting education and in connection with the open school.

Out of school activities

In order to create more variation on a longer school day, a larger part of the teaching is put outside the school. Here the cultural associations can contribute with a qualified offer. For example, it can be pointed out:

  • Execution of events in the theater association, the music association, the art association, the literary company and the like.
  • Implementation of voluntary cultural activities in the local history association, the museum association, the local archives, the cultural center and the like.
  • Implementation of events with local amateur orchestras, bands, choirs, etc.

Enter school activities

  • The possibilities are many but below are listed different examples for inspiration:
  • Local archives and historical associations can offer educational programs on local history, genealogical research, micro history etc.
  • Associations engaged in crafts can participate in teaching courses in handicrafts, craftwork, crafts and design
  • Educational courses that work play together with theater, music, visual art and the like.
  • Activities with local amateur orchestras, bands, choirs, etc.
  • Finally, you can think of art and culture in most other subjects (see the examples later on!)

The activities were based on the cultural associations’ normal activities, but were adapted for children.

The project is grounded in the belief that using volunteers – with relevant support from partners in stakeholder organisations including local government, cultural institutions, voluntary associations and health and social care organizations – can be a sustainable means of encouraging this type of beneficial engagement.

The activities selected could be active (such as taking part in a workshop or performance for example) or receptive (visiting a gallery or professional show for example), and were often chosen based on what was appropriate for the group of pupils and the Culture Guides were working with and local availability of arts activities.

Culture Guide activities included e.g.:

  • Skovbo Art Society provided art exhibitions with a guided tour adapted to children, where artists became guest teachers and exhibition tour guides and ran projects with children.
  • Apollonaris Teaterforening provided a theatre performance on bullying with a debate as part of school integration/inclusion work.
  • Køge School Orchestra provided a lecture on school orchestra and its many and exciting activities, including how it is to play in the orchestra and how it develops interpersonal skills and camaraderie.
  • The Danish Society provided a lecture on Dannebrog (the Danish flag, the world’s oldest).
  • The Ejby Choir provided examples of classic song and opera, including information on being a soloist and working with choirs.
  • Ejby Cultural Center provided a session on genealogy, where the children interviewed parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and found information on archives and the Internet.
  • Culture Society of Skovbo provided a session on ‘Peter and the Wolf’, where trained flutist Linnéa Villén told the story and used recordings of the different instruments to describe the characters in the story. In the absence of an end to the story, the children themselves made poems and drew a conclusion, while the music played.
  • At the Fishing and Port House Museum, children learnt about marine wildlife, caught fish, cut them into pieces and ate them. Subsequently, they created movies and pictures of fish and their experiences with the sea.
  • In The Weaving Circle, children created a seasonal wheel, in which they wove seasonal colours onto wheels from bicycles and pram.
  • Art Association of Frederiksværk provided a look into the world of art when the children visited the Association’s current exhibition. The exhibiting artist put five questions to the children during the visit, and the children gave questions to the artists, to create a dialogue.
  • The Historical Association of Frederiksværk presented a session on the Occupation of Frederiksværk, 1940-45, where the story was told and affects from the period were shown.
  • Association of Town and Country ran a session with the children on how houses look and are described in literature, with a bike ride to see the landmark houses with the representative of the Association.
  • Art Association Frederiksværk provided a session on mathematics in art, where children worked with mathematical figures include the golden section.
  • The Historical Association of Frederiksværk organised a visit to the powder mill museum to hear about Frederiksværk, with a focus on the excavation of the canal and hydro power. The children built engines and worked with gears in Lego.

 How this delivers on the goals described as “bridging social capital”

These activities were intended to have a range of benefits for the children, including developing their mental abilities and cultural intelligence, creating shared experiences and common wonder, touching the emotions, challenging, provoking, creating reflection, awareness and self-understanding, developing opportunities to verbalise feelings, experiences and actions, creating understanding between children of each other’s cultural backgrounds and developing tolerance in a social environment.

The projects finished with exhibitions in the two cities involved.

How this relates specifically to the Inter-generational theme

  • In terms of evaluations of the schools, the feedback on the project was mostly positive. Primarily, they noted the adult volunteers’ commitment and their great knowledge of the things they communicated to the children.
  • The (adult) members of the 16 cultural associations in the two municipalities taking part will surely in future become more aware of how their activities in the cultural associations impact children and they will hopefully be more open to working together.
  • The idea of focusing on children and youth participation in arts and heritage coincided with a new school reform where one of the objectives is wider cooperation between the schools and the adults of local community, including associations within the field of amateur art and voluntary culture.


Case study 2: Time travelling

By Hans Jørgen Vodsgaard,

Interfolk (DK)

Time travelers at the Lithuanian Open Air Museum, August 2014

1 Time travelling at Lithuanian Open Museum

 The Estate Academy of Museum Rumšiškės has since 2002 been working with the role play, Time Travel learning method in the Lithuanian Open Air Museum as a culture heritage site.

The Lithuanian Open Air Museum is one of the largest ethnographic open-air museums in Europe. It was established on the picturesque shores of Kaunas Lagoon in Rumšiškės in 1966 and opened for visitors in 1974. The museum displays the heritage of Lithuanian rural life in a vast collection of authentic resurrected buildings where the Lithuanian people lived and worked.

Set amidst 176 hectares of rolling hills and forest, the museum has been laid out to represent Lithuania’s ethnographic regions by way of placing traditional village homes and agricultural buildings along a 7 km route, many of which operate during summer with a host of activities including the baking of bread, the wearing of traditional costumes, pottery workshops and other old-fashioned pursuits. The total area contains 140 buildings from the 18th–19th century with the restored original interiors and surroundings.

The exhibitions present the buildings, work and traditions of peasants and townspeople of the varied ethnographic regions of Lithuania, as they looked at the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 20th century with flower gardens, gardens and gardens, chapels and crosses, technical objects – mills, millet vinegar, forge, oil. Examples of household appliances, crafting, trading, agricultural machinery and ethno-botany are presented inside the buildings. In 51 of these buildings an interior exposition with the equipment characteristic to some particular period is arranged, including furniture, cloths, kitchen articles, working tools. In some buildings the process of some kind of work is demonstrated: making pots of clay, processing of the amber, wood, metal, weaving etc. A separate sector is devoted to the memory of the exile and torture of the Lithuanian people – wigwam, exile carriage, and monuments.

The territory of the museum is a very popular place where ethnographic festivals are celebrated and folk song and dance concerts are held. You will have entertainment according to the ancient traditions of Lithuanian Rumsiskes all year round. The guided tours, educational programs, calendar feasts, folk group concerts are being organized in the museum.


2 Who is involved and what they have done

 The time travel  sessions was in the start primarily offered to school classes for children and young people, but later elaborated to reach out to adult and older people as well. During the Nordplus Adult development project, 2013 – 2015, entitled “Culture Guide for Active Ageing” the time travel method was elaborated to include inter-generational learning sessions.

The planning took place during meetings in the winter and spring 2014, where representatives from Kaisiadorys municipality, the 3rd Age University in Kaunas, the Lithuanian Association of Adult Education and the Lithuanian Open Air Museum participated.

The first inter-generational pilot event took place during the Assumption Day, 15th of August in the one of homestead of the Aukstaiciai village in the Museum. The title of the time travelling programme was: „Holiday in the countryside of Lithuania in the 30s – 40s of the 20th century“

The four completed events at the Museum involved inter-generational groups of participants of approx. 40. The teams did meet on 14th of August, the day before to prepare the time travelling, including to get some information from Museum curators, to learn more about main topics for this time, to clarify their own roles and costumes and equipments to play a character on a Sunday at the countryside.

The next during the time travelling all participants used specific narratives, artefacts, and activities to create „alive pictures“, like a kaleidoscope. The topic chosen should also allow for nowadays problems and questions, for example questions about emigration, business depression, patriotism, fatherland defence in the 30‘s -40‘s of 20 century, etc.  Here young people also acted for the elder with dancing, acting etc. The end-users were in this case the museums visitors of different age this day (around 3000) including elderly families with more generations.

The time travelling session starts, Aug 2014


3 How this delivers on the goals described as ‘bridging social capital’

 The time travelling method includes role plays based on local events and things from the past, where the group learning about historical facts is combined with involvement of values, feelings, attitudes and capacity to reflect.  In principle the method strengthen the historical reflection and consciousness and bridges the past and present in a multiple learning approach.

The intention is to help the participants to travel back in time and experience the changes from the past to now. A place to start can e.g. be a Sunday in a certain year, a religious feast for example in the 1930s. Thereby the participants are confronted with former problems and can reflect on the challenges of their current life situation.

The objectives of the time travel learning are to strengthen the participants’ ability to:

  • take part in the life of another historical time period in order to learn about themselves and society today
  • socialized and have fun by learning, doing, participating, sharing, empathizing.
  • The Time Travelling method implies
  • use the Museum buildings, surroundings and local resources to learn about the past;
  • include learners, adults and the elderly reliving together the past and then reflecting about the experience;
  • use „a play as the highest form of Education“ (A. Einstein) with children, youth, including adults and the elderly.

In general, this method of cultural learning has privileged possibilities to strengthen the local identity and sense of belonging; as well as to strengthen the community bonding and social cohesion through understanding, healing and reconciliation in the often divided societies of today.

Inter-generational time travel activity at the Lithuanian Open Air Museum, August 2014


4 How this relates specifically to the inter-generational theme

 Furthermore, the evaluation reports from the event organisers clearly indicated that such a learning approach also could be a privileged way to organise an inter-generational bonding and increased mutual understanding. Therefore, the Lithuanian Open Air Museum also gave such inter-generational time travel sessions a new priority in the planning of subsequent and current culture events at the museum.

As defined in the foreword of the State of the Arts Survey: “The term co-creation, in the context of this project, refers to co-creation in a free, civic context, where different citizen groups work and create together. It aims to promote social capital, mutual trust and recognition as being part of the same democratic community.”

The time travel pilot work at the Lithuanian Open Air Museum presented in general new ways learning approaches to strengthen the local identity and sense of belonging; as well as to strengthen the community bonding and social cohesion through understanding, healing and reconciliation in the often divided societies of today.

The pilot work furthermore indicated that such a form of participatory culture and heritage learning can help to strengthen the recognition and understanding between the generations, from children, young people, adult and senior citizens; and to build bridges between the life experience in the past and nowadays.


State of the Art Report, Overview of co-creative and participatory activities in the sector of amateur arts, voluntary culture and heritage, 2018.

Curricula Guidelines – Bridging social capital by participatory and co-creative culture, 2018.

Handbook – Culture Guides for Active Ageing. Published in the context of The Nordplus Adult development project, 2013 – 2015.



Case study 3: Intricate fate of the First World War heroes
– for Poland they fought that the peaceful time will come

By Agnieszka Dadak,


The Spichlerz Local Activity Association from Czernica, a small village (around 2 200 inhabitants) in the Silesian voivodeship, is a group of active people, of various age, both locals and people who moved in to Czernica from bigger cities.

The history of the association begun in 2011 by founding an informal group researching genealogy of the local noble family von Roth – Hugo von Roth baron especially, who used to own the Czernica village. Since these activities were met with interest by the local community, the group decided to found an association (2012).

The organisation is active in the field of local heritage, local culture, traditions and identity. Its research relates strongly on cooperation with the local senior citizens – as the bearers of the traditions and memories. The project presented is one of such initiatives.

The main immaterial results of the below presented – and other projects realised by the Spichlerz team – is strengthening local bonds, making local citizens more aware of the history of the place they live in, appreciating senior citizens and their experiences for strengthening local identity.


1 Background of the project

 The “Intricate fate of the First World War heroes – for Poland they fought that the peaceful time will come” was a local project realised in 2014 by the Spichlerz Local Activities Association from Czernica in the Silesian voivodeship together with several local partners: The Culture Centre in Czernica, The Primary School in Czernica and the URWIS Association.

The project was realised in the frames of the „Act Locally 2014” Programme, co-financed by the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland, the Polish – American Freedom Foundation and the „Ramża” Local Fund.

The persons directly involved in the project were kids, the youth, working adults, pensioners and retired persons (around 300 persons in total) living in the villages representation of Czernica and Łuków Śląski as well as from two villages of the Gaszowice Commune (South of Poland, Silesian Voivodeship).

2 How this delivers on the goals described as ‘bridging social capital’

  • Because of inter-generational character – joining persons representing various age groups.
  • Because the project brought back to life and preserved the memory of the soldiers from Czernica and Łuków Śląski, who fought on the First World War fronts, which was the experience of all the inhabitants of Europe and which influenced the fate even of the smallest towns in European countries.
  • Because social activation of the local citizens and activation of their memories about the local people from the past and their experiences seems to be the best way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the First World War outbreak.
  • Because introducing into and familiarising the young generation of the local citizens with the world of local history and values is building the local community (works for local community bonding).
  • Because the project gave grounds for long-lasting cooperation, among others, at preparing the celebration of the 700th anniversary of the Czernica village (in 2017), where the former involved groups – and new ones – cooperated well, not only developing long-lasting bonds, but also setting up the Spichlerz Association in the area of the village and the area of activity as well as in local citizens awareness.
  • Because the initiative launched cooperation between various local groups of various age and interests – clearly showing benefits for all involved.


3 Current situation

In 2017 the Spichlerz Association continued activities in the field of restoring local memory and Iocal identity building/strengthening among the Czernica and Łuków Śląski inhabitants. Spichlerz Association was also one of the first civil society organisations in Poland that was entrusted in running the local Culture House in Czernica – The Zameczek (“Castle”) Culture Center.

Both groups of over 30 regular young volunteers and several seniors groups have gathered through these years around the Association and the Culture House. Recently the volunteers were gathering the memories „from the past” and other materials (old pictures, letters etc.) to publish the local citizens „Memories”.

There were two books published, to preserve the memory of the local events, places and people living in the years 1939 – 1945. The publications were co-financed by the Citizens Initiatives Fund for the years 2014 – 2020.


4 Potential

 The project is an example / good practice of building inter-generational cooperation of the inhabitants of small villages. It shows how important it is to describe historical events also from the specific, average men personal perspective.

5 How this relates specifically to the intergenerational theme 

  • Strengthening local identity of at least 300 local citizens through the common workshops and meetings of the young with the oldest citizens;
  • Involving 15 kids in activities around the First World War memories;
  • Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the First World War outbreak;
  • Gathering and preserving numerous pictures, maps, letters and other documents, that witnessed the history and the people who had lived in the Czernica and Łuków Śląski area.


Case study 4: Theatre joins generations

By Agnieszka Dadak,


© The Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre

Since its founding, in 1999, the Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre runs activities activating persons with disabilities and those endangered with social exclusion and discrimination, applying theatre-based work methods. The Association developed some own methodologies of working with those groups, which are also shared internationally. At the same time, the Grodzki Theatre team constantly searches for new solutions and inspirations. The „Theatre joins generations” project is one of such initiatives.

Main material results of the project were:

  • Adopting, on Polish ground, the Italian method of activating theatre, developed by the Centro Studi Opera Don Calabria from Verona, including issuing publication in Polish;
  • Training the staff working with groups endangered with social exclusion and discrimination;
  • Developing three co-creative theatre groups, where various participants worked and gave performances together;
  • Developing a local network of collaborators in the field of social support and arts.
  • Immaterial results of the initiative – changes of skills and attitudes of the participating persons – are described below.


1 Background of the project

 The “Theatre joins generations” project: Main aim of the project was to strengthen the activities of an amateur theatre joining inter-generational groups, including disseminating innovative practices and creative experiences in the field of theatre education of persons from disadvantaged groups.

The project was realised in 2014 by the The Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre from Bielsko-Biała (South of Poland, Silesian Voivodeship). It was inspired by innovative and creative activities in the field of theatre education, especially among the groups endangered with social exclusion and inter-generational groups. An important part of the initiative was to adapt and test Italian method: an activating theatre, developed by the Centro Studi Opera Don Calabria from Verona. The Centro is one of the international partners of the Grodzki Theatre. The project was co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The project participants were both persons from disadvantaged groups (persons  with disabilities, seniors), as well as persons active in the field of education and cultural animation therapy  working with disadvantaged groups (instructors), in the age of 17 to 80 years old.


© The Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre


2 How this delivers on the goals described as ‘bridging social capital’ 

  • Because there is a need of developing new ways of working with, and approaching people with different potentials, integration of disabled and able-bodied people, younger and older, in order to create good conditions for joint creative activity.
  • Because existence and smooth functioning of such deeply internally diverse groups is a rare phenomenon in amateur theater (as the project implementers wrote in their evaluation report: A special example of such as internally diverse theatre groups is the Junior Group of the Grodzki Theatre, where both hearing and deaf, with intellectual disability, from diverse age groups (30 – 80 years old) persons are participating and creating. Usually such artistic teams gather, for example, only deaf persons or only persons with mental disabilities.
  • Because creation of performances based on visual theater, and especially the use of puppet art, allows amateur actors to hide behind an object and thus overcome their own barriers.
  • Because the theatre-workshops activities allow people from disadvantaged backgrounds participate in culture actively, developing their creativity and social skills, overcome barriers and patterns in action and thinking. What is more, this form of stage expression is very attractive for the audience, evoking vivid reactions and building a special connection/relation between the stage and the audience.
  • Because the theatre work was based also on using the achievements and experiences of the participants themselves in their workshop work (for example, their poetic work) and referring to the world of their experiences and everyday problems. This approach enables co-creation of the performances by the group members. The stage becomes a place of personal expression for them, a place of dialogue with the others, and at the same time – a way to rebuild a sense of self-esteem and faith in their abilities.
  • Because common work of people of age 17 – 80 in their professional field (instructors, animators) enables exchange of experiences between different generations of professionals.
  • Because it made it possible for the educators and animators to learn new methods of work and to develop their skills / workshop – to be applied in their future work with disadvantaged groups.

© The Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre


3 Current situation

The Bielsko Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre and its theater-based working methods, have a great potential for development. Since its founding, in 1999, the Association runs activities activating persons with disabilities and those endangered with social exclusion and discrimination, applying theatre-based work methods. Also runs educational activities for culture animators and trainers (instructors), teachers, therapists, social workers. They cooperate with numerous international partners.

4 Potential 

An important element of the “Theatre joins generations” project, in order to strengthen local cultural animation activities, was developing a local network of collaborators. There were: The Municipal Center of Self-help “Podkowa”, The Sub-Regional Center for Psychiatric Treatment “Olszówka”, The Polish Association of the Deaf, The Garrison Club “Soldier’s House”, The Puppet Theater Banialuka in Bielsko-Biała and The Expedition Metropolis from Berlin involved in the project realisation.

Cooperation with the partners increased the projects impact. Among others an important impact was promotion of the amateur theatre in the frames of prestigious, international Festival of Puppetry Art in Bielsko-Biała and the international theater festival in Berlin (one of the participating in the project  theatre groups was performing there).

How this relates specifically to the inter-generational theme

The benefits noted by the participants included:

  • Increased self-esteem and self-acceptance, as well as increased self-confidence and assertiveness of the inter-generational groups members;
  • Increased empathy, communication skills and cooperation in inter-generational groups;
  • Improved conflict resolution skills, also between generations;
  • Improved ability to cope with problems, ability to make decisions;
  • Increased creativity.

Quoting some of the opinions of the participants, expressed during the project evaluation:

  • The workshops were interesting, atypical, well suited to the participants needs and worth recommending to others.
  • More such projects are needed since ”it is a therapy for us.”

What have we achieved?

  • ”Integration of the whole group”;
  • ”Great engagement of all the participants”;
  • ”Creating a performance together.”

What was the most precious for the participants in this experience/ what was the (biggest) success?

  • ”Increased openness”;
  • ”Cooperation in a group”;
  • ”Showing own skills”;
  • ”Breaking own barriers”;
  • ”Helping others”;
  • ”Ability to play the performance involving so many cooperating persons”;


  • ”Interesting, exceptional, activating. Very good workshops”.
  • ”There should be more activities like that. They enrich the work of a man with another human being. They give motivation to act.”
  • “Fantastic group, the leaders, very inspirational ideas for the future”.
  • “I got very inspired. I will be able to enrich my professional work”.




Case study 5: KNOT

Intergenerational connection through contemporary dance between parents and children


© Dance Society Imani


1 Background of the project

Dance Society Imani (Plesno društvo Imani) was established in 2007 and has more than 200 members, some as young as 4 years old. Their dance teachers (professional dancers and choreographers) are working with children in various dance techniques from hip hop and contemporary dance to ballet and historical dances. In 2013 the dance society was granted the status of a non-governmental organization acting in the public interest by the Ministry of Culture.

In 2017 contemporary dance teacher Rosana Horvat developed a dance program that connects children with their parents in a co-creation program entitled KNOT – Intergenerational connection through contemporary dance.

Rosana Horvat is a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer. In 1999 she completed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Academy in New York. She took part in numerous professional dance performances in New York, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia. She keeps developing her dance and teaching skills in New York, Vienna and Slovenia. She received pedagogical and andragogic knowledge at the Faculty of Education in Ljubljana.

She also completed a two-year teacher training called STIK, a professional seminar for teachers of contemporary dance and creative movement, organized by the Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities (JSKD).

For the past fifteen years she has been teaching dancers of different ages and is currently employed as a dance teacher at the Krško Music School’s Department for Contemporary Dance. She also gives lectures in modern dance technique at the Academy for Dance in Ljubljana and is the founder of Dance Society Imani.

© Dance Society Imani


2 Who is involved and what they have done

From January to October 2017 a group of children was paired with one of their parents in a joint dance class. After the initial warm-up and motoric and strength exercises the participants started to learn how to:

  • move through space (building space awareness),
  • make dance contact,
  • use dance lifts,
  • guide partners and how to react to impulse,
  • create a short choreography out of dance elements they have learned.

Later in the process each child-parent pair was instructed to make a short dance piece that was incorporated in the group routine.

The final performance was selected for Pika miga – Mini festival of children dance groups. All selected dance pieces passed two levels of selection, regional dance competitions and the national level. Besides the presentation of the groups and the selection, the main aim of regional and national competitions is to foster talks between group mentors and the selectors after the event. The mentors are given an analysis of their work and advice how to continue with it. Participation in dance competitions allows the groups and mentors to present and show their potential to develop dance activities.

Due to the innovative approach the performance was also presented at the ‘I WALK, I DANCE, I AM’ 3rd International Dance Pedagogy Conference (2017, Slovenia). The conference aims at fostering links between the art of dance and education, thus linking those active in the area of general education with those who enrich a child’s free time with dance.

© Dance Society Imani


3 How this delivers on the goals described as ‘bridging social capital’

A dance class in a small town (there are around 7000 people living in Brežice) that brings parents and children together in a creative process has all the potential for bridging social capital.

It fosters bonds within a pair (a child and a parent), but also between all the parents and all the children in the group. Dance is a natural method of learning and a basic form of expression. It bolsters self-confidence, self-respect and a strong sense of identity. Dance encourages meetings, interaction and cooperation. Participants learn to work in a group and understand themselves in relation to others through a process of cooperation.


4 How this relates specifically to the inter-generational theme 

Traditionally, when speaking of inter-generational theme we would not picture a project that brings together children and their parents.

Technically, we would all agree that we are dealing with two different generations. Only by having in mind the population aging trends and changes in households and family structures within the EU we can truly acknowledge the meaning of co-creative activity for children and their parents.

Dance class where they have to create their own movements and co-create with other pairs to make a final performance demands mutual trust between all the participants, which is essentially the foundation for all bridging ties.

Case study 6: Dance moments (Croquis workshop) at Summer Dance School


1 Background of the project

One of the key fields covered by the Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities is development and implementation of educational programs for amateur culture.

The Summer Dance School is designed for young dancers so they can get in touch with different techniques and dance styles, work with international professional dance teachers and meet with other dancers from Slovenia and elsewhere.

The fine arts department has a long-standing tradition of organizing various art workshops for amateur artists. On a yearly basis, more than 250 participants are involved in JSKD’s nationwide art workshops.

Ajda Tomazin came up with the idea for the Dance Moments workshop. The idea was to create a mixture of two existing JSKD’s art learning programs that aim at bringing two different age groups with different art interests together to co-create.

Ajda Tomazin finished Secondary School of Contemporary dance in Ljubljana (2005), graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana (2011) at the Department for Design, and studied for one year at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana (2009/2010) at the department for Film and TV. She finished her master’s degree in Choreography and Performance at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies Giessen, Germany. Since 2005 she has been working as an artist, performer, choreographer and teacher of contemporary dance.

2 Who is involved and what they have done

The Summer Dance School is an intensive five-day workshop for various contemporary dance techniques and styles organized by the Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities (JSKD). Workshops are open to all age groups, to amateurs, professionals or anyone in between. Around 100 participants attend the workshops each year.

The majority of participants are younger than 20 years, which correlates to the period were young dancers choose between professional dance careers or consider other vocational options. There are only a few amateur contemporary dance groups for adults in Slovenia. On the other hand, trends show that the majority of participants in fine arts workshops are middle-aged or elderly.

Dance Moments, Summer Dance School 2018, photo: Nuša Ofentavšek 

Participants from two different creative activities and two different age groups co-created in the Dance Moments workshop at the Summer Dance School 2018 in Ljubljana.

The participants in the Croquis workshop attended the classes of the Summer Dance School to capture the dance moments. The meeting was much more than just a basic model and artists’ meeting. The participants got to know the specifics of other activities. The process was beneficial for both groups. The dancers got new insights into direct translation of movement and body shapes to the drawings. On the other hand, the participants of the Croquis workshop had a chance to work with dancers who have stronger body awareness and can recreate movement flows. The project resulted in a public performance and an exhibition.

Dance Moments, Summer Dance School 2018, photo: Nuša Ofentavšek


3 How this delivers on the goals described as ‘bridging social capital’

The Summer Dance School by itself has a lot of bridging social capital potential. Dancers from all over the country come to dance classes in the summer (inter-regional). Bringing people with different art interests together to co-create opens a lot of dimensions relevant for social bridging. People who usually would not cooperate have a unique learning opportunity to get know different art activities but also people who are creating in different art fields.

4 How this relates specifically to the inter-generational theme 

More than two different generations were brought together in shared learning activities. It was a beneficial exchange between generations and interest groups.