European Commission, Lifelong Learning Programme (Comenius). EACEA-517844. 2012–2014
Creative Connections is a three-year collaborative research project involving six universities and 24 primary and secondary schools that began in January 2012, and which is funded with support from the European Commission under the Comenius program (EACEA-517844).
Creative Connections aims to explore ways of increasing transnational understanding in Europe’s young people and children. In this innovative project six partner countries (England, Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Finland and Catalonia -Spain) will work together to give a new emphasis to the ‘voice of the child’ through art, citizenship and digital media. Creative Connections builds on the previously Comenius-Funded Images and Identity: Improving Citizenship through Digital Art project which evolved new resources for teaching and learning about European Citizenship Identity.
Creative Connections will develop the use of an online art gallery, the Connected Gallery, which includes a multilingual facility that will offer pupils from the European partners an opportunity to communicate through both, visual and text-based multilingual voices. We will be experimenting with the use of online translation software to help pupils communicate ideas to one another in their own languages. The consortium will work with teachers to provide an active inter-country dialogue, specifically between pupils of primary and secondary age, with a focus on enhancing an understanding of related and diverse perspectives of European citizenship (social justice, democracy and cultural differences).
The project will conclude with a series of conferences in each of the six countries. These will be led by the innovative work of teachers, pupils and discussed in the context of the findings of partner researchers with all contributors sharing ideas and information for continuing our goals after the conclusion of the research phase. All materials will then be available on the website along with guidelines for developing further this type of work.
Key words: Visual Arts Education, students’ voices, action research, European projects, citizenship, Social Justice.