The evolution of Scandinavian folk art education within the contemporary context.

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The evolution of Scandinavian folk art education within the contemporary context.

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Folk education in Scandinavia evolved through the influences of political, social, and cultural change in 18th and 19th century Denmark. Danish high society supported the academic rigor of the German education system and expressed little interest in sustaining the rural folk and its culture. N.F.S. Grundtvig, scholar, minister, and libertarian, who observed this discrepancy between the city elite and the rural class, developed the folkehøgskole (folk school) construct that would provide an equitable education and retain the essence of traditional Danish culture. This movement, a melding of education and ethnographic philosophies, inspired the development of folk schools throughout Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and America. Notable modernist and postmodernist educators were inspired by this progressive and student-centered methodology over that of the strictly pedagogic. Museum educators now refer to adult learning technology in developing their events and activities. The Vesterheim Museum, the case in point for this study, offers traditional folk art education programs which include building skills and knowledge in traditional Norwegian arts and crafts. On an annual basis, the Vesterheim sponsors an exhibition and recognition event to recognize the efforts of these artisans. The artistic expression that emanates from the artifacts--weaving, knifemaking, woodworking, and rosemaling--is influenced by Norway's nationalistic period from the mid 17th to the early 19th century. The purpose of this study is to facilitate understanding, through education and recognition efforts, ways in which traditional folk art expression might evolve.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. December 2010. Major: Work, Community, and Family Education. Advisor: Dr. Shari L. Peterson. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 192 pages, appendices A-E.

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Litsheim, Mary Etta. (2010). The evolution of Scandinavian folk art education within the contemporary context.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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