European Level Employability for ‘Cultural Learning’ Practitioners

Hope for Children” UNCRC Policy Center, an International Humanitarian and Independent Institution, has teamed-up with 12 other European Organizations to establish the European Cultural Learning Network (ECLN), a project funded by EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme, over the period to September 2015. ECLN is exploring new ways to identify, support, and connect Cultural Learning Practitioners and Organizations across Europe. Artists and creative people who enable others to learn by engaging them in artistic practice are the focus of this project that aims at increasing the profile and connectedness of the cultural learning sector, and supporting its the vocational education and training needs.

ECLN partners have conducted research into each country’s specificities regarding the contexts in which cultural learning occurs. An analysis of the Cypriot results reveals, for instances, that artists/freelancers and cultural Organizations who took part in the research have identified the top skills and Core-Competencies used to deliver Cultural Learning Support, the most relevant being: Creative Process; Artistic Techniques; Communication; Teamwork; and Cultural Context. These results are in line with data collected in the majority of the network members from which, Coaching; Training; Mentoring; and Self-awareness, also emerge as significant. The data shows that participants in Cyprus were highly qualified professionals (a significant number having studied abroad and having obtained degrees at Masters Level) coming from a variety of artistic and cultural backgrounds (visual arts, music, theatre, photography, performance art, art therapy); younger participants have no affiliation to professional bodies or any type of professional accreditation, while more experienced individuals reveal an interest in such liaisons. Cultural learning in Cyprus, from the participants’ point of view, needs to be more inclusive and address broader audiences, and should be developed outside formal education settings. The growth of the sector is small and slow, blocked by lack of funds, but it should be nurtured particularly in a time of crisis and social challenges. Regarding the importance of ECLN, participants’ highlight its role in Recognizing their work at European level; in delivering further quality Training; and in Connecting artists/freelancers and cultural Organizations across Europe.

The next steps will involve: Mapping & identifying new Organizations and stakeholders in the sector; Developing appropriate professional training and development approaches to respond to identified VET needs; Testing these approaches for dissemination across the sector; Exploring new professional certification and qualification frameworks; Promoting, networking and communicating across the sector through a new European Cultural Learning Observatory (online multi-media platform); Testing the demand for, and the feasibility of, establishing a new European professional association – the European Association for Cultural Learning (EACL).

Updated information can be found at ECLN’s website: http://ecln-network.com/ and all those interested in Cultural Learning developments across Europe are invited to join the network by registering, and to follow updates on twitter @ecln_network or Facebook.