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Denmark

Denmark

8. Creativity and Culture

8.5 Developing cultural and creative competences

On this page
  1. Acquiring cultural and creative competences through education and training
  2. Specialised training for professionals in the education, culture and youth fields
  3. Providing quality access to creative environments

Acquiring cultural and creative competences through education and training

This section describes how young people can develop their talents and creative skills through education and training in Denmark.

Cultural subjects in primary and lower secondary education (folkeskole) in Denmark

Students must choose at least one elective (valgfag). Students must always be offered 120 hours of electives corresponding to the recommended number of hours for two electives. The number of electives to choose from is based on local decisions.

In the 7th-8th grade, students must choose one of four 2-year practical/musical electives, namely crafts and design, visual arts, music and food science.

The elective course ends with an examination in the 8th grade. The content of the four practical/musical electives can be seen here:

Crafts and design (Håndværk og design – valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

Visual art (Billedkunst – valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

Music (Musik – valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

Food knowledge (Madkundskab – valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

In addition, students must have an elective in the 9th grade, and students can choose to have two electives in the 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

The teaching in the second elective subject will, however, be in addition to the normal teaching time. Here, students can choose between centrally developed electives (the elective series) and electives that the municipality has developed itself. As a rule, electives are offered for 1 year at a time. However, this does not apply to German and French as the third foreign language offered as 3-year electives.

See examples of electives from the elective series in the primary and lower secondary school:

Common immigrant languages (Almindelige indvandrersprog - valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

Workplace knowledge (Arbejdskendskab - valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

Drama (Drama - valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

Film knowledge (Filmkundskab - valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

Spanish (Spansk - valgfag | emu danmarks læringsportal)

Cultural subjects in upper secondary education programmes in Denmark

In the general upper secondary education, STX, one artistic subject is mandatory at C level. The students can choose from:

  • Visual Art (billedkunst): Central topics (kernestof): practical, analytical, and theoretical study of common, artistic, and aesthetic problems, visual creations, phenomenon and cultures, theories to expound on artistic problems, ideas and strategies behind visual expression, aesthetic and innovative processes.
  • Design and Architecture (design og arkitektur): Central topics (kernestof): product design, communication design and architecture, design parameters, design theory, visualising methods, and research methods.
  • Drama (drama): Central topics (kernestof): basic principles for the development and realisation of a scenic idea, basic principles for reception of and realisation through art, basic concepts, techniques and methods related to drama, at least two different theatre traditions.
  • Media (mediefag): Central topics (kernestof): filmic and scriptwriting instruments, basic features in facts and fiction, central genre, media and media platforms, interplay between film, tv and new media, production planning, recording techniques and principles, editing techniques and principles, distribution channels and tools.
  • Music (musik): Central topics (kernestof): music knowledge (musikkundskab) such as music theory and ear training, music execution (musikudøvelse).

  In the 2-year general upper secondary education, HF, students must choose between sports or on artistic subject at C level. Students can choose from:

  • Visual Art (billedfag). The central topics are the same as in STX.
  • Dance (dans): Central topics (kernefag): dance in practice: improvisation, choreography, basic concepts in dance theory and dance analysis, social and scenic forms of dance in different cultural contexts.
  • Design and Architecture (design og arkitektur): The central topics are the same as in STX Drama.
  • Media (Mediefag): The central topics are the same as in STX.
  • Music (musik): The central topics are the same as in STX.
  •  
Higher education programmes within the fine arts in Denmark

Under the regulation of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, the following education institutions offer higher educations within the fine arts.

Education institutions under the Ministry of Culture:

  • The Royal Danish Academy of Music
  • The Rhythmic Music Conservatory
  • The Royal Danish Academy of Music
  • The Danish National Academy of Music
  • The National Film School of Denmark
  • The Danish National School of Performing Arts
  • The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts: Schools of Visual Arts

Furthermore, the Ministry of Culture financially supports:

  • The Jutland Art Academy
  • The Funen Art Academy
  • The Writer School (Forfatterskolen)

 

Extra-curricular activities for young people in Denmark within the field of creativity and culture

Young people in Denmark can not only develop their cultural and creative skills through formal learning but also through extra-curricular activities. Some extra-curricular activities are integrated into ordinary teaching as project courses while others are extra-curricular activities outside normal school hours. 

 

Station Next (Station Next) is a film school for lower secondary education classes from all over Denmark. It aims at giving the students hands-on experience and responsibility for their own productions by using professional filmmakers as teachers/coaches and working in a realistic film environment – the students work in crews as they would on a professional production.

Orchestra Master (Orkestermester) is a programme that establishes school orchestras in primary and lower secondary schools. The objective of the programme is to develop and strengthen children’s musical and instrumental skills and competences.

In the House Artist (Huskunstnerordningen). The programme strengthens the dissemination of professional art to children and young people in the 0–19-year age group. In the programme, a professional artist and an institution enter into a partnership. During the partnership, children and young people must be involved in and have active experience with an artistic process. The programme develops children and young people’s understanding of the artistic process and strengthens their curiosity. A course with a professional artist could involve a workshop, it could involve one or several art forms, the duration could be a single-day course or a whole year.

Live Music in Schools (Levende musik i skolen, LMS). LMS offers high-quality live music to schools all over Denmark, and in that way provides pupils with a direct and deeper understanding of the professional music scene.

LMS is a non-profit organisation established in 1992 and is funded by the Danish Arts Foundation. It serves as a national competence centre, and besides school concerts it is the Danish development agency and creative lab in the field of professional music for children and music with children. It is a leading force in implementing what Unesco calls Arts Education: letting the world of art meet the world of education in a way that allows the pupils to experience, enjoy, reflect, express, and learn. The common goal is that children, as well as schools and art itself, benefit from the encounter.

Furthermore, LMS functions as an information pool for general and specific information on school concerts and related topics. As such, LMS is often consulted by schools, musicians, cultural workers, municipalities, etc. In addition to this, LMS arranges an annual festival for school concerts (for more, see below) along with a range of ad hoc seminars, conferences, etc.

Power to Children (Strøm til børn) is a learning initiative that disseminates methods for using technology as a musical mode of expression. Children and young people participate actively in the teaching and thereby acquire competences to make music on electronic instruments.

State-approved museums and state museums are obliged to offer free entrance to young people below 18 years of age and for education institutions in general. Furthermore, museums often provide teaching courses.

Danish continuation schools (efterskole) are examples of private, non-formal learning institutions for young people between 14 and 18 years of age. Each continuation school is a self-governing independent institution with substantial freedom in terms of choice of subjects, teaching methods and educational approach. Most continuation schools offer the same subjects and final examination as the public lower secondary education, but many schools focus also on special subjects, for instance music or theatre.

Music Foundation Course (Musikalsk Grundkursus, MGK) is a three-year course associated with a music school. MGK is funded by the state and targets young people in the 14–25-year age group. The course is a non-qualifying education and training programme.

The objectives of the course are:

  • To educate music practitioners to stimulate local music life.
  • To prepare young people for the admission to higher education within music.

There are eight MGK centres in Denmark. MGK centres must be approved by the Danish Arts Foundation. All MGK centres have a classical line and a rhythmic line of education.

Folk high schools offer different types of education for adult students in the form of both short and long courses. At the folk high schools – normally referred to as high schools – adult students can follow different types of courses. The individual high school chooses its own basic values and establishes these in their articles of association. The freedom of basic values is reflected in the curricula offered by the schools, where some schools are specialised in subjects or areas within arts, sports, Christianity, music, etc. It is common for all Danish high schools that the offered courses must include some themes of a general nature. In addition, the high schools must function in accordance with the three cornerstones described in the Act on Folk High Schools, which are education for life, popular information, and democratic formation.

Moreover, state-approved museums and state museums are obliged to offer free entrance for education institutions, and many museums have developed teaching materials.

Municipal music schools offer music lessons to children and young people below 25 years. The objective of the music schools is to develop and strengthen the student’s musical skills and knowledge/proficiencies. The music school meets the objective by providing the student instrumental/vocal, creating, and musical skills as a requisite for musical performance, either individually or together with other young people.

With the reform of primary and lower secondary education in 2014, municipal primary and lower secondary education institutions are obliged to enter into partnerships with the municipal music schools. The cooperation can involve the planning of educations and music schools’ participation in the teaching in the primary and lower secondary education.

Municipal music schools often support the development of talent via local or cross-municipal initiatives, for instance talent teaching or dedicated talent classes. The initiatives are funded by the Ministry of Culture’s four-year music action plans. The Ministry of Culture reimburses up to 25 % of the municipal music schools’ expenses for salary, mileage allowance, and other salary expenses related.

A think tank for music schools established by the Ministry of Culture concludes in a report from 2017 that the municipal music schools reach 4 % of the total target group of 0-24-year-olds, and 7 % of the 6-16-year-olds plus an additional 50,700 children and young people through the Open School Cooperation. For more information about the Open School Cooperation, please see. The number of students has been decreasing since 2001, but the reduction is primarily seen among pre-school students.   

About half of the municipal music schools also offer other cultural activities, such as performing arts, animation, or visual arts. These activities are not reimbursed by the Ministry of Culture.

Municipal youth schools and youth clubs are important arenas for acquiring cultural and creative competences through non-formal learning. The youth schools and youth clubs are a municipal offer for young people up to 18 years of age. The activities in the youth clubs and youth schools are a municipal responsibility and vary locally. Many municipalities prioritise creative and cultural activities in the youth schools and youth clubs, for instance: band, orchestra, painting, ceramics, design, graffiti, photo, theatre, dance, entrepreneurship, and writers‘ workshops.

40 % of the youth school target group, which is young people in the 14-18 year age group, use the offers in the municipal youth schools.

Specialised training for professionals in the education, culture and youth fields

There is no specialised training.

 

Providing quality access to creative environments

This section describes top-level initiatives for widening the access of young people to creative environments where young people feel comfortable in expressing their ideas and have at their disposal the means to develop them in creative activities.

According to the Music Action Plan 2019–2022, the initiative ‘Young Artistic Talents’ has been established. The initiative is funded with DKK 8 million in the 2019–2022 period. The initiative supports the artistic development of young people when they struggle to gain a foothold as a professional artist. The initiative supports the young talents for 2 years.

Furthermore, a scholarship for composers and songwriters has been established in the Music Action Plan 2019–2022. The total amount is 8 million DKK.

For 12 years, the National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst/SMK) has run a creative community for young people called Young People’s Art Laboratories (Unges Laboratorier for Kunst/ULK). Young people in ULK are engaged in distributing and communicating the museum’s art through an activistic and idealistic approach. Every Wednesday between 4pm and 8pm, about 25 young people meet and work with communicative art projects. ULK is free for the young people, but they have to apply for membership.

The ULK Art Labs (Unges laboratorier for kunst, ULK) at the National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst, SMK). For 12 years, the National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst/SMK) has run a creative community for young people called Young People’s Art Laboratories (Unges Laboratorier for Kunst/ULK). Young people in ULK are engaged in distributing and communicating the museum’s art through an activistic and idealistic approach. Every Wednesday between 4pm and 8pm, about 25 young people meet and work with communicative art projects. ULK is free for the young people, but they have to apply for membership.

Think Tank for Youth Culture is a panel of volunteering young people. Its main purpose is to qualify the Agency for Culture and Palaces’ work with youth culture by acting as an advisory board and co-developer of national initiatives within the cultural sector.

Approximately 65 of the Danish municipalities have youth councils and 25 municipalities have youth houses which are often led by the young volunteers themselves.

Many municipalities have local funds supporting young people’s self-organised arts and culture projects. The goal is to support local initiatives and engagement by the youth.