Valuing the past, sustaining the future

Valuing the past, sustaining the future


Education, knowledge and identity across three generations in coastal communities

Two kids cutting cod tongues on a trawlerEducation is seen as a key to ensure sustainable economies worldwide, as a ticket for individuals to succeed in the labor market, and a tool to promote life quality. This project addresses education, knowledge and identity formation among children across three generations (as perceived by youth, parents and grandparents) of diverse ethnic backgrounds in coastal communities in five countries (Norway, Australia, Cyprus, The Faroe Islands and Ireland). It involves basic research with the expected impact of providing a deeper knowledge base about the shifting and dynamic interplay between education (non-formal/formal), society and working life, bridging past-present-future. 

High drop-out rates may indicate that some children and youth see formal education and schooling as irrelevant for future working life. During the last decades schools have gradually become more theoretical and adapted to the national job market at the expense of local knowledge transferred within communities. One consequence of disconnecting local knowledge from formal education is that students may fail to see the relevance of what they are learning. The point of departure for this project is that education is contextual and dynamic, conceptualized in a broad sense, including informal learning, life skills and local knowledge derived through everyday social practices. Furthermore, learning processes are intimately connected to social relations, identity formation and perceptions of social value and belonging.

The aims and scope of this project call for an interdisciplinary approach, mobilising a wide range of national and international experts. The project utilizes a comparative qualitative methodology, conducting interviews and doing fieldwork across three generations, supplemented with applied research, providing a basis of new empirical knowledge to contribute to evidence informed policy and action

Valuing the past, sustaining the future is a research project funded by the Research Council of Norway (2016-2020), 1.2 million Euro. 

Valuing the past, sustaining the future is part of the research project Norway as a sea nation. Coastal communities, generations, sustainability, a part of the NTNU Oceans, one of four strategic research areas 2014-2023. 

Project organisation

Project organisation

Project Leader: Professor Anne Trine Kjørholt, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Management team/Core research team

The members of the management team also act as a core research team. They are responsible for joint development of the project according to the aims and planned activities, besides being Principal Investigators for case studies in their respective countries.

Research team

PhD Candidates

Advisory Board of interdisciplinary international experts

Annual meeting with MT to act as a critical friend and expert in all WPs.

National consultancy group

Head of Section: Randi Haugen, NTNU University Museum. Researchers on coastal communities: Professor and Vice-Dean Karoline Daugstad, Department of Geography, NTNU. Key contacts to educational and business sector in coastal communities: NTNU Bridgehead AquacultureBlått kompetansesenter, CEO Nils Jørgen Karlsen and Heidi Glørstad Nielsen at Trøndersk kystkompetanse og Hilde Ervik at Byåsen Upper Secondary School.

Collaborative partners

NTNU University Museum, Head of Section Randi Wenche Haugen. Experts on drop-out research: Associate Professor Geir Moshuus and Professor Mette Bunting, University College of South-Easter Norway.

NTNU Oceans

Havlandet Project Description

Blog entry

Blog entry

Havlandet Norge (in Norwegian)

Anne Trine Kjørholt, professor of child research

Mini calevent portlet


In media