Valuing the past, sustaining the future

– education, knowledge and identity across three generations in coastal communities

Barn som kutter torsketunger på en tråler

Photo: Håvard Fossum from the film "Tongue Cutters".

Education 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. High drop-out rates indicate that the relevance of education and schooling for future working life and the social meaning of education - as perceived by some groups of children and youth - are at risk. 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 the 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.

This project addresses education, knowledge and identity formation among girls and boys 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. The methodology is a comparative qualitative design across three generations, supplemented with applied research, providing a basis of new empirical knowledge to contribute to evidence informed policy and action. The ambiguous aims and scopes call for an interdisciplinary approach, mobilising a wide range of national and international experts.

Project organisation

Project Leader: Prof. Anne Trine Kjørholt, NOSEB 

Management team/Core research team:

The members of MT also act as a core research team. They participate in WP1,3,4,5, being 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. Each WP will be led by one of the collaborative international partners. Further specification of responsibilities will be done in the organisation and development of each WP.

Advisory Board of interdisciplinary international experts: Prof. Allison James (Childhood Studies), University of Sheffield. Prof. David Buckingham (Media Studies), University of London. Prof. Ellen Schrumpf (Childhood history), University College of Southeast Norway. Prof. An-Magritt Jensen (Demography), NTNU. Annual meeting with MT to act as a critical friend and experts in all WPs.

Research team at NTNU: Prof. Anne Trine Kjørholt, PhD Candidate Inger Pedersen, NOSEB/Department of Education and Lifelong Learning (IPL), Assoc. Prof. Nina Volckmar, IPL (WP2), 2 Phd students enrolled at NOSEBs PhD programme with supervisors among the MT, PhD Candidate Inger Pedersen working on a case study on Sea sami (WP4,5), and another on Applied research (WP6). Kjørholt and Mette Bunting, University College of Southeast Norway, will be responsible for the remaining data collection in Norway. 2-4 master students will be enrolled in the project in each country.

National consultancy group: Dir. Randi Haugen, NTNU University Museum (WP6). Researchers on coastal communities: Prof. Siri Gerrard, Dep of Sociology, Political Science and Community Planning, The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) (WP2-5). Assoc. Prof. Karoline Daugstad, Dep of Geography, NTNU (WP2,3). Prof. Jennifer Bailey, Dep of Sociology, NTNU (WP2,3). Key contacts to educational and business sector in coastal communities: NTNU Brohode Frøya, Blue Competence Centre, Coast Competence Centre of Trøndelag (WP2-6) (see letters of intent). We will also assemble national experts on indigenous and migrants related to education and working life.

- Blue Competence Centre 
- Coast Competence Centre of Trøndelag
- NTNU University Museum
- National Museum Australia
- Byåsen Upper Secondary School

Collaborative partners: Dir. Randi Haugen, Museum of Science, NTNU (WP6). Experts on drop-out research: Assoc. Prof. Geir Moshuus and Mette Bunting, University College of Southeast Norway: ‘Inactive youth, a large challenge in contemporary societies’ (funded by Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), 2014-2018). Joint workshop will be arranged to share and discuss data from this and our project, with the aim of synergetic effect and joint publications. The project will also collaborate with a recently established National network of drop-out researchers (NTNU, University College of Southeast Norway, University of Agder and The Arctic University of Norway (UiT)).

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Blog entry

Havlandet Norge (Norwegian only)

Anne Trine Kjørholt, professor of child research