Minister of Culture Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen visited Emilie Kindergarten in Hjørring on Monday 19 September.

Minister of Culture Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen got her hands on art when she visited Emilie Kindergarten in Hjørring and played with art together with children, teachers and an artist.

It was probably a slightly different working day for Minister of Culture Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen when she visited Emilie Kindergarten in Hjørring Municipality on Monday 19 September. Here she played with soap scum and colours together with children, educators and the artist Lina Franke, who has been a regular guest at the kindergarten for several months and has played with art together with children and educators as part of the LegeKunst project.

The visit not only provided the Minister of Culture with a colourful and imaginative break from a busy schedule, but also gave her a concrete experience of what happens when an artist works with educators and children to explore how art, culture and a curious approach can promote play and education in day care.

"All children should encounter art and culture. I see many projects that come with ready-made concepts that are decided from above. We have to rely on basic pedagogy. This is the first time that I have seen cooperation with teacher training courses so central to a project, and that has been lacking. It's also good to hear that it doesn't have to be the universities that are involved when research is being done," says Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

LegeKunst is currently Denmark's largest children's culture project in terms of dissemination, with the participation of 23 municipalities throughout the country and thus affecting a total of 20,000 children, 2,000 educators, 8,000 teacher trainees, approximately 100 artists and cultural institution mediators and has associated seven research projects. Among other things, all municipalities in Region Nordjylland participate in LegeKunst.

From left: Camilla Høg, project manager at LegeKunst, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, Minister of Culture (S) and Ulla Voss Gjesing, centre manager at Kulturprinsen in Viborg.

Head of centre: art and culture in day care must be part of the municipal strategy

For both the Emilie Kindergarten and the LegeKunst project, it has been important to show the Minister of Culture in concrete terms what it does for children, educators and artists when they come together in artistic activities and communities. Ulla Voss Gjesing, head of Kulturprinsen, the centre behind LegeKunst, explains

"It is clear to see that the Minister of Culture's heart beats for both the arts and culture and for education, and it was wonderful to experience her interest, commitment and joy in playing with the children. I hope and believe that she left with the experience that LegeKunst can provide sensory experiences and performance-free spaces that promote play and education, not only for the children, but for all those who come into contact with art and culture. The Minister of Culture has also seen for himself that LegeKunst can create a flow between practice, education, research and municipalities."

Precisely how art and culture can be anchored more firmly in everyday life, not only in the individual day-care centre, but also as part of a strategy both in the municipalities and in teacher training, is one of the central themes of LegeKunst. According to Ulla Voss Gjesing, a new paradigm is needed if art and culture are really to be effective, one in which art and culture are not just entertainment but a practical discipline, and in which art and culture once again become part of a strategy, both municipal and national, with anchoring, dissemination and structure. This is why the teacher training institutions in each region are also part of the steering group, in order to ensure close cooperation.

From left: Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, Minister of Culture (S), Kamini Nielsen, head of Emilie Kindergarten and Gitte Adamsen, coordinator of LegeKunst in Hjørring Municipality.

PlayArt creates new relationships and new skills

In Emilie Kindergarten, being part of LegeKunst has been a bit of an eye-opener. Not only because art and culture have become a larger and more natural part of everyday life in the institution, but also because the project's process-oriented and interdisciplinary approach gives the educators the opportunity to become qualified in working with the artist, says Kamini Nielsen, head of Børnehaven Emilie.

"What is new here is that it has started from the bottom up with a desire to participate on the part of the educators and the nursery management. I see that educators are inspired to start processes. There are new opportunities for the children to see each other in a new perspective and develop new relationships. The educators also become wiser about the children because they see them in a new perspective. Yes, we all learn together with the children."

For Lina Franke Hedegaard, an actress and arts and culture mediator, being associated as an artist in the Emilie Kindergarten for several months has been a great personal as well as professional pleasure. She has been involved in 'ready-made concepts' as an artist and sees a clear difference with LegeKunst, rather than just coming and delivering an experience for the children. She sees LegeKunst more as a method than a concept. It's all about collaboration, and that makes it much more freeing, is Lina Franke's experience.

"LegeKunst is particularly characterised by the equal cooperation between all parties and by the focus on being in the process and being in the moment. It has strengthened me as an artist to be part of the interdisciplinary. As an artist, you have to come in with respect for the house, for the teachers and for the daily routine. At the same time, it is fantastic to experience how LegeKunst helps to make the educators more free."

Lina Franke Hedegaard, actor, art and culture mediator and play artist in among others the Emilie kindergarten in Hjørring.