Swedish wonders

6 October 2008 · 0 comments

in General Commentary, International

I have arrived in Sweden to find autumn. Rain, wind and flurries of leaves blowing off trees in a multitude of colours. It gets dark an hour sooner than in Scotland and I’m relieved I bought a warm jacket which protects me from the elements.

I am on the second part of my Winston Churchill Fellowship and about to embark on a three week trip to look at outdoor technologies here and in the Czech Republic. Under a curriculum for excellence, technologies cover food, textiles, craft, design, graphics, ICT and engineering.

My personal theory is that the Powers That Be in Scottish education didn’t want too many curriculum areas and so shoved all the “spare” subjects into this category. I don’t care. It makes for interesting conversations with educators across the world. For example, in North America, science and technology are considered to be Siamese twins, so Scotland throwing in food and dropping science does raise eyebrows.

So what do I hope to find? I want to learn more about the Swedish cultural philosophy towards the outdoors. I wish to learn about the possibilities of integrating frilutsliv (very roughly translated as being in the outdoors) with slojd which is the Swedish approach to craft and its heritage.

I am looking forward to many discussions with people of all ages and experiences.

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