Students’ stories

Art, Education & Entrepreneurship

Intensive course, 3.-6.9.2019 in Aalto University, Espoo

“Art, Education and Entrepreneurship intensive course was a fun way to challenge myself and my project team to find the core of the problem and simplify it in a very short time. As a soon-to-graduate art teacher I want to engage with my students and make them feel that they have ownership of what they are creating. I empathised this same ideology in the course by sharing my opining trough multiple discussions and learning tasks.”

Students giving presentation in the class room
Jannicke’s group giving a final presentation of their study project about Steaming concept for educators.
Group of students, teachers and partner in Aalto University Learning Center
Intensive course’s group picture from Learning Center, Aalto University
All photos: Jaeseong Park

Jannicke Tanita Børresen Bech,
Final year Art Education student from Oslo Metropolitan University (Norwegian name of the program: Faglærer I design, kunst og håndverk)

Internship in Listasafn Árnesinga

23.8.-3.9.2015, Hveragerði, Iceland

Listasafn Árnesinga is a contemporary art gallery situated in Hveragerði which is a community of 2400 people. In total LÁ serves an area of 8 communities and their habitants. As Iceland is a country of 323 000 people of which one third of the habitants live in Reykjavík, the population of the area is not huge. Listasafn Árnesinga is run by Inga Jónsdóttir who manages to put up very demanding and interesting contemporary art exhibitions.

This was the setting of the two weeks of EDDA internship I had in August-September 2015. The possibility for the internship was offered because I participated on the course of Art and Human Rights in the Academy of Fine Arts of Iceland, in Reykjavík. I received the post after applying for it. My trip to Iceland started in Reykjavík with a course of 45 Nordic students and continued in a small town, in the middle of Icelandic landscape, 50 km from Reykjavík. The combination was ideal.

During the two weeks my tasks focused on museum pedagogy and on the possibilities of mediating the exhibitions to the schools of the area. I worked with Vilma Leminen, a student from Konstfack, for the first week. Mainly we planned new initiatives for a video and virtual guiding. Virtual guiding is a concept that Vilma came up with and which we further tested during the week.

The second week of internship I worked alone and focused on forming museum pedagogical methods that could be easily adjusted to each current exhibition. This developed into a newsletter with guidances and tasks directed for the school groups visiting the gallery. I also worked on a workshop idea for the coming exhibition of LÁ. During the week I accompanied the museum director for visits to artists workrooms, art collectors home and openings. Working hours were quite freely determined around the museums opening times (at 12-18). Our own motivation got us to work approximately six to eight hours per day for the ten days with planning included.

Our flights to Iceland and the stay in Reykjavík was taken care by Edda Norden grant. The costs of living, eating and moving around the country we funded ourselves. The housing in Hveragerði was taken care by the museum and during the internship we were well taken care of. For example the busy museum director took one afternoon to drive us around the area for hours from Geysirs to churches.

The possibility to have the internship and the course in Iceland was immensely important and inspiring. Demanding with the internship was to endure unclear situations before and during the internship. This taught independency and ability to make myself useful. I am grateful for the warm support and encouragement I received in LÁ and in Iceland.

Text by Annika Sohlman, Art Education student from Aalto University

Internship in Ladakotsskóli

24.8.-4.9.2015, Reykjavik, Iceland

Landakotsskóli is a private school in centre of Reykjavik. It is an old school with a history as a catholic school. Pupils in these are from 5 to 15 years old. There are couple of international groups in the school and many of Icelandic kids talk good english.


I started my internship with a bit uncertainty about my role. Because of being on the ‘first wave’ of Edda Norden internships, there wasn’t ready made frames from the internship. I went to take a look at the school and meet the headteacher before starting my internship. Headteacher quickly welcomed me and instructed me to the school’s dining room with the teachers. There were all five years old kids with their parents waiting. There were starting a school at the same day when I will start my internship.

My responsibilities will be to take care of the after school program. After two days I asked if I could work during normal school days too because I felt that this way I could be more useful for the school. Firstly, I was visiting in art and wood working classes, but then I got an idea of an empty timetable. I asked to have the empty timetable and then I asked from teachers in which classes they mostly needed help. Quite fast I started to feel like being part of the school staff.

After school program

After first days my main work was more helping in other classes, but two days also during another week I had special task to stay in school and take care of couple of international kids in the after school program. Those afternoon were nice time. Just being with kids and playing and talking.

Teacher’s assistant

I had the responsibility to assist the one pupil on his first weeks in the new school. I was assisting him on math, english, dance, PE, and music classes. In some classes I offered more assistance than others. Sad, that my period in the school was too short to support the kid to find his place in school.

I was also assisting in general level in the several other classes, mainly with the bigger groups. Being in Math class though by foreign language for me was an exotic trip.

Art and wood working classes

I visited art classes few times in the beginning of the internship. In carpentry class I participated several times. Wood working teacher seemed to be many kids favourite teacher. His classes have a busy atmosphere.  I know some carpentry myself so I could support pupils better than in the art class.

Philosophy and social studies

It was a nice experience when the teacher of philosophy and social studies let me in his classes. In the classes we handled environmental issues and animal rights. With the seventh graders we made the trip to the museum to see stuffed great auk. A bird which was hunted to extinction on 19th century. After that we continued by showing photos by Finnish photographer Perttu Saksa. He has a photoset of hundreds of years ago stuffed monkeys. These two were experiences were good starter point for discussion with the pupils about animal rights and human responsibilities.

I was happy to given an opportunity to tell for the eight graders about Karanhjukar dam. In 2006 I was in Iceland protesting against this huge dam building. There are many interesting environmental issues in Iceland, and seems that many pupils haven’t heard about those before.

Kids in these classes had active conversations with teachers and each others. This kind of culture of discussion I wish to be able to take with me for my art lessons on future.


On my second week I came out with my own storytelling classes. It is my own concept of letting pupils to tell a story by leading the process with only several questions. I draw it on blackboard. I already knew that it use to be quite spectacle for kids. This time there was also another teacher with me, to translate the content for the students. After first story, second class teacher made a huge advertisement about my storytelling class and on the last two days I made eight storytelling sessions with the eight different classes.

Text by Sulo Palovuori, Art Education student from Aalto University
Text edited by: NoVA programme, Aalto University

Internship in Nýlistasafnið (The Living Art Museums)

2015, Reykjavik, Iceland

Nýlistasafnið (Nýlo) in a nutshell

Nýlistasafnið is a contemporary art museum situated in Reykjavík. The most interesting feature about Nýlo is that besides its role as a non-commercial contemporary art museum, the museum is collecting and archiving documents, data, and objects from the scene of contemporary art in Iceland.

The members in the board are changing in every second year and at the moment Þorgerður Ólafsdóttir is the director of the board. During my internship, there was some ongoing exhibition and performance that happened in the museum. Especially, it was really interesting experience to take part in the art performance inside the museums.

In the beginning of my two weeks internship I got a question mark about my workload, tasks and responsibilities in the museum. Before coming to Iceland, I communicated with the director, and she proposed an idea about creating a pedagogical initiative based the museum archives.

In the first day I introduced myself to the museum staff. They also gave my a short introduction about the museum’s history and its archives collection. During the meeting they mentioned about some difficulties they faced when with younger museum visitors. Me and my peer internship students Margit Jugar and Anna Brink were concluded that creating a pedagogical approach for younger visitors in the museum is a suitable task for our internship.

We started our research with searching some key art pieces in the museum to create our museum pedagogical approach. We were thinking the best ways to understand a key piece is by talking to the artist itself, so we contacted some artists which we found to have interesting pieces to show to children and to arrange a meeting with them. Finally, we managed to schedule a meeting with the few artists and the museum educator manager in Listasafn Museum. Before the actual meeting with them, me and my colleagues were trying to formulate the interview questions and discuss the directions of pedagogical approach to meet with the museum aim. Our final task beside to create an approach for younger museum visitor in Nýlo was also to test our result on paper to with some group of students.

The next following weeks we spent visiting Listasafn Museum of Contemporary art in Reykjavik and met Klara Þórhallsdóttir. She is the education programme manager in Listasafn. She invited us to visit the museum talked about how she plans the program for small children in the museum context. The meeting was really meaningful for us because it gave an insight from the person who is currently working in the field. In the dialogue, we also learnt from her of how the method they apply when accommodating younger visitor in the museum.

The other days we spent on meeting with Gunndís Ýr Finnbogadóttir. She is an Icelandic artist who also used to work in Nýlo. From interview with her, we managed to know more about the museums and her work with the collection. We also got to know more about her as a professional artist and as a person working in the field of contemporary art in Iceland.

Another meeting was with Unnar Örn that happened in the museum itself. His piece “Glass arcade” was one of our selection of key piece. His concept about decay and preserving memories in the postcard form was really interesting because it’s connected with the concept of the living art museum itself in “preservation” of artwork. During the interview, he shared about his life and artistic view as an artist and told us more about the history of his artwork. Some of his personal “story” is really meaningful and interesting to re-tell to the young museum visitors. We found that story and the connection to the objects in the museum is an interesting way for a pedagogical approach.

Me, Margit and Anna spent last few days to formulate our interviews into pedagogical approach for young visitors in the museum. Started from how the way they behave, what is the concept of archive museum and ponder around the artworks. Since me and Margit had to leave Iceland earlier, Anna spent another week to test our method by inviting some school groups to the museum. She planned to give them a museum tour and a short workshop as a response to the key piece she introduced.
Overall this internship opportunity opened me a lot of doors to better explore my own interest. This whole experience taught me how do an initiative, to make yourself useful, and to learn from the experiences. I am really happy about the inspiring experience in Iceland.

Text by Karina Angelika Kosasih, Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) student from Aalto University
Text edited: NoVA programme, Aalto University

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