Over a three-year period, Lighthouse Aviation Group will support Designmuseum Danmark’s efforts to reach out to children seeking asylum and young refugees

Empowerment through design education

Designmuseum Danmark has extensive experience with teaching and educational programmes aimed at specific target groups, from very young children to school pupils to teenagers as well as families with children. With this special outreach program for vulnerable children and young people, the museum is also expanding its commitment to social responsibility.

The basic concept is that children and teenagers can learn to master their own process. That happens by strengthening the individual’s feeling of belonging and being a part of something. Through practical exercises in a group, reflection and hands-on learning, the museum creates the basis for reinforcing students’ faith in their ability to create, both individually and as part of a group. The goal is to create a safe learning space and use design processes as a starting point.

The teaching is inclusive and designed to incorporate many voices, and we emphasize that everyone can express themselves and create. Everyone can relate to a design object like a chair. Everyone can acquire skills by drawing, making mood boards, and reflecting over the “yes” and “no” choices that are a part of the design process.

Design education for vulnerable children and teenagers

Designmuseum Danmark is committed to working inclusively with people who ordinarily might not have the opportunity to enjoy the museum’s offerings. We are all in contact with objects, all the time. The everyday objects that we use and surround ourselves with help create the basis for a common language, for culture meetings, and for common creative experiences across social, economic, and cultural divisions.

Pilot project “I can create”

As part of the design museum’s strategy for 2017-20, the museum will take an active part in improving conditions for vulnerable children and teenagers. Specifically, the pilot project “I can create” (2016-2018), in which the museum worked purposefully to create a targeted design education for these groups. During this period 50 asylum-seeking children aged 6-18 took part in the project, which provided a safe learning space and explored how that had an impact on the young people’s experience of being able to create. To be part of a group, to be seen and have a voice, was crucial for their ability to learn.

”For this project, we wanted to use the expertise and the many good experiences we’ve had with using the museum and our modern workshop facilities as an educational space. We see ourselves as part of a worldwide trend in which museums open up for new initiatives and reach out to new target groups – including groups of people who might not find the museum on their own. This is our way of giving something back to society,” says museum director Anne-Louise Sommer.

The pilot project was a co-operation with the Red Cross “School on the Hill” and was followed by an anthropologist, who prepared a final report that documented how this targeted training in design was helpful to a group of very vulnerable students. The report also suggested opportunities for developing and improving the programme.

Further development and expanded scope

Support from the Lighthouse Aviation Group makes is possible for Designmuseum Danmark, along with strong co-operative partners, to develop these educational services in order to benefit more vulnerable children and teenagers. The goal is that the programme should act as a best-practice process that can be used widely by subject groups outside the museum, giving it an expanded scope. As a museum specializing in design and design education, we are dedicated to making a positive difference for many more children and teenagers in the future. The three-year project period has made it possible to consolidate the educational process that was already underway, and establish new partnerships. The goal is to get more people and groups involved, and to nurture solid partnerships plus strengthen the cooperation between society as a whole and the people working with vulnerable children and teenagers.

About the project

  • The new project, which is made possible with support from the Lighthouse Aviation Group, will run over a three-year period from August 2019 until June 2022.
  • Among the project’s cooperative partners are the Red Cross “School on the Hill” and Rådmandsgade Skole in Nørrebro.
  • Between 80 and 90 children and teenagers are expected to participate in the project over a three-year period.
  • A follow-up researcher will be assigned to the project. The researcher will document the results as well as best practice along the way and will join in an end-of-project conference that will discuss educational environments for vulnerable and children and teenagers.