Work Package 4: Qualitative research in non-formal educational settings

[Months: 2-34]

Partner Institutions:ASTON U, DU, PILAR, CRRC, MSGSU, UPF, UKBA, SPPU,

Building on CHIEF’s understanding of cultural literacy as a social practice that takes place in diverse educational environments (i.e. formal, non-formal and informal), WP4 aims to identify how (European) cultural literacy is articulated and practiced in non-formal educational settings in the civil society sector. It explores how membership of the collective identities that frame a plural ‘European us’ are negotiated from the bottom-up in different contexts of intercultural communication, and examine how plurality within these collective identities is respected. This process is key to developing effective practical interventions: it centres on teasing out a democratic basis for the construction of a more inclusive European cultural identity by identifying grass-root cultural practices relevant to local communities and young people’s everyday encounters that constitute their experience of inter-cultural dialogue. Civil society institutions and non-formal educational settings provide the best grounds for such research and interventions. Non-formal education settings are difficult to explore because they affect young people in more complicated, diffused and inconsistent ways than formal education settings. They are also likely to shift over time. This requires in depth case-study research of young people’s experiences, which is key to identifying which non-formal education settings and processes are operable in which countries and regions for different socio-economic groups. WP 4 has identified key places of non-formal education in close partnership with the civil-society nonacademic partners in each country, and by utilising data from WPs 2 and 3 (see also section on interdependence with other WPs below). These places are the sites for three ethnographic case studies in each partner country. Since the idea of European heritage is a social-politico construct, it is reasonable to anticipate that members of civil society institutions will have different views on what they attribute to European culture, and the strategies they use in their work (reflecting their regional, demographic and ethno-cultural backgrounds). One aim of WP4 is to map the origin and conditions for the emergence of these differences.