Comparing Learning Opportunities in the Field of Literary Heritage
Cooperation project Comparing Learning Opportunities in the Field of Literary Heritage was jointly accomplished by literary organisations in five countries: the Association of Estonian Writers’ Museums(Estonia), the Umbrella Organisation for Finnish Literature Associations Nimikot(Finland) the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum(Greece), the Petöfi Literary Museum (Hungary) and the Centre National de Littérature(Luxembourg) and was managed by Maarja Vaino(Estonia). The project aimed at promoting the exchange of ideas and work experience in the field of literary heritage as maintained in various museums and institutions in Europe. Two main methods–job shadowing and project meetings arranged on specific themes–were applied.
The comparison of work methods was understood as part of the life-long learning process and aimed at the learning environment where literary heritage is understood as a source of knowledge and constant companion to expand the understanding of the world. The focus was on various methods of including visitors of museum and/or literary centres in an enchanting experience that is remembered and gladly repeated.
The learning curve was multi-sided and involved getting to know about the various techniques to involve people in literary activities and display the literary heritage with best possible results. Nearly all the participants were also adult learners who took part in intercultural learning and gained new knowledge of museum traditions, cultures and literature, at the same time, learning about the methods used in various museums.
The organisations participating in the project are quite varied. The Greek NKM focuses in its daily work on one writer and his literary heritage, the CNL in Luxembourg and the Hungarian Petőfi Literary Museum function as literary museums and archives in the widest sense, the Finnish Nimikot includes societies dedicated to various writers and are usually built on voluntary basis, and the Estonian EKMÜ incorporates the majority of writers’ museums. What all the organisations have in common is the objective to maintain and present literary heritage but the methods and techniques used are different. Sharing these various practices and experiences was extremely advancing and an eye-opening.
The core of the project was formed by the best practices to reach adult learners and to make literature and literary institutions more palpable to the general public. Three sub-themes were defined focusing on communication, ways of reaching the public, and on the European aspect in promoting literary heritage. Altogether five project meetings were arranged according to the plan agreed on at the first meeting in Budapest and each partner hosted one event. In additionto those meetings job shadowings were organised.
The set-up for the project events was also jointly designed at the Budapest meeting where the questionnaires were prepared. It was decided that each partner would collect the data and present the results in a standardised PPPresentation format.
All the partners had presentations on communication methods at the second meeting arranged in Mersch(Luxembourg). A workshop to discuss the format of a planned exhibition was also held. It was agreed to compile a virtual one, since this would be openly accessible to a potentially wider public. The theme of the exhibition – literary figures – was also decided in Luxembourg. Presenting such figures was agreed to be the most accessible way into literary heritage of other cultures and for expanding literary horizons. Feedback has indicated an additional aspect: the exhibition has been useful for teachers who have used the material in language learning as well as for presenting various cultures.
The third meeting in Kajaani, Finland was arranged around the theme of European literary heritage. In addition to the agreed format of internal partners’ presentations, the Grundtvig project and its participatory literary organisations had presentations and were discussed at the Kajaani Poetry Festival.The forth meeting, held at the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum, focussed on the ways of how literary organisations can reach new target groups.
The project results were summarised at the fifth and final meeting in Tallinn, Estonia. The most tangible result is the handbook including all the presentations held throughout the project. The virtual exhibition was presented during the largest Estonian literary festival HeadRead. Further possible cooperation was also discussed during this meeting.
The project involved constant networking and communication via electronic channels. Compiling and editing the handbook and putting together the material for the virtual exhibition would not have been possible otherwise. A blog (literarygrundtvig.blogspot.com) including entries of the experiences of job shadowing and project meetings was kept as well. Cooperation between the project partners ran smoothly and all the partners are keen to embark on new joint ventures.