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The ECLN Network recognises that artists and creative people support their own learning and the learning of others by engaging in creative and cultural experiences. Some cultural learners use cultural and creative experiences to learn about themselves, other people and different cultures. These are general cultural learners; Some cultural learners use cultural and creative experiences to learn about artistic forms, practices and techniques. These are specialist cultural learners; Other cultural learners use cultural and creative experiences to learn about working in the cultural and creative industries. These are professional cultural learners. People can engage in cultural learning on their own, within groups or as part of a community.

The term ‘Cultural Learning’ as it is used by ECLN includes the whole range of artistic and cultural learning that is delivered by artists and creative people within and across 3 different situations.

  1. informal situations’ e.g. through the ad-hoc sharing of knowledge and skills between people within informal artist networks;
  2. non-formal situations’ e.g. occurring in cultural or art centres or through cultural and community associations; within arts-based projects and programmes targeted at specific communities or young people; or to promote, support and develop specific cultural or artistic practice;
  3. formal situations’ e.g. classes, workshops, lectures or seminars as part of a formal learning programme in school, college, adult education or university.

All Cultural Learning Practitioners are practising artists who enable other people to learn by engaging them in artistic practice.

The ECLN project arises directly from the fact that, as a sector, ‘Cultural Learning’ is, largely, un-defined and un-mapped, and that professional or vocational educational pathways are equally ill-defined and unrecognised by public and external authorities. This is despite the fact that the Creative and Cultural Industries are a major European employment sector, and that these ‘Cultural Learning’ practitioners are vital to its success –through their inspiring, supporting and developing of others within Europe’s talent pool in the cultural sector.

Over the period to September 2015, ECLN will explore new ways to identify, support and connect Cultural Learning professionals and their organisations across Europe to:

– increase the profile and connectedness of the sector

– support the vocational education and training (VET) needs of the sector

The ECLN partners will approach the project in progressive stages, which involve:

– Researching the contexts in which cultural learning occurs within each of the partners countries

– Mapping & identifying new organisations and stakeholders in the sector

– Developing appropriate professional training and development approaches to respond to identified VET needs

– Testing & honing these approaches for dissemination across the sector

– Exploring new professional certification and qualification frameworks

– Promoting, networking and communicating across the sector through a new European Cultural Learning Observatory (online multi-media platform).

– Testing the demand for, and the feasibility of, establishing a new European professional association – the European Association for Cultural Learning (EACL)

The ECLN programme comprises of the following workpackages: 

WP1: Management

WP2: State of the Art Study: The Creative and Cultural Learning Sector in Europe

WP3: Development of Core Curricular

WP4: Testing and Review

WP5: Adaptation and Production of Network Tools

WP6: Dissemination

WP7: Exploitation – The European Association of Cultural Learning

WP8: Quality Assurance and Evaluation