About AECED

Welcome to the AECED project – aesthetic and embodied learning for democracy

Democracy isn’t simply a technical process that involves you learning about its history, principles, rules and institutions. Democracy is a way of governing and a way of relating to each other that is a here-and-now experience – whether that’s participating in local, regional and national democratic politics or being part of a group of people or relationship or institution in which people relate to each other democratically.  Engaging with others democratically and acting as a democratic citizen involves your feelings and your sense of what is ethically important and to be valued.

To protect and promote democracy, education for democracy is vital. It is important to learn about democracy. However, too much education for democracy places the main emphasis on cognitive learning. Too little gives centre stage to a fundamental dimension of learning – that is, the aesthetic and embodied nature of learning. Yet, to understand and get a feel for democracy, you have to live it and explore it in ways that help you become aware of your and others’ feelings, values and ethical concerns when acting democratically.

The ambition of this project is to enhance and transform the role of aesthetic and embodied learning in education for democracy. The intention is to design an innovative aesthetic and embodied pedagogical framework which has an impact on the practice of education for democracy through associated guides to practice. The project is developing and will be testing prototypes of the framework and guides in differing phases of education and national contexts. This will be done through groundbreaking participatory research.  The outcome of the research will be a research-based framework, with supporting guides to practice, that inspires and activates new ways of educating for democracy.


Project aims

The project will:

  • design an innovative, evidence-based aesthetic and embodied pedagogical framework which has an impact on the practice of education for democracy through associated guides to practice (toolkits) that support responsive, participatory pedagogies
  • test, through participatory action research, a prototype of the framework and guides in differing phases of education and national contexts
  • refine the framework and guides
  • disseminate and activate use of the pedagogical framework and guides by ‘trailblazer users’.


Impact

The project’s scientific impact will be achieved through groundbreaking, transdisciplinary research.  This will show how aesthetic and embodied learning and responsive pedagogies for democracy facilitate new ways of ‘seeing’ and exploring self and others, enabling truly democratic relations, fostering democratic attitudes and values, and nurturing predispositions, capabilities and feelings for active democratic citizenship.

Societal impact will be achieved through new pedagogical approaches that engage learners’ and educators’ hearts as well as minds, increase capacity for democratic citizenship that connects and evolves locally, and strengthen affective predispositions for challenging social injustices, engaging with conflict and seeking mutual understanding.


International collaboration

The 3-year project started in April 2023. It is supported by a grant from Horizon Europe and UKRI. The project partners are:

  • University of Lapland, Finland
  • Riga Technical University, Latvia
  • University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Philipps University Marburg, Germany
  • University Aberta, Portugal
  • University of Hertfordshire, UK (associated partner)


Connecting with AECED

For more information about the project, please follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter) and AECED Project LinkedIn
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Latest Posts

Continuing the movement of embodied exercises on paper

EN/FI The team at University of Lapland/Lapin Yliopisto explore equality with university teachers through movement and drawing. Project researcher Pauliina Jääskeläinen facilitated a series of embodied methods workshop for the university teachers. The aim of the...