Jönköping municipality in Sweden is actively working towards creating a more inclusive, open, safe and creative municipality. This work can be seen in several areas, with the norm-critical and norm-creative project Normstorm being an example. The project operates in a pedagogical context and is about the creation of norm-creative pictures and art to be exhibited in public places.
The target group for Normstorm’s pedagogy are primarily youths in lower secondary and upper secondary school and the project is carried out in a school context. Parts of the project have also been performed by students from a Folk High School.
The pictures displayed in this inspirational material were created by youths who have been involved with Normstorm over the years. Thanks to them, there are fantastic images to be inspired by.
Organisations wanting to work with the ideas of Normstorm are not confined to a set of regulations but are instead free to adjust the scope, target group, context and forms of expression to fit their specific needs. Organisations are encouraged to use the project name Normstorm followed by city, area or school, for instance.
Collaboration between schools and municipal departments
In Jönköping, Normstorm is being performed to various degrees in different schools while the municipality together, with a number of partners, offers lectures, technical equipment and exhibition places. The project is a part of the municipality’s work towards equality. There is a collaboration between participating lower/upper secondary schools and various municipal departments (Urban Planning Department, Education Department, Culture and Leisure Department, Womens’s shelter and girl’s empowerment centre, Jönköping county museum and Mediacenter Jönköping county). The Folk High Schools June folkhögskola and Södra Vätterbygdens folkhögskola have also participated in the collaboration. The work is coordinated in a project group with representatives from participating stakeholders.
”To work norm-critically is important but it’s difficult and we don’t do it enough. Normstorm acts as an eye-opener. The norm-critical questions should permeate more of the education.”
Norm-critical preparatory work
The project begins with a preparatory phase where both personnel and youths get theoretical knowledge and tools to think and to relate norm-critically. The work compromises everything from lectures to pedagogical exercises in the context of a classroom. The personnel get support to critically start to examine their own position in relation to various norms and how norms affect the school and the learning environment through peer learning and guidance. In this way, the norm-creative and norm-critical approach can be developed in the daily pedagogical practice.
-To work norm-critically is important but it’s difficult and we don’t do it enough. Normstorm acts as an eye-opener. The norm-critical questions should permeate more of the education, says one of the teachers involved in the project.
The norm-critical preparatory work is followed by norm-creative work, either individually or in groups, where the youths’ creative process and production of images and art are in the centre. Photography has always been the leading form of expression but there are also sculptures, paintings, graffiti, digital illustrations, installations and audio files.
The work concludes with public exhibitions in various places – from museums, train stations and bus stops to school corridors and school libraries. The exhibitions are also used as a material for discussion and further pedagogical work. For example, personnel and students not involved with the project have visited the exhibitions. Additionally, the images have also been exhibited and used at youth centres.
Normstorming in your organisation
Normstorm’s project idea enables active work with basic values and can contribute in preventing discrimination and promoting equality in various areas. To challenge the norms that are the basis of discrimination and exclusion can contribute in securing everyone’s personal rights, while simultaneously increasing the quality of the organisation.