Cultural Agents for creative schools | Educational Research and Schooling


cultural agents for creative schools - accompanying research (Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen) Development of cultural education between schools and external cooperation partners

„Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen“ is a pilot programme carried out in five German federal states and funded by the German foundations „Kulturstiftung des Bundes“ and „Stiftung Mercator“. The objective of the programme is to increase children’s and youth’ curiosity and opportunities to engage in art and cultural activities. Thus, students ought to be supported in their education and personal development as well as offered chances to become players of a culturally interested public.

During the period 2011 - 2015 about 46 cultural agents together with 138 schools, artists and cultural institutions are going to develop an interdisciplinary programme of cultural education. Particularly the inclusion of experts in their function as mediators is the unique characteristic of the project. For the purpose to create a „space of relief“ for teachers and students, the project aims at generating testing capacities for innovative pedagogic concepts as well as new ways of cooperation between schools and cultural institutions.

Research Questions

The research project „Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen“ aims at fulfilling several purposes: Already during the project criteria for the quality of the implementation should be worked out and documented. Furthermore, conditions are to be identified that support the integration of cultural education in schools and help distributing the concept of the programme.

The research project focuses particularly on the following four questions:

  1. What are the conditions under which changes on the school level may be observed in the context of the pilot programme?
  2. What are the strategies that actors on the school level use in the re-contextualisation of the programme?
  3. How may the interaction provided by different professions (teachers, artists) be differentiated and related to each other in projects dealing with cultural education?
  4. What effects of cultural education may be observed on the student and teacher level?

Methodology and Design

The accompanying research of the pilot project „Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen“ is designed as a longitudinal study. In order to represent the development of the project, the actors and the long-term effects, at least two interview sessions are set up at different times. Data is generated according to the research questions for three different sub-projects. The advantage of methodological triangulation („in-between“) is used in data collection and processing by applying quantitative as well as qualitative data.

The three Sub-Projects

The first project is a programme monitoring. It deals with the organizational and contentwise implementation of the programme. Principals, cultural advisers, student representatives, parent representatives and cultural agents of all 138 schools are interviewed. The project is carried out in all schools in winter 2012/13 and 2014/15. It represents the present situation of the programme and provides a selection of schools as well as recommendations for possible priorities in the following two projects.

The second project consists of case studies. It intends to gain more insight into changes triggered by art and cultural work in about twelve schools regarding the development and sustainability of the pilot project. In spring 2013 and 2015 interviews are carried out with teachers, cultural agents and other participants. Furthermore, working documents of the schools are analysed.

The third project is an impact study. It considers 36 individual „art projects“ in 2013 and 2014 and investigates which impact and effects cultural education has on students and teachers. Interviews are carried out with participating students and teachers of the respective schools and those not yet participating.

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Hermann Josef Abs, Essen
Prof. Dr. Ludwig Stecher, Gießen

Project Team

Dipl.-Päd. Magdalena Obsiadly, Essen
Dipl.-Erz.Wiss. Katharina Golsch, Gießen
Dipl.-Soz.Wiss. Kathrin Knoll, Gießen


Stiftung Mercator (2012-2016)

Publications, first Project Report

Abs, Hermann Josef; Stecher, Ludwig; Hohmann, Julia; Knoll, Katrin; Golsch, Katharina (2013). Bericht zum Programmmonitoring 2012/2013 im Modellprogramm „Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen“. Frankfurt: GFPF.

Additional Research on "Kulturagenten"

Further accompanying research on "Kulturagenten" is done at the University of Hildesheim, Institut für Kulturpolitik, under administration of Dr. Tobias Fink and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schneider. Please refer to their website.