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Culture Thugs

Cultural diversity in primary schools

Since school year 2011/2012, the NRW KULTURsekretariat has participated in the “Kulturstrolche” (Culture Thugs) – in collaboration with the city of Münster, which developed the programme in 2006. The principle is simple: Each child should be introduced to culture early on and be able to discover the broad cultural diversity of his or her own city while still at primary school. Those who come into contact with culture early on, who take visiting museums, archives and concerts as a matter of course and have the chance to talk to actors or artists will not remain mere spectators, but will instead seek to express themselves in their own way.

For this reason, artists and cultural institutions are opening their doors and inviting the culture rascals to come for a peek behind the scenes. The benefit is mutual, since the more cultural event organisers consider children's issues and topics, the more convincingly they develop their profile, and the more interesting they become to children – an important strategic consideration in relation to demographic change.

Cultural institutions and artists work in collaboration with local project leaders to produce an entertaining, high-quality, multi-disciplinary range of cultural experiences, tailored to the specific age group of the “Culture Thugs”. From the 2nd to the 4th year of school, pupils have the opportunity to try out culture for themselves and discover what they like and particularly enjoy. To get the ball rolling, each child is given a “Culture Thug” pass which records the children’s visits and the projects they undertake at the institutions. There will be a little sticker for each categorie as a reminder of their experiences and exciting journeys of discovery.

In total, more than 70 cultural institutions of the member cities of the Kultursekretariat have opened their doors in Bielefeld, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Krefeld, Neuss, Oberhausen and Recklinghausen since the beginning of the sponsorship programme. Pupils from 35 classes have discovered the cultural life of their city as busy “Culture Thugs” since summer 2011. An evaluation is planned for the spring of 2014 – as the basis for considerations on whether to continue the programme.

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