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Democracy and diversity are key priorities for ReCreaDe, in particular the relationship between democracy and diversity in the context of education. ReCreaDe recognises that diversity is a fundamental premise for democracy and the inability to positively engage with diversity is the inability to act democratically. For democracy to continue as a living ideal in Europe, Europeans need to develop new ways of positively engaging with the diverse cultural heritage of Europe. The project wants to address primarily pre-service teacher education as a foundational stage in teachers’ pedagogical development. We hope that by engaging pre-service teachers in critical dialogues and activities regarding democracy and diversity these experiences and understandings will inform their professional relationships with different educational stakeholders (parents, colleagues, officials), pedagogical actions in classrooms and different communities and ongoing development as educational professionals and members of a democratic society.

These priorities closely correspond with the EU’s celebration of the diversity of European cultural heritage and the priority of social inclusion. ReCreaDe addresses diversity through innovative arts-based and cross-disciplinary integrated approaches in education. It targets the development of social, civic and intercultural competences and critical thinking to tackle discrimination, segregation, racism, bullying and violence. This priority is a well-established area of interest for the project partners from different perspectives and connects with different activities that the partners have been involved in in different contexts over the last number of years.

ReCreaDe prioritises the social and educational value of European cultural heritage as intrinsically connected to democracy and human rights. The project recognises the need (1) for an increase in pre-service teacher awareness and understanding of democracy and the necessary conditions to enable democratic participation, (2) to involve pre-service teachers in critically appraising the relationship between education and democracy, (3) to prepare pre-service teachers to build connections between formal, nonformal and informal education specifically listening to and drawing on different voices to co-create democratic educational communities, and (4) to implement innovative, cross-disciplinary teaching and research methodologies to support democratic participation as a positive response to cultural diversity. In previous and ongoing collaborations of the partners supporting the development of intercultural awareness and competence in teacher education has been a critical theme. The project proposed here fundamentally combines democracy and diversity as critical companions.

ReCreaDe includes informal and nonformal learning widening the scope for understanding the relationship between democracy, diversity and education. ReCreaDe explicitly aims to support skills development, social inclusion and critical thinking through different activities and innovative pedagogical actions, as well as dialogues with various stakeholders on the role and nature of democracy within education and the critical relationship between democracy and diversity. New participatory and intercultural approaches to heritage, as well as educational initiatives fostering intercultural dialogue involving teachers and pupils from an early age will be promoted through, for example, the inclusion of critical case studies addressing the experiences of excluded communities and the implications for educational, democratic and civic engagement.

ReCreaDe promotes the field specific priority of building inclusive higher education systems connected to surrounding communities through multiplier events and different educational communities and stakeholders represented in the intensive programmes. ReCreaDe promotes the civic and social responsibility of students, researchers and universities through interdisciplinary partnerships, dialogue and engagement with a range of different educational stakeholders (in- and pre-service teachers, teacher educators, educational researchers, educational authorities and community representatives). Moreover, the notion of democratic participation that ReCreaDe seeks to develop and practice through dialogue with different participants and educational stakeholders as well as through different activities assumes the inherent value of building inclusive higher education.

These activities should help pre-service teachers to work with diverse pupils and to contribute to the active development of education as a fundamental part of democratic society. The particular topics we seek to address are civic engagement and responsible citizenship, creativity and culture and the development of innovative curricula and courses.

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