Humanities, Education and Culture

This group supports research focused on the Humanities, particularly as they pertain to education, subject formation, and cultural development. Bringing together scholars from a range of fields, including literature, religion, philosophy, and history, Humanities, Education, and Culture aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, international participation, and high-profile dissemination.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The research group is a part of the research division
Teacher Education

Bringing together academics from a wide range of disciplines and specializations, this group will foster collaborative research on education, humanities, and culture. As the Humanities in Norway white paper has recently affirmed, the Humanities provide the “foundation for open debate in the public sphere,” inculcating the democratic values and humanistic principles promoted by the Norwegian Core Curriculum. 

In the face of far-reaching political and technological changes, from commodification to climate change, thoughtful and critical engagement with our cultural histories and identities is vital—to redress injustice, to develop shared values, and to envision a sustainable future. It is in the classroom, whether discussing diversity or pondering poems, that so much of this development takes place; this research group thus foregrounds work on education, from the foundations of deep learning to the dynamics of educational leadership. 

More about the research group

Humanities, Education, and Culture was established in 2011 and has since grown into one of the largest research groups in the faculty, with members at several Nord University campuses.

The group's original name in 2011, “Studies in Visual Arts,” reflected the professional profiles of it’s early members. In 2013, the group changed its name to “Humanities, Education, and Culture” to better capture the wider disciplinary range of the group. In 2020, the group was restructured to align with the enhanced profile of the Faculty of Education and Arts. The group remains focused on established humanistic subjects, particularly literature, philosophy, history, religion, and language. The role that these fields play in student learning and development, both within and beyond the classroom, is a unifying priority. 

Based on the rich expertise and robust research profile of our interdisciplinary membership, the initial focal theme for this group will be “Values & Culture.” The roots of modern values run deep, twined with education and professionalization, religion and ritual, linguistics and literature, philosophy and history. In our shared endeavour to understand and cultivate such values, particularly as they underpin subject and social formation (dannelse), we will foreground research on:
the role and practice of humanistic education
the history of religion & ritual 
literature & cultural contexts 
philosophy & ethics
paradigms of tolerance, identity, and rights
political and social history
sustainability & technology

Link to educational activities

Much of the research undertaken by this group will contribute to the development of Humanities subject pedagogy, both generally as a field and more directly for the programs at Nord, such as Master in Teacher Education and Bachelor in English. Many of our members are also participating in research projects about classroom dynamics and module construction, working closely with local schools and municipalities.  

Moreover, the theme of “Values & Culture” that will direct our work over the coming three years pertains closely to the Norwegian curriculum core values for education, especially “Critical Thinking & Ethical Awareness” and “Identity & Cultural Diversity.” We are glad to have PhD students participating in our research and intellectual culture, and we will be inviting students of all levels to attend events and discussions.

Active projects

Research seminars

Coordinator: Kåre Fuglseth

Description: Humanities, Education, and Culture hosts regular seminars on relevant topics for the group. Members are encouraged to share works-in-progress and convene with an assigned respondent/critic. PhD fellows are especially encouraged to share their work.  Non-members (from other groups in the faculty) may be invited to share materials or serve as respondent. Interested parties should contact Kåre Fuglseth to schedule their seminar.

Materials (5-15 pages) are shared with the group one week before the meeting
Brief presentation at the meeting
Assigned main respondent begins with their critique
Individual questions and comments from the audience
Joint discussion at the end

Objective: Shared materials should be works-in-progress—unpublished pieces, incomplete concepts, etc. – that could benefit from early refinement and feedback. The goal is for researchers to benefit from the shared knowledge and expertise of the group.

Reading group

Coordinator: Jamie Callison

Description: Since Humanities, Education, and Culture includes members with a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, the collective runs a regular reading group. The reading group provides members with an opportunity to learn about and to discuss new developments in their own and other related fields.

Organiser presents participants with choices of literature (30-50 pages for each meeting).
Group votes on what they wish to read.
In advance of the meeting, organiser circulates:
o the chosen literature
o a set of questions and discussion topics
Participating members meet in person and/or digitally to discuss the literature

The reading group is a forum for intellectual exchange. It serves as research training, introducing members to recent developments in the literature inside and outside their fields. Over time, discussion among members will uncover commonalities in interests and perspective; shared research questions will emerge and provide the basis for interdisciplinary research projects eligible for external funding.

Invited lectures

Coordinator: Andrew McKendry 

Description: Leading researchers from around the world will be invited for relevant lectures and workshops, both for the year-end seminar and periodic special events. Recommendations for guest speakers are welcome; please contact Andrew McKendry.

Nangeroni – virtus et humanitas

Coordinator: Gabriella Gelardini

Description: The 2022 and 2024 Nangeroni meeting will take place at Nord University. This Interdisciplinary and multi-institutional conference will focus on the role of education in cultivating and passing on virtues and values in the ancient Mediterranean world at the turn of the common era. Volumes based on each of the conferences will be published.

Appaling Ocean, Verdant Land: The Unites States and the sea

Coordinator: Ken Runar Hanssen

Description: The biennial ASANOR (American Studies Association of Norway) conference will be held at Nord University in 2022. The conference welcomes papers within the fields of literature, history, and political science that seek to explore how — from the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock to current freedom of navigation operations in South East Asia, from the horrors of Melville’s half-known life to Stevens’ blessed rage for order — the sea has been at the heart of the American struggle for self-definition

PhD supervision

Humanities, Education and Culture is particularly concerned with the focus area of Higher Degree Research, which concentrates on research on supervision at the master's and doctorate level, with emphasis on guidance in the humanities subjects of teacher education. The group has received international guests from IDERN, among others, and has presented papers internationally on the subject.

The majority of the group’s members are qualified supervisors. The group is interested in receiving more PhD students and fellows and in developing further courses at the PhD level. 

Undergraduate Excellence​ Award

The Kultur og dannelse undergraduate award is an annual prize granted to the best essay written by an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Education and Arts. The essay may be written in English, Norwegian (Bokmål or Nynorsk), or Sami, and it may be about any field or topic; it will be evaluated—by an interdisciplinary committee—based on the quality of its ideas, its research, its writing, and its argumentation. 

Closed projects

Humanities – Politics – Society

From 2016-2019, Humanities, Education and Culture had education and democracy as a seminar theme and had the pleasure of inviting international guests to us in connection with our seminars. Humanities, democracy, and critical thinking was a central theme for the group. Our work on this theme also connected with the research group in Practical Knowledge. 

Masterteach – a continuation

Humanities, Education and Culture worked on the MASTERTEACH theme since 2016, which then had the title TEACH. The project’s main topic of concern was pedagogical competency in the humanities subjects in teacher education and its relation to deep subject competence in the specific humanities subjects. In 2019, the groups visited our Finish collaborative colleagues and collaborate together on a session at the Nordic conference on education and learning in all school subjects (NOFA7 ) in Stockholm.

Form without content

Form without content is a book project that was developed as the conclusion of the group's Norgesuniversitetet project on iPad in higher education.
iPad in higher education is a completed project and the book, Kategorial danning og bruk av ikt i undervisning , is the rounding off of this project. The book is published by Universitetsforlaget and the editor of the book is Kåre Fuglseth. The group's work was financed through Norgesuniversitetet.

Collaborate workshop with Practical Knowledge Theory group

Humanities, Education, and Culture cooperated with the research group on Theory of Practical Knowledge on a long-term collaborative project, resulting in a workshop entitled The Value (s) of Education.

Digital humanities (DH)

The group worked with digital humanities from a culture and education perspective in the period 2015-2017. 

The use of digital tools has changed both the content and practice of teaching and lecturing of humanistic subjects, and in the space between the meeting of humanistic subjects and digital tools new research questions and fields have crystallized. This space helps to strengthen the cultural disciplines' transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature. 

While the digital has had a clear impact on these traditional academic disciplines, these disciplines and their research progress methods and issues can also play a significant role in challenging and further developing our use of digital tools and digital media. This two-sided interaction is at the center of the group's work in DH.

PhD projects

Existential bildung and didactical practice in teacher education

PhD Fellow: Barbro Fossland

Based on pedagogical dialogues, this PhD explores existential aspects of students’ professional development within a hermeneutic phenomenological framework.

 Research Group Leader


 Affiliate member