Didarchtik meeting at Bäckedals Folkhögskola, Sveg

14-17 June 2011
The two-year EU project Didarchtik aims is for the participants to visit each other to share experiences on didactics and teaching methods for adults in providing knowledge of ancient crafts and archaeological finds. By mid-June 2011, it was the turn to Bäckedals Folkhögskola to invite. It felt great to get this many curious guests from far away from many countries in Europe.

As the title of the meeting, we chose "Adult learning the Bäckedal way". The goal for us with this meeting  was to provide the participants in Didarchtik with an insight into how we work pedagogically with our (adult) students. A key part of this was to make everyone feel that they were each an important part of the larger group. One way to illustrate this was to divide the large group into smaller groups by distributing various pieces of the puzzle. Each piece belonged to a particular puzzle; there were a total of three. In a puzzle you cannot see the whole picture on a piece missing - the same way it is with us humans in a group. This introduction was given by Aja Petterson.

Once this grouping was made ​​there was a tour of the school district to include seeing our ancient environments with (re)constructed buildings. After this we had the first workshop: "The thread as a symbol and a Necessity". The three groups, each with a supervisor (Ellinor Sydberg, Eva Springe, Susanne Swedjemark) made wires and strings by using their hands and simple tools. The materials were linen and wool.

During the afternoon there were three more workshops: one worked with wood, one with iron and one with leather. The theme of these groups was all the same: the thread. The wood group (Asa Wilhelmsson) twisted wicker to tie to use with different things. The iron group (KG Lindblad) worked to pull wire and making simple things of it. The leather Group (Aja Pettersson, Susanne Swedjemark) processed sheepskins and sewed with thongs small cases, like for example a tinderbox. A playful competition in the coffee break was to whip cream! Two beaters had been produced - one of birch twigs and wicker, the other of iron wire. The competition was very even, but birch whisk managed to take home the victory.

The rest of the day was devoted to the Project Midway evaluation. Later that evening we gathered around the grill at the pond, ate hot dogs and socialized.

The following day began with yet another playful competition; the Eurovision Fire Contest. KG Lindblad explained how the groups would gather all combustible materials on the school property. Following ion this they had to prepare a small fire under a stretched string. With the help of three matches, they would then get a fire going and the group whose string first burned had won. After that it was time for discussions.

Under the leadership of Emma Jonsen and Annemarie Pothaar we discussed what we had worked with, what issues are important when working with adults. A final discussion task was to work with each other’s colleagues to develop a program for adults.

The Archeoparc from Val Senales (Italy) introduced the upcoming workshop which they will organise for September. Subsequently a meeting was held on the work with the Didarchtik project. Those who did not participate either took a walk or went on a little shopping tour of local specialties.

The meeting at Bäckedal began on Tuesday evening with Ellinor Sydberg and Eve Springe who presented Härjedalen from a personal angle. To conclude on Thursday evening we had a nice dinner arranged by Christina Sjöberg and kitchen staff in the school's beautiful dining room.

Overall, it were some intense and fantastically nice days! Many thanks to all participants who took part, with their own personal piece of the puzzle.

By Susanne Swedjemark