By Georgia Sarikoudi (in the name of the TRANSCA Team), Post-doc Fellow at University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki
Ιn an era of great universal political and economic instability, where inequality and social discrimination prevail in the society, the role of education has never been more important. Transca (Translating Socio- Cultural Anthropology into Education, https://transca.univie.ac.at/project/) is an Erasmus+ strategic partnership coordinated by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna with the aim to make a significant contribution to European teacher education. The project addresses ways in which teachers can apply anthropological methods and tools with regard to core societal issues and social science concepts (such as interculturality, diversity, migration, integration, gender, intersectionality etc.). It is the first international endeavor to promote cooperation and exchange between anthropology and education through a joint process of “translation” of anthropological knowledge.
Τransca is a trans- European project. That means that partner countries (Austria, Denmark, Greece and Croatia) conduct the research primarily in their own country, but also attempt to acquire as much information as possible from the surrounding countries (Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina retrospectively). By this means, every partner came across quite many differences in regional forms of educational anthropology. As it came up, there is no international cooperation or exchange of knowledge and experience in this area as well as the impact of anthropological approaches on education systems is currently low and selective.
The program has as a goal to promote, and in some countries (as in the case of Greece) initiate aspects of socio-cultural anthropological knowledge into teacher education by amplifying existing approaches and experiences and adding new and innovative didactic assessments and practices with regard to core societal issues and social science concepts (such as interculturality, diversity, migration, integration, gender, intersectionality etc.).
Transca concentrates on innovative methods of how teachers and students address and challenge contested hierarchical structures, which often mark the diversity in the school classes (e.g. minorities within minorities, social class, structural discrimination etc.). The projects’ aim is to share current practices and challenge pioneering ideas helping anthropology become more involved in teacher education and subsequently in schools. The idea is to help bring about social inclusion in education through not merely knowledge but also challenging teacher’s attitude towards inclusion by means of self-reflection.
Among the objectives of this program is to facilitate cooperation between experts in anthropology of education in collecting good practices of every partner country (and their surrounding countries). This collection will provide a knowledge resource on ways how anthropological knowledge and methods figured as relevant for pedagogy and for teaching specific content. In addition, there is a plan to design teaching modules that apply anthropological knowledge and are best on the collection of good practices.
Concluding, TRANSCA intents to increase inter-regional and transnational cooperation in the field of educational anthropology and to transfer aspects of socio-cultural anthropological knowledge and methodology into education systems in Europe.
By the end of the project all the intellectual outputs will be widely disseminated through lectures series, publications, manuals and a digital platform in order to provide teachers and educators with a sustainable knowledge database including methods and networking resources.
It would be a remiss not to mention the coordination team and the partners.
The Coordinator Team:
Wolfgang Kraus, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna
Christa Markom, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna
Jelena Tosic, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna
Sally Anderson, Department of Educational Anthropology, Aarhus University
Danijela Birt, Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, University of Zadar
Elisabeth Furch, Communication Centre for Multilingualism, Migration and Human Rights Education, University College of Teacher Education Vienna
Ioannis Manos, Teaching Anthropology Network (EASA), Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, University of Macedonia
Philipp Mittnik, Center for Political Education, University College of Teacher Education Vienna
Martina Sturm, Communication Centre for Multilingualism, Migration and Human Rights Education, University College of Teacher Education Vienna
Kathrin Oester, Institute for Research, Development and Evaluation at the University of Education in Bern
Karmen Turcinov, School of Science and Graphic Arts & Medical School Zadar