Thursday, December 07, 2006

Umeå Universitet...Last May I was privileged to attend the First International Conference on Sloyd, "Traditions in Transition" in Umeå, Sweden. Umeå University is one of four major state sponsored universities in Sweden and the conference was co-sponsored by Åbo Akademi University in Vasa, Finland. The conference was attended by 120 educators from 19 countries from Europe, the Americas and Japan. I presented a paper on Educational Sloyd and its impact on American education and Clear Spring School. It had been well over 30 years since I had spent any significant time on a University campus, and I have to say I was quite nervous in presenting to an academic audience. Thankfully, all the presentations were made in English, and I found that I had an advantage being able to present in my native language, while many struggled to translate their own papers in the selected language for the conference.

It was a distinctly rewarding experience and an eye opener as well. It was most interesting to note that despite the fact that Sloyd education has persisted in the Scandinavia countries since the time of Otto Salomon and Uno Cignaeus and totally abandoned in the United States, our program at Clear Spring School was well advanced in theory and practice and offered a great deal of interest to the wide range of educators attending the conference. The photo above is of Umeå Universitet.

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