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School of Humanities and Informatics, University of Skövde, 2015

Postal address: Institutionen för Kommunikation och Information, Högskolan i Skövde, Högskolevägen, Box 408, 541 28 Skövde, Sweden
Visiting address: Building E
Web page: http://www.his.se/hogskolan/organisation/institutioner/iki/

Contact person: Dr. Mirella Forsberg Ahlcrona, phone: +46 (0)500 – 448280
            Also working at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning,
                                                                                        University of Gothenburg. 

South Asia collaboration

Mirella Forsberg Ahlcrona lärare och forskare vid Högskolan i Skövde. Med handdockan Julia.

Mirella Forsberg Ahlcrona is Phil. Dr. Lecturer in Early Childhood Education. Her focus is on Communication and Language Development in Pre-school, and Puppets Communicative Potential as a Mediating Tool in Early Childhood Education. 
In the summer 2011, she travelled first time to India as one of five participants in an Indo-Swedish exchange programme, jointly run since 2009 by Västra Götalandsregionen (VGR); University of Gothenburg; Kathalaya Academy of Storytelling in Bangalore; Government of Karnataka; and the International Storytelling Network. The collaboration consists of activities in different cities in both Sweden and India in the form of study tours, workshops and seminars. The target group is teachers in pre-schools and schools, with an aim to develop the professionalism of teachers and establish a didactic exchange and innovative force in education.

The programme was organised as part of a cultural festival –Kathotsava 2011 – held in five cities: Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Vishakapatnam, and Chennai, and dedicated as a celebration of live storytelling from the past, present and future. Storytellers, story educators and puppeteers were invited to entertain and inspire, and as part of the festival a one day intensive Indo-Swedish storytelling and puppetry workshop for teachers and parents was conducted by Ola Henricsson, Geeta Ramanujam and Mirella Ahlcrona. More information about the Kathotsava 2011.

During her stay, Mirella Forsberg Ahlcrona held six workshops – for four full days in Bangalore and two days in Pune, presenting facts about the communicative potential of using puppets in pre-school teaching, and even using them as tools to develop the process of reading and writing in school. She also gave some lectures in Mumbai. The positive response resulted in concrete plans to extend the current activities at the Kathalaya Academy of Storytelling in Bangalore also to include knowledge about puppets pedagogical possibilities in education.

In October 2011, the Director of Kathalaya Academy of Storytelling, Geeta Ramanujam University of Gothenburg and University of Skövde, where she lectured for students and teachers, and presented her Bangalore institution that is now involved in a formal collaboration with the Internationall Institute of Storytelling, based in Tennessee, USA, and the The Scottish Story Telling Centre, UK.

Dr. Forsberg Ahlcrona again travelled to Bangalore in 2012, from 22 June till 15 July. The plan was to develop the first step out of three to use puppets in education. Teachers that have been trained should then spread their knowledge to their colleagues according to the same programme. Read Dr. Forsberg Ahlcrona’s story from her visit here
If everything works out fine, a number of Indian teachers will come on an exchange visit to Skövde University in 2013 and they will hold workshops on storytelling in education for students at Puppet Education programme (Dockpedagogutbildningen), that is administered by Dr. Forsberg Ahlcrona.

The ongoing Indo-Swedish collaboration also means a continued strong collaboration between Skövde and Gothenburg universities. At the University of Gothenburg, Associate Professor Silwa Claesson at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning is involved in the project on the use of storytelling in education.