Folk Art 2 FKUN2

Course Description

The course consists of two components: the common component and a specialised component. The common component involves acquiring familiarity and insight into traditional arts and modern Norwegian design, as well as mediation and knowledge of R & D.

The common component includes these subject areas:

  • The history of arts, crafts and design
  • R & D methodology

In the specialised component, students may choose between:

  • Arts, crafts and design: wood, metal or textiles

The common component is worth 15 ECTS credits and the specialised component 45 ECTS credits.


It is possible for students to include a 3-month study-period abroad as part of the specialisation in arts, crafts and design. The stay may be at an educational institution or be in form of field-work planned in cooperation with the subject teacher and the institute’s administration. The elective replaces practical training, study-trips and the course unit Preservation/ Passing Down Traditions.

The university college will at all times determine how many specialisation subjects can be offered.




The goal of the subject is to place the students’ work with traditional arts and the practical / aesthetic work in the workshop in a wider context. Through the examination of the various themes and perspectives, students will be able to make the appropriate choices with regards to preservation, renewal and dissemination of the arts.

Students will become familiar with other arts and cultural representations, from ca. 1800 up until the present day, enabling them to view representations in the traditional arts as part of a wider aesthetic tradition.

The goal is for students to gain an awareness and ability to reflect upon traditional arts as a contemporary phenomenon.


Traditional arts will be placed in the context of Norwegian arts, crafts and design. Social and ethnological questions in connection with Norwegian material culture will be discussed. Concepts of culture and tradition, protection and renewal will be examined; topics and questions will be focused on related to Norwegian arts, crafts and design. Folk Art is a subject that requires active participation from the students. Why, and in what way, the traditional arts and crafts are conserved and renewed will be discussed.

The various forms of artistic expression will be examined by placing traditional arts into an artistic and cultural context.

Traditional production methods and craft products have been subjected to fierce competition, because of the growth of the consumer society and modern technology. Discussion of the quality concept in the light of this perspective will be an important topic.

The course deals with an analysis of the factors that shape traditional artistic expressions, and what values may be discovered in terms of conservation and renewal. Traditional artistic expressions will be viewed in a European and global perspective. So that students can gain further knowledge of European traditional arts, a study trip to a European country will be planned. It is also possible for students to choose a 3-month study period in another European country as part of their specialisation studies.

Material objects as historical sources and aesthetic objects

  • The relationships between folk art, crafts, handicrafts, art crafts, art and industry
  • History of Norwegian arts, crafts and design

Subject philosophy

  • Conservation and renewal
  • Conservation philosophy

Folk art in an ecological and cultural-historical perspective

  • Industry, livelihood and design culture
  • Norwegian folk art viewed in a European and global perspective

Major course unit: R & D - METHODOLOGY


Research and development methodology will provide students with the necessary skills that will enable them to carry out simple projects and assignments related to the subject of traditional folk arts, and they will be able to critically assess R & D work. The subject will help students find methods for data collection from museums, archives and other sources and equip them to use this material in practical and theoretical work, thereby achieving the goal of preservation, continuation and renewal of traditional folk arts.

The subject’s goals also include a well-written overview and good presentation of results from work on specific issues.


Principal research questions will be discussed, but work will mainly focus on suitable strategies and methods for R & D projects in traditional folk arts.

Students will carry out practical activities regarding development work related to the subject in the specialisation part, and document their practical work in a written report. Working with R & D methodology will focus on integrated projects which address issues related to the specialisation part.

Course units

  • R & D in folk art
  • What is R & D
  • R & D methodology in the arts
  • Topics
  • Project
  • Documentation
  • Folk art research




This specialisation part builds on the workshop subject in the foundation study programme, Norwegian Folk Art I, and aims to further develop students’ knowledge of Norwegian traditional arts with regard to variations within production methods and aesthetic qualities. Through knowledge in these areas students should be able to work for the preservation, continuation, renewal and dissemination of material design culture. Students must make assessments and choices when designing new products so that the products function as good contemporary products.


Specialising in design is a combination of two major course units: Workshop Subjects and Aesthetic Subjects.

These subject areas support and complement each other in students’ work on the design of their own products. The instruction in the workshop subject is related to the supervision of students in their work on the programme assignments. In addition, there will be some training weeks where topics will vary from year to year. Theoretical teaching in the workshop subject will involve an in-depth examination of topics covered in the foundation programme.

Themes that are discussed in the common part will be involved in influencing the design of new products. Work on the workshop subjects and aesthetic subjects is divided up thematically into project periods where students are involved in work concerning preservation / continuation, renewal and dissemination.

The study programme includes three assignments during the year related to the course units Experimentation, Renewal and Preservation / Continuation. These assignments are programme requirements that must be completed and included in the portfolio assessment. During the last period of the academic year, roughly a 10-week period, students will work with a year-assignment, exhibition with a written account.

In the workshop subject, students may choose between working with wood, metal or textiles.

Students will also be given the opportunity to study abroad.

Major course unit WORK SHOP SUBJECTS


Through the main course unit, Workshop Subjects, students will gain wider knowledge of, and may specialise in, the functional, material, ethical and aesthetic aspects of Norwegian traditional arts.

The course emphasises the students’ ability to craft and design on the basis of Norwegian culture and use local material and traditions in the production of good contemporary products. In this context, “good contemporary products” means that the student has taken into account, and found good solutions for, the relationship between form and function, environmental factors, production methods and aesthetic qualities in the design of a product.

The work in Workshop Subjects is divided into topics: three course units during the course of the year; the concepts of conservation and renewal will be examined through various methods and approaches. Dissemination is also an important part of this work.

In addition to these topics, students will work on different techniques and exercises for shorter or longer periods. These may vary from year to year, but emphasis will be placed on further work with the topics / techniques that were introduced in the foundation course.

To place Norwegian traditional arts in a wider context, it will be possible to conduct a period of study abroad. Throughout the period of study abroad, the student will familiarise himself/herself with how the work of preservation / continuation and renewal of folk art is practised in the country in question. The study trip may have a theoretical - and / or practical approach.



Students will learn to work methodically when carrying out experimentation within their material areas. The aim of this theme is to investigate the possibilities for solutions and results on the basis of a problem.

The creative process, from development of the problem, choice of procedure for testing, to the presentation of the results of the experiments, is a method, which the student will be able to use when working on assignments throughout the study programme.

Themes may include: shape, colour, texture / structure, materials and construction.

The aim of this part of the course is not to create a new product, but rather to experience how by using experimentation as a method students can arrive at new and unexpected solutions.

Documentation and presentation of the work is an important part of this theme.


Using traditional materials, the student will work on testing and products that represent a renewal of tradition. In addition to renewal, this part of the course will clearly define product requirements. This may involve a complete production process including packaging, logo, graphic design and presentation form, or may be related to the demands of the technology that functions as a framework for the assignment. However, the overall goal will still be renewal, and the student must discuss and justify how this goal is reached.

The choice of approach for the assignment within the framework “renewal” will vary from year to year.

Preservation / renewal

The aim of “preservation” means that the aspect of individual crafting and designing is toned down. Being able to document traditional material is a prerequisite for further work on renewal; the documentation and analysis of traditional materials is important. In this context, the concepts “preservation / renewal” refer to how students acquire knowledge of how objects within an area of the traditional arts are produced, i.e. they should become acquainted with the techniques, the tools used in crafting, material qualities, form, etc. This knowledge and understanding is important in their work, where renewal is the goal. The end product of such a process can be an approximate replica of the object that is documented and analysed and a product which exhibits “renewal”.

Through this use of tradition, students will gain basic knowledge of traditional production methods and an understanding of how traditions have developed and changed.

Year-assignment, exhibition with written account

The year-assignment is an important part of the study programme and will encompass the different subjects on which the study programme is based. The content of the year-assignment should include the combined activities from formulation of idea, planning, design / production and presentation / communication of results. The theme must be approved by the class leader and subject teacher before the student starts on his/her year-assignment.

Course weeks / theme teaching:
The study programme will also focus on specialisation / specialisation of certain techniques / themes. These course weeks will be taught in parallel with the work on some of the course units. Participation is mandatory. Students will also submit a report following each course / theme week

Study trip:
The advanced study programmes in folk art and folk music both share a mandatory study trip to a European country. Hungary has been chosen, because this country is rich in traditions with regard to both folk art and folk music. The study programme has acquired good academic networks in this country, both with educational institutions, organisations and traditional artists and musicians.

Students who cannot participate in the obligatory study trip must complete an assignment on European folk art. This will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.


European Folk Art
Students may choose to study abroad (three months), which will provide them with the opportunity to become familiar with the traditions of the place they are visiting. By contrast and comparison with the local traditions, students will be encouraged to view Norwegian folk art in a wider arts and cultural context.

The study trip may take the form of fieldwork in which the student makes contact with local artists and researchers. This type of fieldwork must first be prepared in consultation with teaching staff and the department and in agreement with the local artists and researchers. The study trip may also involve studies under the direction of a local educational institution in the case where there exists a formal agreement between the aforementioned institution and Telemark University College.

The content of such studies will vary depending on which materials the student is using, which institution he/she is studying at, and the traditions of the local area.

The department has a well-developed network in Hungary. Students will be affiliated with the Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Crafts in Budapest, the museum in Budapest and will be in contact with the traditional Hungarian folk artists and craftsmen.

Working methods will vary and may include fieldwork that involves participating observation, registration work, individual training in the local traditions and lectures and group work. Students may also follow a specially adapted teaching schedule at the local institution.

The assessment will vary depending on the form and content of the period of study abroad. If it involves fieldwork, then the student must complete a report which must be approved by the subject teacher. If the study trip has been of a practical nature, the results should be presented through an exhibition. The study trip will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

In the case of a more formal period of study abroad, an alternative may be for the student to take an examination at the local institution according to local guidelines.

Major course unit: AESTHETIC SUBJECTS with arts, crafts and design theory

Through this course, students will train and further develop their creative ability so that they will be able to use various techniques, tools and methods in working with the design of products and in the context of profiling and mediation.

Some of the assignments in Aesthetic Subjects will be to prepare for activities in the workshop, since this is an important part of the designing and crafting of a product.

Course units

  • Freehand drawing
  • Croquis drawing
  • Form
  • Form - colour – composition
  • Decorative and functional qualities in traditional arts
  • Formal aesthetics
  • Object Analysis
  • Exhibition technique / effects
  • From idea to product (arts, crafts and design methodology)

Assessment Methods

There should be some agreement between aims, content and assessment in the study programme. The ongoing assessment will provide students with feedback on how assignments have been completed, and what they need to focus on further in the programme. The assessment of assignments, examinations, and programme requirements, which must be completed in order to be allowed to take the examination, will be collected in the students’ portfolios.

Some of the assignments will be assessed with a grade, which will contribute to the final course grade.

Course requirements / evaluation of the major course units:

History of Arts, Crafts and Design
Written examination, 4 hours

Research methodology
No separate examination. Knowledge of research methodology will be assessed as part of the assignments.

Aesthetic Subjects
Assignments / exercises assessed on a pass / fail basis (part of the student portfolio).

Specialisation in Arts, Crafts, and Design (Wood, Metal or Textiles)

- Three assignments in the three course units included in the student portfolio:

  • Course unit: Experimentation (Part of the final grade).
  • Course unit: Renewal (Part of the final grade).
  • Course unit: Preservation (Assessed on a pass / fail basis).

- Year-assignment (Part of the final grade).

- Course weeks / theme weeks - Students must submit a report showing that they have participated in these sessions. The report will be assessed on a pass / fail. Mandatory participation.

- Elective course unit: European Folk Art (Assessed on a pass / fail basis).

In order to start work on the year-assignment, the exhibition with a written description the following course requirements must have been completed.

- Approved assignments submitted according to deadlines:

  • Approved work in Aesthetic Subjects
  • Approved participation in the mandatory parts of the study programme
  • Approved participation on study trip
  • Approved study period for those who have chosen this course unit

Examination / weighting

The various parts of the course are weighted in the following manner in relation to the final grade:

  • Year-assignment 40%
  • Written examination in arts and crafts history 20%
  • Student portfolio 40%
    • Assignment 1 counts ¼
    • Assignment 2 counts ¾

A single grade will be entered on the diploma on a scale A to F, where A is the highest grade and E the lowest passing grade. Each course unit must receive a passing grade in order to receive a final passing grade for the course.

Please refer to Telemark University College examination regulations for more information.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Ian Harkness <>, last modified Bodil Akselvoll - 29/02/2012