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New project on communities and ethnic divisions in Danish high schools

Professor Lene Kühle, together with senior researcher Sidsel Vive Jensen, the organisation Dialogue Across and four upper secondary schools in Aarhus, will investigate how to improve the opportunities for young people from different backgrounds to form communities in upper secondary school.

Concrete solutions to current societal challenges. This is the goal of the research projects that receive funding through the so-called HUMpraxis programme in VELUX FONDEN. One of the five projects that have just received funding is called "Communities Across". VELUX FONDEN has granted DKK 5.7 million to the project, which is based on concerns about "ethnic division" in and between upper secondary schools.

"The years of adolescence in high school are important years when you explore your own identity and put it at stake in different communities from the very close to the very large. However, existing research shows that ethnicity is a significant dividing line for young people's communities," says Lene Kühle and elaborates:

"It is important to find out how community ties can be strengthened so that important institutions, such as upper secondary schools, remain solid even in situations where polarisation characterises societal debates. The purpose of the project is therefore to investigate and strengthen possible pathways to communities for young people across diverse backgrounds".

The project's scientific methods are fieldwork and interviews, which, in interaction with Dialog på Tværs' work with dialogue workshops and forum theatre, contribute to an understanding of how high school communities function. The project thus involves both a development component and a research component. In the development part, the upper secondary schools and Dialogue Across collaborate to carry out a number of activities that support communities across disciplines. The research part examines more generally how young people relate to each other in the interaction.