Art + research: Soft Law and Hard Reality

29 Apr 2020, 15:00

Despite the fact that research shows the benefits of mother-tongue education and that it enjoys comparatively strong legislative support in Sweden, the inclusion of mother-tongue education in the school curriculum is frequently challenged.

This conversation is an online only event that will be broadcasted live on Accelerator’s Facebook page. The event lasts approximately 60 mins, it is recorded and will be available in Accelerator’s podcast and YouTube channel.

Research shows that having a strong mother-tongue foundation makes it easier to learn further languages and, under certain circumstances, other subjects. The Language Act (2009:600) and the Education Act (2010:800) provide Sweden with comparatively strong legislative support for mother-tongue education. National minorities language rights are further strengthened by the National Minorities and Minority Languages Act (2009:724). However, mother-tongue education is frequently questioned. It is a non-obligatory subject of the school curriculum with important restrictions in terms of how much time may be devoted to it.

In light of the strong scientific and legislative support for mother-tongue education, why does it not enjoy a more prominent status in teacher training and education? Why were the acts introduced 10 years ago? What were the political consequences and how have the acts been updated? What are the rights of the speakers of Sweden’s five national minority languages and the more than 200 other minority languages spoken in Sweden today?

Jarmo Lainio, professor of Finnish and researcher into minority languages and Meänkieli at the Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies, Finnish, Dutch and German, Stockholm University
Maja Mella, director of the National Association of Swedish Tornedalians – Tornionlaaksolaiset
Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, Jur. dr., Associate Professor in international law and director of The Åland Islands Peace Institute

The talk is moderated by Tom Moring who is Professor Emeritus of Communication, particularly journalism, and honorary doctor of Humanities at Stockholm University

The conversation is in Swedish.

Johanna Gustafsson Fürst “Monolingual Territory”, 2020. Installation view from the second part of the exhibition “Graft the Words, Whip My Tongue” at Accelerator 2020. Photo: Christian Saltas.