Embodiment, culture and education

This track explores what it means to create awareness of embodiment and (inter)culturality in movement practices. It studies opportunities for learning and approaches to teaching in movement, dance, Physical Education and other subject areas in which movement is used as a method to teaching.
Afrikansk skole



The theme focuses on research questions related to education in formal and non-formal sectors as defined by UNESCO as well as further training of practitioners in education.

On-going research centers on embodied and intercultural teaching and learning in movement and dance and in arts-integrated education. Projects take place in Denmark and with partners internationally.








Research projects


This project focus on the ways in which democratic, empowering, and challenging dance courses may advance university students’ dance skills, pedagogic consideration, existential learning processes, and embodied leadership with regard to their roles as future physical education teachers.

These movement psychological-inspired transformational and empowering educational methods may also give possibilities regarding broader educational issues.

Dancing Days with Young People

The film "Dancing Days with Young People" follows one teacher, 21 students and 200 high school students through an innovative and challenging teaching course that focuses on dance, creativity, body, and leadership.

The documentary lasts 12 minutes and was created in collaboration between film director Helle Toft Jensen and lecturer Helle Winther.


Winther, H. (2020). Let's move: Embodiment, leadership, and dance in education. I M. B. Tin, F. Telseth, J. O. Tangen, & R. Giulianotti (red.), The Nordic Model and Physical Culture (p. 51-67). Routledge. Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society. 

Winther, H. (2018). Dancing Days with Young People: An art-based coproduced research film on embodied leadership, creativity, and innovative education. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17/1 (Special Issue: Exploring Innovations in Elicitation Methods), p. 1-10.

Funded by

Fonden for entreprenørskab

Spor Media

Project period: 2018 - 2025


Associate Professor Helle Winther


The research project aims to develop models for integrating arts in the curriculum in Denmark and in South Africa building on partnerships of ambassador teachers from different schools through so-called ”Teacher Twinning.”

The project will explore and document what value arts-integrated teaching building on ideas and methods developed in previous school projects in collaboration of the project partners has to teachers, children and for reaching objectives of national curricula.

The project will produce knowledge about how to stimulate the implementation of arts and cultural education in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, specifically goal 4.7. about quality education. Moreover, it will develop new methods for teaching in multicultural settings based on arts-integration in various school subjects.

The outcome of the project will also include teaching material and workshops for teachers that can be implemented at national level in both countries.

Collaboration partner

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Funded by


Project period:  2021 - 2024.


Associate Professor Charlotte Svendler Nielsen



The research project Embodied Language Learning through the Arts (ELLA) explores how language, artistic activity and embodied learning can be intertwined and how embodied language learning through the arts can contribute to meaningful changes in educational practices.

The ELLA project includes three subprojects: Early ELLA, Culturally Diverse ELLA and Multiprofessional ELLA. University of Copenhagen is involved in Multiprofessional ELLA.


University of the Arts Helsinki (lead partner)

Åbo Akademi University

University of Turku

Jyväskylä University

Tampere University

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

University of Copenhagen

Funded by

KONE Foundation

Project period: 2021 - 2024.


Associate Professor Charlotte Svendler Nielsen




The aim of this project is to explore how gymnastics is taught in the BA programmes in PE at Danish universities, and how this connects to the practical reality of the students’ future work life – especially as high school teachers.

Central research questions

  • How is gymnastics taught in the BA programmes in PE at Danish universities and why?
  • How does the curriculum connect to the practical reality of the students’ future work life – especially as high school teachers?


Gymnastics has historically played a large role in the development of PE in Denmark. Today gymnastics is still a central part of the national curriculum for PE in primary and lower secondary school, but in high school PE gymnastics is optional and can be included as part of the mandatory subject area “classical and new sports”.

At the four Danish universities that have a BA program in PE gymnastics is part of the mandatory curriculum, but the emphasis on it differs. There is no universal definition of gymnastics, but the focus of this study lies mainly on apparatus work.

The aim of the project is to explore how gymnastics is taught in the BA programmes in PE at Danish universities and why, as well as how the curriculum connects to the practical reality of the students’ future work life – especially as high school teachers.

The analysis applies a combined sociological and pedagogical perspective, drawing theoretical inspiration from, among others, Norbert Elias. Qualitative methods are used for data collection in this project (i.e. interviews, observations, and document analysis).

This project will contribute with specific knowledge about

  1. the gymnastics curriculum in the BA programmes in PE,
  2. the connection between theory and practice in PE,
  3. research based teaching in practical courses in BA programmes in PE, and
  4. the interplay between university education and labour market needs.

The project started in October 2020 and is expected to be completed in late 2025.

When articles related to the project are published, they will be featured on this page.


Andorra Lynn Jensen
PhD student



The project explores connections between awareness of climate change, culture and dance and visual arts as different forms of expression.

Børn fra Cape Town

It involves school children in Cape Town and Copenhagen as well as artists, teachers and researchers from both cities.

It is related to the UN 2030 Goals for Sustainable Development as it focuses on how culture and nature are phenomena that influence each other, what are similarities and differences South and North of the Equator.

The project seeks to answer what children can learn through such collaborations about themselves, others and their surroundings and how connections can be created between the children’s experiences and expressions, both in artistic formats and as alternative forms of reflection.


University of Cape Town School of Dance

Peter Clarke Art Centre i Cape Town.

Funded by

Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science

Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces

Municipality of Copenhagen

Project period:  2017 - 2020.


Associate Professor Charlotte Svendler Nielsen