The partnership and collaboration between three Nordic higher education institutions:

  1. Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland
  2. Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  3. Zealand University College of Social Education, Roskilde, Denmark


Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland 

EijaEija Raatikainen, PhD, is Senior lecturer in University of Applied Sciences of Metropolia in Social Service programme. Her academic focus in “Trust” as a phenomena in different field, as like in social work and educational practice. She also work as the Vocational teacher educator in University of Applied of Sciences of HAAGA-HELIA in the teacher education programme. In addition, She has a five years’ experience as an academic coordinator in  multicultural and multiprofessional Erasmus Intensive Programme(Poverty and Social Exclusion (2011-2013) and Combating Risk behavior Among Youngster (2014-2015).She has also worked in project concerning multiculturalism in Metropolia.  She has recently published a learning book called “Make a Trust stronger – how to build a trusting relationship with client in the field of social – and healthcare” (PS-kustannus 2015/ )

SeijaSeija Mäenpää has a Master’s Degree in Art Education and currently works for Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in the Social Wellbeing Unit. She specializes in combining a social pedagogical approach with visual arts in working with different people in social work sector. Visual arts education is one focus of her collaboration projects in early childhood education. She is a founding member of the INECS network (International Network for Creative Professionals in Education of Social Pedagogical Work Her vocation is to make visual arts activities and visual culture accessible for everyone.

Leigh Anne Rauhala (MSW) is a Licensed Mental Health Social Worker (LCSW) from the USA
working in the Social Wellbeing Unit.  Her work experience has been focused in the community mental health sector focusing at different times on children’s therapeutic services, crisis assessment and program management.  She is interested in internationalization and works as an International Mobility Coordinator for the Social Wellbeing Unit and her current teaching areas are: Social Pedagogy, Mental Health, Counseling, Ethics and Empowerment.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

EllenEllen Foyn Bruun is Associate Professor at the Department of Art and Media Studies, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Her professional drama and theatre background is in stage directing, dramaturgy and playwriting. She has broad experience in drama and theatre teaching on all levels and is also a trained dramatherapist. At NTNU she is head of the Drama and Theatre Programme and teaches on bachelor and master level. Her research seeks to develop holistic and embodied practices and learning processes where empathy and aesthetic learning are areas of continuous investigation and practical arts-based exploration. Ellen has collaborated with David Keir Wright for many years and since 2009 explored the integration of voicework in drama education and therapy through practice as research. Ellen has published several articles, written plays and contributed to books on drama and theatre practice. For more information and publication list:

HeliHeli Aaltonen, PhD, is Associate professor (NTNU Trondheim) in Drama and theatre studies. Heli’s mother tongue is Finnish. Her everyday life is multilingual, and she is very experienced in international collaboration. She is an applied theatre and performance researcher, performing storyteller and theatre/drama educator with a specialization in intercultural child and youth theatre practices and ecocritical storytelling. She has written her doctoral thesis in 2006, in the context of a non-governmental organization European Drama Encounter, EDERED. In 2010 – 2011 she was an artistic leader of multilingual Nordic Voices project, where the art educational focus was to celebrate oral storytelling and encourage adults and children to share stories with each other. At the moment she is interested in her research work and teaching combination of empathy, nature, green drama and nature storytelling.

DavidDavid Keir Wright is independent Drama Practitioner-Researcher. Scottish Internationalist. BA(England). BA (Denmark). MPhil (Norway). David has worked as a drama educator in schools. He was a student counsellor and drama lecturer at a University College in Denmark for many years and lectured part-time in Drama Education at Copenhagen University and the University in Trondheim. David has been involved in drama education and in a variety of educational and cultural projects in the field of drama and theatre in Nordic countries since 1967. Published articles in Scandinavian periodicals, international conference publications and has co-authored books on drama and theatre work in Denmark and Norway. He is an associate member the International Drama and Theatre in Education Association (IDEA) and the Roy Hart International Arts Association. David’s current research interest is the Alfred Wolfsohn/Roy Hart voice work and the integration of the aesthetic practice in drama education and dramatherapy.


Zealand University College of Social Education, Roskilde, Denmark 

MereteMerete Sørensen (Phd) is an associate professor teaching drama, early childhood education and social pedagogy in University College Zealand Denmark. I am holding a MA in Drama and Aesthetic Leaning Processes and I am going to defend my Ph.D. on Play, Drama and Aesthetic Learning ultimo Marts 2015. I have been involved in and leader of several research and development studies, and I am the co-creator and coordinator of our international minor: Aesthetic and Learning in Early Childhood Education.

With my colleague Bennyé Austring, researcher UC Zealand and a member of this project group I have written a book and several other publications on Aesthetics and Learning.

I am very interested in the relation between feelings and reflections and the way creative work using the arts in all its many languages can be a way to combine this usually separated ways of gaining knowledge about yourself and the world you are a part of.


Bennyé D Austring UCZ international coordinator.

I am a former actor and play writer, now an international coordinator and project manager at UCZ and a consultant of the Danish Agency for Culture.

Also I am also the author of several articles on creativity and aesthetics & learning, lately these:


“Towards a learning-oriented aesthetics concept”, National College of Education, Hanoi 2015

“Developing Education across Continents”. National College of Education, Hanoi 2015

“Socialpædagogik og digital literacy”. UCSJ Forlag 2015

”Æstetik og skole- fritidspædagogik”, Akademisk Forlag 2015

”Æstetik og socialpædagogik”. Akademisk Forlag 2015

”Æstetik og forskning” i ”Børn, Kunst, Kultur – i en hverdag der du’r”. Kulturstyrelsen 2014

“Narration assists children in figuring out the world”.  UCSJ 2013.


Basically my interest in the Qualified Empathy-project is to combine the great cultural and didactic potentials of aesthetic learning processes with empathy development in social care education and praxis.