Iceland’s Björk is transforming environmental education in Europe

Just before Christmas last year, government ministers across Scandinavia announced that they will introduce new innovative teaching materials produced by singer Björk to their schools.

COP21 Journey to Paris

As the world meets at the UN climate change summit in Paris, we put the spotlight on innovators who are already creating solutions around Europe.
More >>

Sign-up for updates to make sure you won’t miss a thing!

Climate-KIC makes a virtual stop in Iceland this week (8 – 14 June) as part of its journey to the UN climate change summit COP21 in Paris, and we kick off with the country’s best known environmental ambassador: global superstar Björk.

The new teaching materials introduced in Scandinavia are part of the Biophilia teaching project, which has been developed by the singer – famous for her innovative approach to music – in partnership with leading Nordic artists and scientists. The project has already been piloted in schools around the world.

One of the main aims of the project is to encourage children’s curiosity in natural science and teach them to think more creatively about nature, the environment and the climate around them.

The method tries to change the traditional way of teaching. It is based on the fundamental idea that it is best for children to start practising art with a creative process, where music, science and technology are linked in a new way.

Teachers, researchers, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and other participants work across disciplines and school classes, subjects, science and art forms to introduce creativity as an educational method and, simultaneously, to stimulate greater environmental awareness in pupils and students.

World’s first “app album”

The project started in Iceland, a nation of a little over 300.000, where the Björk Guðmundsdóttir developed the method in partnership with the University of Iceland and the City of Reykjavík Council, based on her album Biophilia from 2010.

The Biophilia album was billed as the world’s first “apps album” and was included in the collection at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMa, in New York.

Each app included in Biophilia has its own theme – in connection with a corresponding song – and combines a natural element with a musicological feature.

Björk Guðmundsdóttir
Björk Guðmundsdóttir

The layers of content in each feature include an interactive game based on the song’s scientific and musical subject matter; a musical animation of the song; an animated score; lyrics; and an academic essay.

The following areas and towns have been chosen for the pilot project in the Nordic region: Denmark: Ålborg; Finland: Kauniainen/Grankulla; The Faroe Islands: Tórshavn; Greenland: Sisimiut; Sweden: Sundsvall; The Åland Islands: Mariehamn. 

Biophilia is a three-year project, in which 2014 has been a preparatory year. The actual project is being implemented in 2015 in the participating countries and 2016 will be used for evaluation and processing the experiences.

The Biophilia educational guidelines and materials are free to use and have been made available online.

Climate-KIC’s Journey to Paris

Climate-KIC runs its Journey to Paris campaign from June until December 2015, with the UN’s crucial COP21 climate change summit as destination.

Every week for 28 weeks, Climate-KIC puts the spotlight on a different part of Europe. Join us and meet the people and initiatives who are building Europe’s low-carbon economy!

To find out how Climate-KIC is transforming climate change education across Europe, learn more about our education programmes.