In our research group we study human creative interactions with materials and the learning that takes place in this process.

We base our view on learning in embodied cognition - that is, an understanding of learning as rooted in the body.

  • “Embodied” refers to the unity of mind-body-surroundings as we interact and experience with others and with materials in the world.
  • “Making” refers to the act of changing and influencing materials and situations (in a broad sense).
  • “Learning” refers to the change and development of the individual when engaged in embodied interaction with others and materials. This includes a perspective on knowledge as an active process and as continuous change.

Being a body in the world

The group explores basic conditions and consequences of being a body in the world, experiencing and learning through working in materials and with others.

This attitude is opening up for interdisciplinary approaches and practice-based research process in multiple contexts.

The research conducted in this vein is important especially in a time when materiality is in a state of constant change and creative practitioners as well as teachers and pupils must adapt to new conditions and modalities of making.

Knowledge that can explain embodied making practice

The goal of the research group is to develop knowledge that can explain embodied making practice, understand its role for individuals, their learning and for today's society.

We do this by collaborating interdisciplinary, in close contact with the international research front in the field.

The knowledge we develop contributes locally to strengthening USN's teacher education programs, and internationally to develop knowledge about learning, teaching and creative interactions with materials.

Check out our blog.

This is how we are organized

The organizational structure of EMAL is constructed of three levels.

1. Targeting

The EMAL research leader group is headed by associate professor Camilla Groth.  

2. Coordinating

The research is coordinated within four clusters:

  • EMAL-Early Childhood Education (ECE) (lead by Kari Carlsen and Ann Hege Lorvik Waterhouse)
  • EMAL-digital (lead by Ingrid Holmboe Høibo and Lovise Søyland)
  • EMAL-teaching and learning (lead by Åsta Rimstad and Anniken Randers-Pehrson)
  • EMAL-making&materiality (lead by Kirstine Riis and Marte S. Gulliksen)

3. Research

The actual research is conducted by the group members (see members list in fact box) within their different disciplines:

  • Arts & crafts
  • Design
  • Outdoor activity education and dance
  • Pedagogy
  • Music
  • Learning sciences
  • Creativity, culture, Education

Collaboration and network

We also collaborate with

  • OsloMet
  • UiS/Grensesnitt
  • BIN-norden
  • Reggio Children International Network
  • Helsinki University
  • Aalto University
  • Turku University
  • Chalmers University
  • Göteborgs University
  • Åbo Akademi
  • National Center for Art and Culture in Education
Ongoing research projects
Ongoing PhD projects

At the PhD Program in Culture Studies:

  • Ingrid Holmboe Høibo: «Læringskultur i makerspace- korleis kan denne bidra til å forme digitale ferdigheiter i Kunst- og handverksfaget.»
  • Bård Gunnar Moe: «Skapersteder for musikalsk læring–utøvende praksis og språkterminologi i Musikkstudioproduksjon.»
  • Agnethe Tessem: «Betingelser for og konsekvensene av dybdelæring i kunst og håndverksfaget.»
  • Oksana Stelmakh «Bærekraftig estetikk i kunst og håndverksfaget: Forståelser av bærekraftig estetisk kvalitet og verdi i læreprosessen»

At the PhD Program in pedagogical resources and learning processes in kindergarten and school:

  • Mona Nicolaysen and Marie Skeie in the same project: «Barnehagens arbeidsmåter for å fremme barns ytringer i Norge og Palestina.»
Completed research projects and disputations


Group leader


PhD candidates

Associated members