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This is The Cultural Schoolbag

The Cultural Schoolbag (DKS) is a nationwide programme to ensure that all school pupils in Norway experience professional arts and culture. It’s the only programme of its kind in the world.

The programme gives pupils the opportunity to experience, become familiar with and develop an understanding of professional artistic and cultural expressions. The activities must be of high quality and cover the entire spectrum of artistic expressions – from film, literature, music and cultural heritage, to performing and visual arts.

The Cultural Schoolbag has been part of the government’s culture policy for primary and lower secondary school pupils since 2001. Upper secondary school pupils were later incorporated into the programme. This means that all pupils currently experience professional art and culture through DKS.


The Cultural Schoolbag is a collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and Equality and the Ministry of Education and Research, and with all counties and municipalities in Norway. Kulturtanken – Arts for Young Audiences Norway was given national responsibility for the programme in 2016. In other words, DKS is a collaborative project between the cultural and education sectors on the national, regional and local levels and encompasses all schools in Norway. The counties are responsible for regional coordination and programming, although the municipalities may also develop their own programmes.

Kulturtanken Arts for Young Audiences Norway is the national agency responsible for managing, quality assuring and developing the The Cultural Schoolbag. In addition to being responsible for the national coordination of quality development and collaboration within the programme, Kulturtanken also helps ensure that the activities interact with school curricula and the development of a joint understanding and involvement of the art, cultural and education sectors. Kulturtanken is responsible for distributing lottery funding (from profits earned by Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian state lottery operator), obtaining reports and preparing the national annual report for DKS. Kulturtanken does not have any decision-making authority regarding the local DKS programmes. Read more about Kulturtanken – Arts for Young Audiences Norway here: www.kulturtanken.no

DKS in schools

The Cultural Schoolbag can be considered part of the school’s educational mission and should support the curriculum objectives. It is important that school management, teachers and pupils are involved and included as central participants in the DKS programme. Together we can further develop diverse and relevant DKS activities that align with school curricula.

DKS productions can increase awareness of art and culture in education, enabling the programme to serve as a resource for achieving the school’s objectives, both in terms of the curriculum and benchmarks for various subjects.

“The school and cultural sectors should cooperate closely on the Cultural Rucksack at every level. The schools should be involved in the programme and given time to plan for the various activities.”

Source: Objectives and Principles of the Cultural Rucksack. Report no. 8 (2007-2008): “A Cultural Rucksack for the Future”)

Governing principles for DKS

The Cultural Schoolbag will:

  • be a free service for all children and young people in primary and secondary schools, and will be offered on a regular basis
  • ensure that children and young people are given equal access to professional art and cultural services of high quality, regardless of where they live, to help them understand and become familiar with a wide range of cultural expressions
  • contribute to the education and formation of children and young people, as stated in the core curriculum and subject curricula
  • disseminate cultural services that are viewed as relevant and that represent a culturally diverse range of services and practitioners
  • maintain a collaborative function for the cultural sector and the educational sector at all levels, to ensure the appropriate planning, embedding and facilitation
  • assist in strengthening the Norwegian language, Sami languages, minority languages in Norway, as well as Norwegian sign language as fundamental carriers of culture
  • assist in conveying arts and culture services to kindergarten children

Source: Report no. 18 (2020-21) «Oppleve, skape, dele – Kunst og kultur for, med og av barn og unge»