Bildung is necessary for the creation of a sustainable future. Dialogue about our Bildung ideal ensures an open and constructively critical approach to discussions about the future. The Bildung+ project aims to highlight Bildung as a force for change in society and a cross-generational responsibility.


This is what´s happening right now.


Solving the new types of problems that cast a shadow over our future – such as climate change and biodiversity loss – requires deep societal transformation. For change of the required magnitude to be achieved and for that change to be sufficiently permanent, there is a need for renewal at the level of our values and ideals. Bildung that evolves over time gives us the capacity to respond to problems, even if they are wicked problems.

We also need to ensure that our ideals of Bildung are not constrained to mere competence development or empty phrases in speeches. There is a need for responsible efforts throughout society and across sectors. In addition to knowledge and skills, ethical and societal Bildung must play an important role in the creation of a sustainable future.

The social transformation that we will all face requires Bildung that gives us the capacity to reform and the wherewithal to respond to today’s wicked problems. This also creates meaning and well-being that can replace consumerism. Our project will increase the value of traditional Bildung as well as update and expand the Bildung ideal and all it encompasses. Hence the “plus” in the title of the project. The project was launched in spring 2020 and will run until June 2022.

Finnish Bildung has traditionally been strong. We have basic education that has been ranked as the best in the world, free higher education, an extensive network of liberal adult education providers that spans the entire country and strong cultural institutions. Nevertheless, while the discussion around Bildung – which implies a broader concept than competence – slowed during the past decades, it is picking up again. The Bildung+ project wants to support this renewed debate together with the sector’s participants.

The goals of the Bildung+ project are:

What are we doing?

We work across the board with various participants in the field of Bildung. We are involved in several projects (either as a funding provider or as some other type of partner) that promote the development of a new narrative on Bildung and the strengthening of new kinds of related activities. The projects share our goal of enhancing the public discussion around the subject.

Our activities also include producing reports on topics related to Bildung. We are interested in, for instance, how – and what kind of – Bildung ideals influence society and how these themes are reflected in the media and on social media. We also explore the connection between Bildung and nature, examining what is the place of people in the Bildung ideal and in nature.

We organise discussion events and workshops related to Bildung. For example, Bildung+ breakfast meetings are a series of online discussions aimed at those interested in the concept. The focus is on working together to find a common direction during this period of wicked problems. Past topics of these breakfast meetings have included the ideals of lifelong learning, black feminism perspectives, the contributions of recent research to the discussion around Bildung and scientific Bildung. We also participate in events and stimulate discussion at events such as the Kuntamarkkinat fair and the Educa fair.

In addition to participating in events, we publish a series of articles on Bildung-related topics and projects and experts in the subject also address associated themes in their blogs and articles.

Where are we now?

The last Bildung+ projects and reports will be completed when the project ends in early summer 2022. Before the project ends, round-table discussions will be held on the relationship between Bildung and Sitra’s overarching themes of democracy, sustainability and the data economy. There are also plans for a publication on the relationship between Bildung and future-oriented work or tools for thinking about the future of Bildung (related to the weak signals of Bildung, for example) as well as a publication that summarises all of the work done by the Bildung+ projects.

Who is involved?

Sitra’s Bildung+ project involves a wide range of participants. They include both traditional Bildung participants as well as entirely new participants that may not have previously identified as being part of Bildung.



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