The ECA Network grew out of NORDPLUS for Higher Education’s programs dating back to 1998, when Arts Academy (Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland) Senior Lecturer, composer-musician David Yoken, first created a small university level inter-disciplinary arts partnership with the Greenlandic Arts School, Nuuk, Greenland; the Akureyri School of Visual Arts, Akureyri, Iceland; and the Department of Dance, Arts Academy, Turku, Finland. With the so very positive experiences of bringing even this small group of diverse institutions together, NORDPLUS has been supporting the further growth and development of this innovative educational platform every year since 1998. The specific and immediate history of the ECA Network began in 2004 with support from the Leonardo da Vinci programme – The European Programme for Vocational Education and Training grant. With this Leonardo support a group of university dance and music pedagogues from Finland (Arts Academy, Turku and the Kuopio Academy of Music and Dance, Kuopio), Sweden (The Royal College of Music, Stockholm and the University College of Dance, Stockholm) and Denmark (Danish National School of Contemporary Dance, Copenhagen) traveled to London for an “exchange of expertise” with staff musicians and dance teachers at the Royal School of Ballet, The Laban Centre, and the London School of Contemporary Dance. After this London residency it was determined that dance and music in our respective university level art institutions was an important area to develop. We called this network “Explorations in Music and Dance / The EMD Network”. The concept of this network was to offer teacher and student mobility between the partner institutions and offer intensive courses where dance and music students would have the opportunity to explore meaningful collaborative creative studies and further their knowledge and awareness of each other’s art forms.
Over the past few years, we have had compelling and positive results in the inclusion of Film, or the specific genre called “Physical Cinema” in our network. Intensive courses have brought together choreographers and film directors who share a common language of narrative / non-narrative time and space. Story board writing, camera and lighting technique, as well as other areas of film making have been explored by both the student dancers and film makers: again communication and multi-professional teamwork (MPT) form the center of the collaborative relationship between the students. As we now are looking beyond dance and music, and know the importance of our network’s theme being the “matrix of the arts”, we have chosen a new name, Explorations and Collaborations in the Arts / The E.C.A. Network to reflect broader and more diverse possibilities that may be offered to our growing number of partner art institutions of higher education.
The ECA Network is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Baltic Countries through
the Nordplus Higher Education Programme.