The LALI Project

In post-industrial societies, employment and social inclusion depend crucially on the acquisition of basic and soft skills (e.g. home and/or local language literacy, intercultural communication and social abilities). Research shows that low-qualified and low-skilled adults are economically and socially marginalized: they occupy low-wage jobs while their low competence in literacy contributes to low self-esteem. Therefore, the development of new pedagogical tools aiming at promoting basic and soft skills among low-qualified adults and foreign language and culture among migrants is crucial both at the individual level (personal growth) and at the social level (fairer and more equal society).

The Language and literacy learning through art project (LALI) embeds language and literacy learning in cultural education by articulating activities in museums and activities in classrooms. An IT application “Art App” will be developed to support and reinforce the learning that takes place in museums. The quality of the whole process will be assessed through a video-based tool. LALI will evolve furthermore a toolkit to language teachers and trainers to improve their pedagogical skills. Lastly, LALI will offer access to the different products and kits for professionals through this webpage.

LALI addresses the needs and social inclusion of adults with low qualifications and low literacy levels, mostly migrants, who have arrived recently or did not acquire the local language / literacy skills despite a long stay in their new environment. LALI contributes to the possibility of their further learning and employability by proposing pedagogical tools aiming at developing basic skills (language, literacy and to a minor degree digital skills), creating collaborative environments for learning, valorising their particular cultural identities, and using the encounter with art to address what is universally human.

Language and Literacy Learning Through Art

The Language and literacy learning through art (LALI) project embeds language and literacy learning in cultural education by articulating tasks in museums and classrooms. Thus, in addition to classrooms, learning is transferred into a real-world environment, specifically, to a museum that creates stimulating conditions for peer learning. Art (i.e., a central component of culture) therefore becomes a vital resource for fostering social and linguistic integration.

To get an idea of the theoretical and methodological considerations that provide the ground for this undertaking, please have a look at our manual.

This manual is part of the set of different products and kits for professionals that will be available through an online resource centre created by LALI. All contents are considered creative commons. Please, feel free to browse through our webpage, get inspired and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Art Mediation for Language Learning

Building on the methodological and theoretical pillars of our manual, this section offers a set of practical activities to lead in museums and classrooms to develop language, literacy and soft skills for adults with low qualifications.

We provide modules, consisting in preparatory activities in a classroom setting, as well as practical tasks for the museum setting. We also provide ideas for post-visit tasks that can be used to wrap up the experience in the museum.



Testing of LALI materials in Finland, Austria and France

In Turku (FI), the first workshops following the LALI approach were organized during autumn 2018. Currently, we’re organizing the workshops for the second target group. The first group included participants with various backgrounds, including various countries of origin and first languages (such as Somali, Arabic, Persian, Albanian, and Thai). The youngest participants were in their 20s, some having stayed in Finland only a few months, while the oldest participants were in their 50s or 60s and had stayed in Finland for over thirty years. This heterogeneity is rather common for Finnish as a second language teaching groups for immigrants in Finland. The second group was relatively more homogenous, as the participants were stay-at-home mothers with young children. Yet also for the second group, the backgrounds of the participants were varied, including first languages such as Arabic, Persian, and Somali. In both groups, we have been happy to see how the participants engage in the LALI activities combining language learning and art mediation. The participants have enjoyed especially the interactive nature of the activities, the artistic activities, as well as visits to the Turku Art Museum. During the workshops, the participants have been able to develop their vocabulary knowledge as well as have been able to learn about both Finnish culture and each others’ cultural backgrounds through discussions prompted by the artworks.


Feedback by Pilot course participants

• I learnt many new things and subjects
• the paintings help me to learn and understand and to remember the words better
• I liked the visits to the museums
• I liked looking at the paintings
• I liked making up stories
• I liked working in groups
• I liked drawing and artistic activities
• the teachers spoke clearly, they were good and young
• you got enough help if you didn’t understand
• it was good that we didn’t get any homework
• the atmosphere was cheerful

Negative / suggested improvements
• bad weather on the way to the museum / bad season
• the location of the museum on a hill
• more discussion
• more homework, because there was no homework

Reactions by facilitators of the pilot course

• Getting to know Finnish art history, contact with Finnish culture
• Language learning through pictures, artwork as educational material
• Taking into account cultural differences in teaching
• The studying environment (museum)
• Getting the chance to visit a museum, free admission for the participants
• Teaching in tandem (art and language experts)


The courses in Austria took place in two very different venues: Stand 129 – a market stall that functions as art & community hub in one of the most densely populated districts of Vienna, and Bank Austria Kunstforum – an exhibition space for modern and contemporary art in Vienna’s city centre that was currently showing an exhibition named “Fascination Japan”. For both target groups, the course was structured in weekly preparatory classes in a classroom setting at Stand 129 that focused on vocabulary and grammar and prepared for the weekly museum sessions in Kunstforum Wien. In the exhibition space, participants were often encouraged to explore for themselves, choose artworks of their liking and find the thematic connections in the broad collection of modernist paintings, precious Japanese prints and drawings. Participants appreciated working together and were most engaged when tasks had a clear connection to themselves or they could find parallels to their own background (e.g. through relating Japanese myths to Syrian myths). The course followed a thematic structure with topics that were discernible in the exhibition as well as pertinent for the participants’ applied language. Topics included “Eating and Drinking”, “Nature and Animals”, “City and Countryside”, as well as “Stories and Myths”, amongst other things. In both locations learning was attentive to already existing knowledge of the participants, co-learning was encouraged and multilingualism was appreciated. The topic of the exhibition encouraged further thinking about intercultural adaptations and valorisation of cultural diversity. In addition to improving their language skills, participants valued getting to know new people and learning about Japan.

Feedback by pilot course paticipants

“I also learned a little self-confidence that when I´m writing because I was afraid, I didn’t dare…but now it´s much, much better, I can write free sentences, although there are mistakes in there anyway but you just learn from your mistakes and you will slowly get better.” (Fatima)

“This course is good cause because you learn fast. I would like to do it again. The paintings and posters support the German learning process.
During the course I still had problems with understanding texts but I got familiar with so many words, even if I don’t understand every one of them, I got familiar.
And I remember things. The vocabularies became bigger.” (Farbarkary)


In France the two target groups showed fundamental differences. In the language learning workshops, we worked with foreign participants, either from North African countries or from Asian countries. The learners had various objectives when arriving in France; some followed their relatives already living in Europe and intended to settle there permanently, others only planned to spend a few years in France. In the literacy learning group, we met francophone participants who had not been able to benefit from a structured educational path for various reasons. The workshops aimed at experimenting with the resources developed within the framework of the LALI project. They were all structured in the same way: a preparatory class lesson systematically preceded the museum lessons in order to provide the learners with a proper vocabulary and grammatical structures for the visits which all took place at the Musée du Louvre. All activities favored interactivity, the active participation of participants, the enhancement of their experience and semi-autonomous learning. Foreign participants considered that learning stories and customs through French works of art was an important element for their social integration. Francophone learners, on the other hand, appreciated the access to cultural places that were unfamiliar to them.


Feeback by participants of the pilot course

“It’s true that it’s interesting because as I’m telling you it’s quite late that I come (to the Louvre / to the museum). When I see that and what we saw, it’s astonishing. (…) When we see it in real life as we said, it’s different. It’s astonishing, I congratulate you, it’s great! It’s emotional. (…) I would come back every day. (…) It’s funny to see their lives (in their time) and ours, we see that it is different. It’s history. It’s true that visiting … I have no word.”  (Christine)
Feedback by facilitators of the pilot course

“The advantage of using works of art in literacy learning is that they serve more as mnemonic supports than a simple photo illustration because our learners are not used to engage with art works, which, in addition, allow a plurality of understandings and approaches.” (Pierre, facilitator and literacy teacher)

“I tested some activities that had been proposed during our training. The feedback is very positive! I had a heterogeneous group and this material allowed me to make all the learners active and to differentiate their objectives. In addition, they really appreciated being able to work on works of art and there followed a discussion about the museums and the outings to program.” (Aline, facilitator, language trainer)



The LALI ArtApp is available in Google Play Store. You can find it here:




User Manual for Android version


The LALI ArtApp will be soon available for also iOS.

User Manual for iOS version



About LALI ArtApp

The aim of the Language and Literacy Learning Through Art (LALI) project is to increase the language and literacy skills of the adults with low qualifications. In the modern technological environment, the learning process must be supported with modern devices. Nowadays, these devices are the smart phones. Therefore, a mobile application named ArtApp is implemented to help people to learn languages simply and easily.

After install the app, the user can select the language. The ArtApp is available in 4 different languages such as English, German, French and Finnish. After that, user can play a game and, in this case, a game means a quiz. A quiz includes 10 individual questions. There are two main kinds of quizzes: (1) Regular and (2) Mixed. The Regular means that the users can learn the language step-by-step mode. In a mixed game, user can get questions from all lessons. There are 11 different questions types in ArtApp, all of them have a different way to solve. There is an evaluation process after the quiz ends. Keeping questions up-to-date, a web application was implemented. New questions can be uploaded into the database through this web application.

From the point of technological view, ArtApp has a frontend and a backend. In the backend, MySQL database and web services in TomCat environment are running. There are two frontend implementations. One is Android which is done by now, the other is iOS environment which is under development phase. The ArtApp can be used from Android 5.0 (Lollipop). The web application was developed in Drupal environment.

The main architectural concept of ArtApp is the following:

Figure 1: Basic architecture of ArtApp

Here are some examples how the ArtApp works:

Figure 2: Art App Screenshots (from left to right: language selection, two examples of questions, evaluation)



Presentation of LALI ArtApp









Thesises about the LALI ArtApp

Imre Erdei, Backend development for mobile application that supports learning foreign languages through artworks (BSc Thesis, 2018)
Supervisor: Dr. László Bacsárdi (University of Sopron)

Tamás Balogh, Get to know different mobile platforms and making mobile app on the selected platforms (MSc Thesis, 2019)
Supervisor: Dr. Gergely Bencsik (University of Sopron)



Artworks used in the Finnish version of the Art App

Lesson 1
Elin Danielson-Gambogi (1861–1919): Poutapäivä (1901) Turku Art Museum collection  (Wikimedia commons)

Elin Danielson-Gambogi (1861–1919): Viinitarhassa (1898) Turku Art Museum collection (Wikimedia commons)
Gunnar Berndtson (1854–1895): Kesä (1893) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Vesa Kinnunen)

Lesson 2
Pekka Halonen (1865–1933): Iltatunnelma (1896) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Vesa Aaltonen)
Victor Westerholm (1860–1919): Kymijoen laaksosta (1901) Turku Art Museum collection

Lesson 3
Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931): Joukahaisen kosto (1897) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Kari Lehtinen)
Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931): Sammon puolustus (1896) Turku Art Museum collection

Lesson 4
Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905): Pariisin Luxembourgin puistossa (1887) Ateneum collection (Wikimedia commons)
Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905): Lopullinen luonnos teokseen Turun Akatemian vihkiäiset 1640 (1902) Turku Art Museum collection

Lesson 5
Juho Rissanen (1873–1950): Ruumiinpesijät (1908) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Kari Lehtinen)
Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905): Veräjällä (Portaan kylästä) (1889) Turku Art Museum collection
Eero Järnefelt (1863–1937): Raatajat rahanalaiset eli Kaski (1893) Ateneum collection (Wikimedia commons)

Lesson 6
Hugo Simberg (1873–1917): Perunatyttö (1901) Turku Art Museum collection
Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905): Louis Pasteurin muotokuva (1885) Musée d’Orsay collection (Wikimedia Commons)
Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905: Tohtori Emile Roux (1896) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Kari Lehtinen)

Lesson 7
Fanny Churberg (1845–1892): Asetelma (Pariisi) (1876) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Vesa Aaltonen)
Fanny Churberg (1845–1892): Asetelma (1877) Ateneum / National gallery collection (Wikimedia commons)
Wladimir Swertschkoff (1821–1888): Asetelma (Alger) (1885) Turku Art Museum collection

Lesson 8
Ali Munsterhjelm (1873–1944): Kalkkijaaloja Aurajoessa (1909) Turku Art Museum collection
Ali Munsterhjelm (1873–1944): Näkymä Aurajoelta (1930-luku) Taidesäätiö Merita collection (Wikimedia commons)
Marcus Collin (1882–1966): Sunnuntai satamassa (1914) Turku Art Museum collection

Lesson 10
Emil Wikström (1864–1942): Viattomuuden uni (1892) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Kari Lehtinen)
Georges Winter (1875–1954): Odotus (n. 1902) Turku Art Museum collection
Ville Vallgren (1855–1940): Ylpeys (1898) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Kari Lehtinen)

Lesson 11
Dora Wahlroos (1870–1947): Innoitus (Omakuva) (1895) Turku Art Museum collection (Photo: Vesa Kinnunen)
Helene Schjerfbeck (1862–1946): Omakuva (1915) Turku Art Museum collection
Elin Danielson-Gambogi (1861–1919): Elin Omakuva (n.1899) Turku Art Museum collection
Elin Danielson-Gambogi (1861–1919): Omakuva (1903) Turku Art Museum collection
Elin Danielson-Gambogi (1861–1919): Omakuva (1900) Ateneum collection (Wikimedia commons)
Dora Wahlroos (1870–1947): Omakuva (1943) Turku Art Museum collection
Axel Haartman (1877–1969): Omakuva maalaustelineen ääressä (1899) Turku Art Museum collection

Lesson 12
Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931): Poika ja varis (1884) Ateneum collection (Wikimedia commons)
Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865–1931): Akka ja kissa (1885) Turku Art Museum collection

Focus on Trainer’s Skills
To test the impact of our trainings and evaluate the proposed tasks, a video assessment methodology is about to be developed.
As a second step, a toolkit of self-development for language teachers and trainers involved with heterogeneous groups of adult learners with low educational level will be provided.


Video Assessment Methodology
Our aim is to understand how the interaction between the facilitator and the participants or among the participants works and how the artwork becomes a resource for learning something (linguistic, cultural, new knowledge…). Therefore, we provide material of exemplary phenomena to identify supportive and less supportive situations.











Toolkit of self-development
LALI proposes a toolkit of self-development for language teachers and trainers involved with heterogeneous groups of adult learners with low education level. Relying on extracts of the video corpus recorded during our pilot sessions, the video-based toolkit focuses on defining moments of a training process (rather than content) and invites teachers, trainers to develop strategies to address the challenges that come.
It serves as an essential tool for the acquisition of the LALI toolkit, but more generally, the methodology derived from it can be a useful component in the initial or continuous training of any professional working in a connected field, as it addresses key skills for trainers.

Reactions by professionals (Paris)

“For the training, I brought a video without really knowing what information to draw from it, so we analyzed it together. I leave with the confirmation that the materials that I had intuitively offered allowed my interlocutor to develop a discourse that she would not have held otherwise. And then the discussion with the other participants made me realize that I could systematize this kind of practice in my field work.” (Tom, volunteer social worker, Paris)

“When you take a closer look at the videos recorded in class, you realize very important verbal and non-verbal details. Do we give the floor to learners? What relationship we establish with them? It’s very instructive to see yourself in action, in reality, with the learners. The discussion with others around the video is really interesting.” (Malika, volunteer language trainer in Paris)

Reactions by professionals (Turku)

University of Turku: Workshop for target group

– very well made and interesting
– useful for the development of teachers’ own reflection
– the statements are very context bound and therefore difficult to use at times
– helped to see the course of action

Individual commitments that were developped at a workshop by professionals (Vienna)

Group work in Vienna

“I will ask open questions and open myself to many possible answers and new questions from participants” (language trainer, Vienna)

“I will leave more space for the participants when they learn and work on exercises.” (language trainer, Vienna)

” I will use art work to sharing with participants  aspects on their own culture.” (language trainer, Vienna)








LALI will offer access to different products and kits for professionals developed in course of the project. The materials include activities in museums, activities in classrooms, an IT application “Art App”, as well as a toolkit for language teachers and trainers.

Our Outputs:

  1. Methodological and theoretical background and curriculum: A collection of theoretical input, detailed methodology description and resources that allows us to create a new methodology combining art mediation, learning of foreign language and improvement of soft skills for adults with low qualifications.
  2. Compendium of activities to develop language and literacy through art: Building on the methodological and theoretical pillars, this output offers a set of practical activities to lead in museums and classrooms to develop language, literacy and soft skills for adults with low qualifications.


  1. “Art App”, an IT application: In the framework of the project, an innovative mobile application will be developed. It will help the user to prepare for the visits to museums (pre-visit activities) and to reinforce the acquired new knowledge and the experiences (post-visit activities).
  2. Qualitative video assessment methodology: To test the impact of our trainings and evaluate the proposed tasks, a video assessment methodology will be developed.
  3. Toolkit to focus on trainers’ skills and posture: A toolkit of self-development for language teachers and trainers involved with heterogeneous groups of adult learners with low educational level.

Materials will be available soon!

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.