Report of the 27th EAS/7th ISME European Regional Conference 2019
Conference theme: “The School I’d Like” – Music Education meeting the needs of children and young people of today.
Malmö, Sweden, 15 to 18 May, 2019
By the Conference Team at Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University, Sweden.
It is amazing how much time, effort and work that has been put into realizing an idea that came about four years ago. It has been a great pleasure to plan, host and harvest such a great event. Inspired by previous EAS conferences we wanted to offer a powerful platform for new perspectives with a vision: Changing the world with music education – by highlighting perspectives and perceptions of music education today by those who matters most – the students, at all levels.
The Conference in Malmö was a combined EAS and ISME Regional Conference. It was our great pleasure to host the EAS board as well as the whole executive ISME board during their meetings in Malmö. Both boards used the opportunity of the conference to meet and organize different activities before and during the conference.
Facts and Figures
For this conference in Malmö a digital submission portal was used together with submission guidelines to facilitate the submission process. In total 260 submissions from 42 different countries were submitted and sent to be blind peer-reviewed by the internationally composed Review Committee. Finally the Review Committee accepted 77 presentations, 18 posters, 6 symposia, 1 structured poster session and 16 workshops to be presented at the conference. 10 business meetings/open space meeting was held during the conference such as SFG meetings, MTA meeting and EAS symposium “Advocating for Music Education”. A total of 360 delegates from around the globe attended this vibrant setting during the conference in Malmö!
The 27th EAS/7th ISME Regional Conference was officially opened on 15th May by the Opening Ceremony at Palladium Concert Hall at the heart of Malmö. The Opening Ceremony consisted of speeches by Deputy Mayor Frida Trollmyr, Deputy Chairman of the Culture Committee Region Skåne Cristina Glad, Pro Vice Chancellor Bo Ahrén, Rector Ann-Charlotte Carlén, the EAS president Gerhard Sammer, the ISME president Susan O’Neill and Tommy Lindskog and Anna Houmann, chairs of the Conference Team. As conference chairs, they gave a big thanks for all the support from the EAS and ISME boards and a short introduction to the theme of the conference. Intertwined with the speeches music was performed by the percussion class at Malmö Academy of Music, Malmö Girls Choir from Malmö Arts and Music School and Keys to Happiness with students from the Pop and Rock Department at Malmö Academy of Music.
During the conference, four keynote speeches with the following titles took place: Gary McPherson (AUS): “The Music Education I’d Like”, Eva Sæther (SWE): “Identity, voice, and agency: Perspectives on glocalizing El Sistema in Malmö”, Anton Hemström (SWE): ”Music with a higher purpose” and Lucie Niemelä (SWE): “Teaching the unteachable”.
Go green conference
Since Malmö Academy of Music is a certified environmental institution it was very logical to make this conference a “Go-green-conference”. We used no, or very little, plastic material, the food was organic, we handed out metal bottles to all delegates to fill with water, which in Sweden is drinkable from almost every tap. Programs were printed only for those who specifically requested one. An app, Whova, was used during the entire conference and before, partly in order to save the environment, but also to facilitate updating of the program and for communication between the conference team and delegates as well as between delegates. Care for the environment was one of the guidelines throughout the conference as were the use of only locally produced and organic food and drinks, which also contributed to support local dealers and companies.
The application was a big help in making the conference reduce paper waste since the number of printed programs could be limited. The app also served as a perfect communication tool for the delegates. In fact, many of the delegates made contact weeks before the conference through the app. The app also helped keep the schedule and everything else up to date which would not have been possible using only a printed program.
Stories in ME
Parallel to the Call for submissions of practice and research papers and sessions to the EAS conference 2019 we were on a quest to highlight the voices of children and young people, students at all school levels, around the globe. Placing students’ views, ideas, reflections and experiences in the centre of the debate, the conference displayed entries such as videos, essays, songs, essays, short statements etc. We were sent, amongst other things, 32 videos and 300 statements from children around the globe. These illustrations, of how the learning environment within music education is experienced by today’s children and how music education could or should be experienced in the future, will also be displayed on a Facebook page that will continuously pose questions and further discuss the reconstruction of music teaching and learning for the 21st century.
The EAS Student Forum and EAS Doctoral Student Forum
The 17th EAS Student Forum was held from May 14-17th alongside the main conference. 25 delegates from different member countries exchanged ideas and songs from their home countries under the leadership of Bernd Clausen (Germany), Hanna Orrenmaa (Finland), Mara Vaickovska (Latvia) and Alexander Palmgren (Sweden).
On the first evening both the EAS and ISME board, was invited to an International Buffet, consisting of food from different countries brought by SF and DSF students.
The theme of the Student Forum was in line with the main conference theme: “The School I’d Like” – Bringing About Change in Music Education. The forum included practical and creative music making, discussions focused on the theme and participation in selected conference activities, and group work. In between intense discussions the students took part in workshops as for example the STUND-workshop led by Herman Müntzing. The forum provided with rich opportunities to share and exchange experiences and views of teaching and music teacher training. The student forum finally presented their work during a session at the main conference on Friday morning.
14 doctoral students, at different stages of their studies from all over the world, joined the Doctoral Student Forum May 14-16th. During the forum the students presented and discussed their projects in several aspects such as key issues, terminology, theoretical principles or methodology. The forum also included peer led discussions, workshops and one to one supervision given by Prof. Dr. Thade Buchborn (University of Music Freiburg, Germany), Andreas Lehmann-Wermser (Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover, Germany) and Isolde Malmberg (Hochschule für Musik und Theater Rostock, Germany). Finally the forum culminated in a dedicated DSF poster session at the main conference.
On Wednesday, May 15th, prior to the Conference Registration, School Visits were organized. Attendees had the opportunity to visit schools in the Malmö city area. 36 people registered for the School Visit (and a few more joined in the same morning) and was put in smaller groups to be taken by bus or by foot to different schools. Participants attended music lessons and entered into dialogue with music teachers after the lessons.
Concerts and Keynote music
Of course music performances were an important contribution to the conference. In addition to the before mentioned music performance at the Opening Ceremony, on Thursday the Malmö Music Academy Symphony Orchestra, led by Timothy Henty, performed music by S. Prokofiev and R. Martinsson, recent professor at the academy. The concert ended with the orchestra playing together with a big group of children from the El Sistema program of Malmö Arts and Music school.
At the Malmö City Hall, the Mayor of Malmö kindly offered a great dinner and delegates were greeted on the way up to the great hall by a woodwind trio from the Malmö Academy of Music and during the dinner students from the Folk and World Music department performed Swedish folk music. The fabulous night ended with excellent dance music performed by the local group The Juicy Fruits.
All keynotes were framed by music; a brass quintet accompanied Gary McPherson´s speech, pupils and teachers from the Malmö Arts and Music school El Sistema program supported Eva Sæther´s keynote and Lucie Niemelä, student from the Singer/Songwriter program at Malmö Academy of Music, performed her own piece at the final keynote.
The Closing Ceremony took place at the Clarion Hotel in Malmö and had a grand opening performance by the Amazing Drummers from Malmö Arts and Music School, a group of 8 young musicians together with their teacher. A jazz group, Ebba Dankel trio, from Malmö Latin Upper Secondary School, rounded up the musical frame and speeches were held by the hosts as well as the new EAS president Thomas De Baets. Michele Biasutti presented, through a video, the next EAS conference which will take place in the wonderful city of Padua, Italy. The closing act was a musical piece composed by short recordings by the 2019 EAS Conference delegates during the conference days with the aid of a music program, Sound Trap. It was performed and displayed on a screen together with pictures taken during the conference as a sort of musical sum up of the Conference 2019.
A new board was elected during the EAS General Meeting on Friday afternoon. The new board consists of Thomas De Baets (President, BE), Isolde Malmberg (Vice President, DE), Gerhard Sammer (Past President, DE), Marina Gall (Secretary, UK), Lina van Dooren (Treasurer, SE) Andreas Bernhofer (AT), Ruta Girdzijauskiene (LT), Sezen Özeke (TR), Nikos Zafranas (GR) and co-opted board members: Michele Biasutti (IT), Mara Vaickovska (student, LV) and Diletta Bibbo (student, IT).
We want to say a big thank you to the great work of the keynote speakers and all the presenters, which filled the conference with inspiring ideas, vivid discussions, provoking and engaging us all to move closer to the vision: Changing the world with music education!
Thank you to the conference team and all student helpers, who made this event to an extraordinary one. We couldn’t have done it without your commitment, engagement and positive drive!
Thank you to the Malmö Academy of Music and the sponsors for their support during the conference. Finally, thank you to the EAS and ISME Board for their support in the realization this big adventure.