BIBAC 2016 Keynote Speakers

Keynote 1
Prof. Liora Bresler

Title: Intercultural travels: Tourists, habitat dwellers, and interpretive zoners

Abstract: In this talk I discuss different kinds of intercultural, interdisciplinary travels, each with their distinct style of social interactions and practices. Disciplines are cultures of their own, some more homogenous than others, complete with their value systems, languages, etiquette, and customs. Academic interculturality in the arts and arts education is manifested in the increasing crossing of intellectual and artistic genres, media, and institutional boundaries. I address the uses, ethos and structures of academic tourism, constructed to enhance perspectives on one’s work and minimize culture shock; the immersion in languages, ways of doing and interacting and the full commitment involved in shifting habitats; and the mutual learning across disciplines in interpretive zones as researchers bring together their various areas of knowledge, cultural background and beliefs, to forge new meanings through the process of joint inquiry. Rather than the hierarchy of the “goldilocks model” (too little, too much, just right), each serves particular research goals and researcher’s circumstances and proclivities.

I consider relevant pedagogies to support students’ research quests and aspirations as they pursue the “great work of their life” (Cope, 2012). Rather than the exclusive focus on disciplinary contents, vocabulary and skills, academic interculturality requires the cultivation of dispositions and habits of mind. These include interplay between expertise and “beginner’s mind” and a “three-pronged connection” attuned to both subject matter and respective communities of practice. Based on my own learning and teaching experiences of each of these travels, I reflect on the outer and inner journeys they engender, and what it can mean for identity and evolving academic career.


Keynote 2
Prof. Heidi Westerlund

Title: Visions for intercultural teacher education: Sociological angles and cross – cultural lessons from Finland, Israel, Cambodia and Nepal

Abstract: The presentation leans on recent research that argues that 21st century universities and teacher education should be re-thought as ‘learning institutions’, ‘imagining universities’ and ‘mobilizing networks’ that enable mobility, interactivity and cross-national collaborations. This urge for change and collaboration can be seen as standing in contrast with global expectations for teacher education programs to preserve local traditions (e.g. UNESCO Strategy on Teachers 2012-2015). With this troubling tension at the center, and by applying Manuel Castells’ sociological categories of collective identities, this presentation examines the potential for intercultural identity to be considered as Project identity of 21st century music teacher education. Project identity, with its aim to change society by introducing new sets of values and redefine the actors’ positions in society, is seen to infuse change into the entire music teacher education program. While not denying the value of musical traditions and sets of musical and pedagogical skills, thinking about music teacher education through collective intercultural identity forces our examination to move beyond them. The presentation uses examples from the Sibelius Academy’s cross-cultural developmental research projects in Finland, Cambodia, Israel and Nepal to illustrate how collective Resistance identities can bring plurality to Legitimization identity. These identities, however, are limited when pluralism is taken as the core value in music teacher education. Intercultural identity could be seen to develop reflexive, activist cosmopolitan professional attitudes that can deal with ambivalence, social struggle and change. Consequently, such attitudes may change the still influential aesthetic tradition of depoliticizing music education and understandings grounded only on ‘neutral’ musical skills; they also challenge praxial and multicultural approaches that are mainly concerned with preservation and authenticity of the what’s and how’s of learning music. With intercultural identity as the driving force in music education, we may perhaps better learn how to deal with diversity, rather than simply about diversity.

Heidi Westerlund is professor at the Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland. She has published widely in international journals and books and she is the co-editor of Collaborative learning in higher music education. She has served as an Associate Editor or reviewer in several international journals and she is the Editor-in-chief of the Finnish Journal of Music Education. Her current research interests cover teacher education, higher music education, collaborative learning, cultural diversity and democracy in music education. She is the leader of two research projects funded by the Academy of Finland: The arts as public service: Strategic steps towards equality (2015-2020) and Global visions through mobilizing networks: Co-developing intercultural music teacher education in Finland, Israel and Nepal (2015-2019).


Keynote 3
Prof. Nicholas Cook 

Title: Hearing the Relational in Music

Abstract: The core insight of Nicolas Bourriaud’s ‘relational aesthetics’ is that art is not solely addressed to the individual but creates relationships between its spectators. The same is true of music but musicologists have neglected it.

Neither approaches grounded in the patterning of tones in motion nor those based on constructions of subjectivity—neither the old nor the ‘new’ musicology—adequately address music’s role in the construction and negotiation of relationships at both individual and group level. Music’s ability to shape real-time social interaction, facilitate the construction and negotiation of personal and collective identities, and both symbolise and enact human relationships extends far beyond such explicitly relational practices of music as therapy and conflict transformation.

When Ingrid Monson speaks of ‘an interactive, relational theory of music and meaning’, she means an understanding of music as the interaction of human agents and not simply a sonic practice. For Georgina Born the word denotes a musicology that ‘addresses different orders of the social in music and their complex interrelations’. Coming from music history and theory rather than from ethnomusicology or anthropology, I see ‘relational musicology’ as an opportunity to fuse the relational dimensions of music with a more traditional musicological emphasis on close reading of notated or acoustic texts coupled to thick, contextualised description.

In this talk I attempt to stake out the field through calling on case studies that spread out from the idea of musical encounter to incorporate traditions, repertories, and individuals ranging from jazz to the string quartet, from the Hindostannie air to Debussy and the gamelan, from Samuel Taylor Coleridge to the Kronos Quartet, and from the real to virtual worlds. My aim is to weave these, and other, case studies into a methodologically coherent approach that traces the social dimensions of performative and intercultural encounters in music.


Keynote 4
Prof. Eva Saether 

Title: Social Sustainability and Education Reform

Abstract: Based on research on how Malmö is developing into an increasingly segregated city, Malmö started an ambitious work – The Malmö Commission – in order to prevent even larger gaps, and promote inclusion, a sustainable Malmö. The commission suggests more democratic processes by so called alliances of knowledge, inviting different types of knowledge. This gave more attention to the arts and culture, and paved the way for El Sistema in Malmö. El Sistema started in Malmö in 2013, at two schools in a segregated area, with 450 children involved.

Research on how El Sistema challenges current discourses in Swedish music education (Lindgren & Bergman 2014), points at the unexpected focus on classical music – in a time when popular music is the hegemonic genre in Swedish music class rooms, and how El Sistema can be interpreted as a community music project, within institutional frames, asking new competences from the involved music teachers.

It is too early to say anything about the long term effects of El Sistema in Malmö. To the music teachers, El Sistema has offered a possibility to expand the frames for the music teacher profession, to develop collaborative teaching methods, and to reflect on moral and political dimensions of being a music teacher. This is done in music, legato – softly connected (or loosely coupled) with the official rhetoric.

The fieldwork period was designed with inspiration from the concept sensuous scholarship introduced by the American anthropologist Paul Stoller. The concept implies that researchers need to include all senses in their work, and to rethink their being in the field “culture, society and power are continuously, negotiated, renegotiated, foregrounded, backgrounded, remembered and forgotten in our relations with one another in our orientation to a greater whole” (p. 820). In my fieldwork I chose to include my fiddle to help in the negotiations of these relations.