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#Sharesymposium – an international meeting place

Five persons sitting on the stage. Behind them are orange rollups with photos of people dancing and the text ShareMusic & Performing Arts and #Sharesymposium.

#Sharesymposium – Leave No One Behind

Thursday October 3rd
The Academy of Music and Drama, Gothenburg, Sweden.

What a day it was at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg! Our symposiums have become wonderful opportunities for conversations, discussions and for highlighting good examples within artistic development and inclusion. But above all, they have become an important meeting place. It is amazing to see and hear how knowledge and experiences are being exchanged and contacts are being made across the arts, sectors and geographical borders. It feels important to ShareMusic in the role as a knowledge centre to be able to offer these opportunities where seeds of collaboration can grow, and many different perspectives are allowed. A meeting point with a solid ground for both future art, research and an international network.

For those of you who weren’t able to be there, and for those of you who were there but want to reminisce this lovely day, here follows a little report on the events.

When the audience started to arrive, DJ Arthro played nice, soft music in the cafeteria at the academy – to the students’ enjoyment. When everyone had taken their seat in the Sjöström hall, the head of the academy, Petra Frank, presented the day and the education with the assistance of her colleague Helena Wattström. After that, Conny Brännberg, president of the Cultural Affairs Committee in Region Västra Götaland, declared the symposium opened with a speech.

Presentation of #ShareMusicLab

During the first presentation of the day, the audience heard about our #ShareMusicLabs in Västerås and Jönköping. Nigel Osborne, who led the lab in Jönköping, presented his work and his methods. He also told us how he used the music that was created during the lab in his work with refugee children in Beirut. On stage was also Lena Eldståhl and Linda Åkesson from ShareMusic. They had participated in the lab and shared their experiences of working with the Jönköping Sinfonietta. In one part of the lab, as an example, the sinfonietta was divided in smaller groups where they worked together with a ShareMusic artist in different co-creative processes. This work was extremely different from the usual everyday work for the sinfonietta, which made many of the musicians go far beyond their comfort zone when they didn’t even get notes to play from. Through a video with filmed interviews, we could take part of some of these musicians’ reactions. In the beginning, some of them had felt very insecure, but soon they found pleasure in being allowed to improvise and express themselves through their instruments in a way that they never do otherwise. Gabriella Bergman, artistic director for the music department at Småland’s Music and Theatre, was with Nigel, Linda and Lena on stage at the symposium. She told us that the lab was compulsory for the musicians and what was important with the work through a leader’s perspective. Gabriella and Nigel also had a conversation on how an orchestra at an institution can play an important part in its nearby society.

From the lab in Västerås, we had Karin Delén from our dance ensemble Work, and Evelina Charlie Larsson from our music ensemble Elefantöra. From the Västerås Sinfonietta, we also had a filmed interview so that we could take part of different perspectives of the lab work. This lab differed from the lab in Jönköping since this was an interdisciplinary lab that’s also part of a research project on co-creation, co-production. Those who participated in the Västerås lab told us about a creative process with a constant flow of who was leading who and where reflection was a daily element. It was interesting to hear that participants from both labs expressed how evolving they found the work, no matter previous experiences or background. Moreover, they all seemed to agree to the fullest that it definitely had to be done again or get to proceed somehow in some form.

”It should be axiomatic that you work with this in music institutions and orchestras. I think it’s very rewarding for everyone.”

Adrian Roach, oboist, Jönköpings Sinfonietta

International guests

Our keynote speaker, Deborah Kelleher from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, was also with us during the symposium in Västerås last spring. Then she presented the project Le Chéile, meaning together in Gaelic. Within the project, they are implementing Ireland’s and EU’s first inclusive national youth orchestra. When Deborah held her presentation in Gothenburg, the project had come even farther and the orchestra, Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland (OYOI), had had their very first concert just a couple of days before the symposium. In the afternoon in Gothenburg, during one of the mini seminars, the audience got to know more about the technology used by the OYOI together with Deborah and Frank Lyons from Ulster University.

Right before lunch, it was time for our most long way guest, Vera Khitruk from M Tank Pedagogical University in Minsk, Belarus. Her background is special pedagogy and she gave a presentation on how the inclusive work in Belarus is going, both within the arts and culture and other sectors.

Club feeling during lunch with DJ Arthro

DJ Arthro, or Tim Palm, as his real name is, treated us all with a great club feeling in a lunch concert with his spaceship. The spaceship is a uniquely designed music rig where he can control all technology with his nose and lips. In an interview after the concert, Tim also told us about the system LoopFree, which he has designed and recently won an award with at the Reeperbahn Festival International Sound Awards in Hamburg, Germany.

In-depth mini seminars

In the afternoon, the audience split up to go to the mini seminars they had chosen and mingled around in the premises of the academy. Petra Frank from the Academy of Music and Drama, and Beata Alving from UNIARTS Stockholm, held a seminar on broadened recruitment together with Karin Delén, who has taken several of the standalone courses that UNIARTS offers dancers on the theme of inclusion. In another room, Nigel Osborne and Lena Eldståhl gave a more practical insight to the methods used in the Jönköping lab. The audience also got to try some of Nigel’s exercises. In yet another room, Frank Lyons gave an in-depth seminar on the music technology used in the Le Chéile project. The audience watched some video clips from the concert with OYOI where they, as an example, used an innovative conducting method and VR-cameras that gave a holistic experience for various senses. Together with Sofia Kjellström and Bertil Lindenfalk from Jönköping Academy, the audience got to work together in a workshop about co-creation, or co-production. Sofia and Bertil are working with a great research project on co-production in the medical- and healthcare sector. That gave an intriguing perspective on the utility of the co-creative processes.

Broadened discussion with the future panel

Before the future panel took over the stage for the final discussions of the symposium, there were two shorter presentations. Romina Ramos, from the Swedish Agency for Participation, shared some statistics and reports on the situation for disabled people in today’s Swedish society, and Frank Lyons gave an overall view on inclusion and the arts throughout the world today. The future panel was Eddie Wheeler from Creative Point and Arrangörer utan hinder, music journalist and influencer Natalie Chanise Eriksson, Erik Fägerborn, director and writer, and Gabriella Bergman from Småland’s Music and Theatre. Moderator was Catharina Bergil from the Academy of Music and Drama. It became a truly interesting conversation that touched the subjects of physical accessibility, the world of musicals, and the Swedish Employment Agency’s latest ad campaign that Natalie has debated the last weeks. We surely would have liked to go deeper into all these discussions!

Thank you!

All of us at ShareMusic are very proud and happy over this symposium and would like to send a huge thank you to everyone who made this possible – partners, audience, participants and colleagues. The next #Sharesymposium of this size is planned to take place in December 2020 and we keep our fingers crossed that it will be held in Stockholm. We will come back to you with details as soon as we have more information.

Read more about the guests and view the whole programme of the symposium here.

#Sharesymposium – an international meeting place