Musical Sustainabilities symposium

The symposium in Seinäjoki addresses the relationship between music and sustainability in all its diversity.

About the symposium

The Seinäjoki Unit of the University of the Arts Helsinki is pleased to announce an international symposium on “musical sustainabilities.” As the Sustainable Development Goals issued by the United Nations attest, sustainability has become a wide-ranging issue globally. While originally linked to the maintenance of natural resources, it has evolved to cover social, economic and cultural issues. Concerning music, the most apparent of these relate to work, production and industry, consumption and live music, and communities and institutions.

Indeed, music provides propitious possibilities for addressing the multiple and often contradictory facets of sustainability. The music industry has been associated with excessive consumption and waste, and the digital transition is less likely to be green, due to the sheer increase in music – and energy – consumed. The environmental crisis has been diversely represented in musical works and sound art, and civic groups implement musical practices in their campaigning for climate action. At the same time, music plays an important role in the promotion of social and cultural sustainability due to its malleability in identity construction and support to the social resilience of groups and organisations. However, music can also be used as a tool for exclusion, and unequal access to music education reinforces existing social divides. Indigenous communities are especially vulnerable in many respects, ranging from the impacts of global warming to social and economic challenges, thus complicating the transmission of cultural and musical traditions to future generations. Questions of sustainability are furthermore central in music heritagisation, or how diverse groups and institutions work and labour to preserve and safeguard what they consider worthy to be labelled “heritage.”

Call for presentations

The symposium organisers welcome individual paper and panel proposals from a broad range of approaches addressing the relationship between music and sustainability in all its diversity. A variety of scholarly standpoints, voices and disciplines is encouraged, as well as contributions from professionals working in the interface of music and sustainability within the cultural, education and heritage sectors.

Suitable themes include but are not limited to:

  • the music/event/creative industries and sustainability;
  • diversity and inclusion in music education;
  • the role of music in green transition;
  • preservation and transmission of music traditions and heritage;
  • music communities, social resilience and wellbeing;
  • music professions, labour and precarity;
  • music institutions and service development;
  • musical activity, democracy and civic participation;
  • sustainable music policies and spaces;
  • musical nightlife and sustainability;
  • the environmental crisis in musical/sound works and practices.

Alongside conventional papers and panels, the organisers welcome other presentation forms as well (e.g., films, workshops).

Submitting an abstract

Please send an abstract to, no later than 10 June 2024. Please make sure to include in your abstract:

  • the name(s) of presenter(s) and their affiliation(s);
  • contact information (email);
  • the title of the presentation;
  • the text body of no more than 300 words;
  • 3–5 keywords.

If you are proposing a full panel, please include a summary of no more than 100 words alongside individual abstracts (max 300 words each).

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 30 June 2024. For further information, please contact

Location of the symposium

The symposium will take place at the Museum of South Ostrobothnia in Törnävä, Seinäjoki, Finland. Seinäjoki is a regional urban centre located some 300 km north from Helsinki and served by several direct train connections daily. Details about registration, travels, accommodation and participation fees will be communicated in due course.

Members of the organising committee

The members of the organising committee are Antti-Ville Villén (chair), Giacomo Bottà, Karoliina Lummaa, Anna Peltomäki and Susanna Tyrväinen. The event is organised in collaboration with the Seinäjoki Museums, with support from the University Consortium Seinäjoki and the research project “Diversity of Music Heritage in Finland”, funded by Kone Foundation (2023–25).

Contact information for the symposium

Please contact


18.11.2024 – 19.11.2024


Museum of South Ostrobothnia

Törnäväntie 23


Location on map

See directions