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Hooray! We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary in 2023! The celebrations will be themed around the future of arts.

Conservatory cultures


The project aims to investigate how conservatoire music education shapes belongings in terms of nation and gender, during times of growing nationalism and anti-gender movements, in Estonia, Finland and Hungary. Classical music has been understood as an artform displaying and constructing ideas about both nation and gender and is a cultural practice of symbolic importance. Further, access to classical music education is regulated by unequal gender structures, while patriotism and nationalism are evident in classical music education.

Main questions of the project are:

  • How does policy construct the institution, teacher and student as gendered and situated in a national context?
  • What are the main modes of teaching promoted in the institutions, and how does pedagogy interplay with nation and gender?
  • How does the embodiment of a musical repertoire display nation and gender in performances?

One local researcher at each institution works with the Södertörn-based researchers in two rounds of field work. Interviews with students, teachers and leaders will be made and analyzed; additionally, policy documents and exam concerts will be analyzed using theory-driven content analysis. The aim is to grasp relations between institutions, discourses, and students’ embodiment of musical education.


  • Ann Werner & Cecilia Ferm Almqvist (2021). ‘Analysing nation and gender in conservatoire education’. Nordic Network for Research in Music Education (2-3 March 2021), online, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. Nordic Network for Research in Music Education.
  • Ann Werner & Cecilia Ferm (2021). ‘Conservatory cultures of whiteness’. Music and racism in Europe (20-22 October 2021), online, Research Association Suoni, Finland. Music and racism in Europe
  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist & Ann Werner (2022). `Gender in higher music education’. PRIhME (Stakeholder Assembly on Power Relations in Higher Music Education), Association Européenne des Conservatoires (25 February 2022), online, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist & Ann Werner (2022). ‘Conservatory cultures’ mediated policy on institutional websites: Nation and gender in the conservatoire music educations of Estonia, Finland, and Hungary’. Classical Music in Contemporary Media and Society (13-15 May 2022), online, Gothenburg University, Sweden. Classical Music in Contemporary Media and Society
  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist (2022).`(Re-)Orientations through conservatory education: Voices of vocal and percussion students’. Nordic Network for Research in Music Education (5-7 April 2022), online, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Nordic Network for Research in Music Education
  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist & Ann Werner (2022). ‘Music conservatories’ disciplining of Music Heritage and Music Heritage’s discipling of Conservatory education – aspects of gender and nation in classical music’. IASPM-Norden conference, “Disciplining Music Heritage” (13–14 October 2022), University of the Arts Helsinki, Seinäjoki Campus, Finland. IASPM-Norden conference, “Disciplining Music Heritage”
  • Ann Werner & Cecilia Ferm Almqvist (2022). ‘Conservatory cultures: Nation and gender in music performance education’. Musicology Advanced seminar, University of Gothenburg (10 November 2022), Sweden
  • Ann Werner & Cecilia Ferm Almqvist (2022). ‘Nation, gender and interpretation in European classical music today’. CBEES annual conference, “Where are we now? Perspectives on East European Area Studies today” (1-2 December 2022), Södertörn University, Sweden.

23rd November 2022, Södertörn University

A symposium arranged within the research project ‘Conservatory cultures: Nation and gender in conservatoire music education in Estonia, Finland, and Hungary’, funded by the Foundation for Baltic and East European studies.  The symposium begun with a presentation of the research project , followed by short papers by all project participants. The themes tying the individual papers together were formed by an interest in research on higher music education in Europe today, focusing on pressing issues in Estonia, Finland and Hungary.

  • Ann Werner, Associate professor at Södertörn University/Uppsala University: ‘Nation and gender in Europe today and its impact on cultural institutions’ (Commentator: Professor Teresa Kulawik, Gender Studies, Södertörn University)
  • Kristi Kiilu, professor in music education EAMT: ‘Values in Estonian basic school music education’ (Commentator: Senior Lecturer Mikael Persson, Education, Stockholm University)
  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist, Professor in Education, Södertörn University: ‘Being and becoming musicians in a complex Europe – experiences among conservatory students’ (Commentator: Senior Lecturer Annika Falthin, Music Education, Royal Collage of Music)
  • Gergely Fazekas, Associate professor at the Liszt Ferenc Academy: ’Nation and Gender in the Music History Curriculum – Issues and Problems from the Perspective of a Music History Professor (Commentator: Professor Lars Berglund, Musicology, Uppsala University)
  • Tuire Kuusi, Professor at UniArts Helsinki, the Sibelius Academy: ’Gender differences in well-being experiences of musicians can be affected by the data collection method’ (Commentator: Professor Erkki Huovinen, Music Education, Royal College of Music)

Baltic World’s Special section on Nationhood, Gender and Class

Baltic Worlds, a scholarly journal from the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) Södertörn University, Stockholm, will publish a special section on classical music and music education in the Baltic Sea region and Central Europe in 2023/2024, guest edited by Associate Professor Ann Werner (Södertörn University and Uppsala University). Call for papers is open until 23 February 2023.

Contact information for this project

Project name

Concervatory cultures




The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies (Östersjöstiftelsen)


  • Ann Werner (Södertörn University)
  • Kristi Kiilu (Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre)
  • Gergely Fazekas (Liszt Academy)
  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist (Södertörn University)
  • Tuire Kuusi (Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki)


  • Södertörn University (Stockholm, Sweden; coordinator)
  • Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (Tallinn, Estonia)
  • The Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music (Budapest, Hungary)

Lead organisation

Södertörn University (coordinator)


  • Tuire Kuusi

    Professor, supervising doctoral theses and dissertations, performance studies, music and well-being, DocMus Doctoral School, Sibelius Academy