NNMPF 2015

"Activism in Music Education"

The 19th conference of  Nordic Network for Research in Music Education
University of the Arts Helsinki
March 3th-5th 2015

About the conference

The theme of year 2015 conference is Activism in Music Education.

The conference language in all plenum sessions is English, yet presentations in parallel session may be in English, Swedish, Norwegian or Danish. Preliminary programme and further information about the conference will be announced in newsletters and on a conference web site.


Registration deadline February 15th.

Conference programme

Main conference will begin with registration on Tuesday March 3, 12 noon at Töölönkatu 28, Helsinki.  The first keynote will begin 1 PM. Main conference will end Thursday March 5, 1 PM.

Post-conference will begin Thursday March 3, 3 PM at Kallio-Kuninkala, Järvenpää. The post-conference will end Friday March 6, 12 noon.

Keynote speakers and abstracts

March the 3rd: Kai Lehikoinen, University of the Arts Helsinki

March the 4th: Michael Apple, University of Wisconsin

March the 5th: Petter Dyndahl, Hedmark University College

Kai Lehikoinen

Kai Lehikoinen

Kai Lehikoinen: Artistic Interventions as Third Spaces for New Democracy


The concept of new democracy refers to democratic innovations that aim to engage citizens politically in order to supplement representative democracy. Such innovations entail direct civic activism and deliberative civic forums that co-create new ideas together with the public sector and often also with the use of social media. Meanwhile, however, it is often forgotten that the arts can provide fruitful means to address issues, make impact and contribute to social change. This paper aims to draw attention to the political potential of the arts by introducing artistic interventions as third spaces that engage people in co-reflection and co-creation. Examples introduced include the Urbanauts -project that included art-based workshops for young people to raise their awareness on the impact of global warming in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Michael Apple

Michael Apple

Michael Apple: The Tasks of the Critical Scholar/Activist in Education


Neoliberal, neoconservative, and managerial reforms now dominate the educational landscape internationally. They have taken on an almost religious power in that they seem to be nearly immune to counter evidence. Yet, there are alternatives to them that have made a significant difference. In the first part of my lecture, I shall critically examine dominant tendencies. After that, drawing from my recent book Can Education Change Society?, I shall turn to the responsibilities of those of us who wish to interrupt dominant tendencies. I shall discuss the tasks of the "public intellectual, what I call the critical scholar activist, in building and defending more critically democratic educational theories, policies, and practices

Petter Dyndahl

Petter Dyndahl

Petter Dyndahl: Paradoxes of activism in music education


The point of departure for this keynote paper is Hale’s (2001, 13) definition of activist research, which in his understanding is characterized by the fact that it: a) helps us better to understand the root causes of inequality, oppression, violence and related conditions of human suffering; b) is carried out, at each phase from conception through dissemination, in direct cooperation with an organized collective of people who themselves are subject to these conditions; c) is used, together with the people in question, to formulate strategies for transforming these conditions and to achieve the power necessary to make these strategies effective. Based on a critical discussion of this definition, I will attempt to identify some cases of activist research in higher Norwegian music education, as I have been given access to and insight into this field through the extensive data material that has been constructed within the research project Musical gentrification and socio-cultural diversities, and that includes all Norwegian master’s theses and doctoral dissertations in musicology, ethnomusicology, music education, music therapy, music technology and music performance in the period 1912-2012.

Analogous to the contradictions and paradoxes that appear through analytical use of sociological concepts and perspectives like ‘cultural omnivorousness’ (Peterson 1992, Peterson & Simkus 1992, Peterson & Kern 1996) or ‘musical gentrification’ (Dyndahl 2013, Dyndahl et al. 2014), where people and groups that may appear to be open-minded, liberal and tolerant also exert the power and influence to define, marginalize and ultimately to exclude the who’s and what’s which apparently are included, I will discuss activist research as a – perhaps unintentional or indirect, but nonetheless conceivable – strategy to achieve academic elite positions, in parallel with discussions about what distinguishes a cultural elite in an egalitarian society (Ljunggren 2014).

Finally, I will discuss these issues from an ethical point of view inspired by Spivak’s (1988) postcolonial and feminist perspectives on the problems of representation, i.e. who can speak for whom? The lesson learned from Spivak must be that scholars (including activist researchers) should not neglect to turn the mirror on themselves in order to attempt to address their own research interests and social positions thoroughly. This view does not at all imply that activist research should be invalidated, but rather to recognize and acknowledge the complexities, dilemmas and even paradoxes it inevitably also must implicate.


  • Dyndahl, Petter. 2013. Musical gentrification, socio-cultural diversities, and the accountability of academics. In Dyndahl, P. (Ed.). Intersection and interplay. Contributions to the cultural study of music in performance, education, and society (Perspectives in music and music education, no 9) (pp. 173-188). Lund: Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University.
  • Dyndahl, P., Karlsen, S., Skårberg, O. & Nielsen, S. G. 2014. Cultural omnivorousness and musical gentrification: An outline of a sociological framework and its applications for music education research. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 13(1), 40-69.
  • Hale, C. R. 2001. What is activist research? Items & Issues. Social Science Research Council, 2(1-2), 13-15.
  • Ljunggren, J. 2014. Finnes det en norsk kulturelite? [Is there a Norwegian cultural elite?] In O. Korsnes, M. N. Hansen & J. Hjellbrekke (Eds). Elite og klasse i et egalitært samfunn [Elite and class in an egalitarian society] (pp. 193-210). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. page 2/2
  • Peterson, R. A. 1992. Understanding audience segmentation: From elite and mass to omnivore and univore. Poetics 21(4), 243-258.
  • Peterson, R. A. & Simkus, A.. 1992. How musical taste groups mark occupational status groups. In M. Lamont & M. Fournier (Eds). Cultivating differences: Symbolic boundaries and the making of inequality (pp. 152-168). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Peterson, R. A. & Kern, R. M.. 1996. Changing highbrow taste: From snob to omnivore. American Sociological Review 61(5): 900-907.
  • Spivak, G. C. 1988. Can the subaltern speak? In C. Nelson & L. Grossberg (Eds). Marxism and the interpretation of culture (pp. 277-238). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Registration and fees

Registration deadline is February 15th 2015.
Conference fees are as follows:
  • Regular fee 150€
  • Student fee 100€
  • 3 day conference + Post seminar; Student fee 130€
Conference fee should be paid upon registration using the following information:
  • Beneficiary name: Taideyliopiston Sibelius-Akatemia
  • Beneficiary account: FI 16 1745 3000 1578 77
  • Beneficiaries bank: Nordea Pankki Suomi Oyj, Mannerheimintie 7, 00020 Nordea (BIC: NDEAFIHH)
  • Reference number: NNMPF2015 3111/27047 (please use the message field on the bank transfer)
If you wish to receive an invoice instead, please contact conference secretary joonas.tuominen@kipinaproductions.fi.

Practical information

Conference venue

  • Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts, Töölönkatu 28, Helsinki

Larger map


Recommended hotels

Both hotels offer special prices for NNMPF-conference visitors:

  • Scandic Park 111e/single/night and 131e/double/night. Please make a reservation via hotel’s website www.scandichotels.fi using a booking code BNNM030315. Offer is valid until 17.2.2015.
  • Crowne Plaza 126e/single/night and 141e/double/night. Please make a reservation via e-mail or telephone (e-mail: helsinki.cph@restel.fi, tel: +358 9 25210000). Mention the code NNMPFHEL2015.

Contact information

Marja-Leena Juntunen

Tel: +358 40 710 4292

The conference has been supported by the Nordic Culture Fund.