WFM5 - 3 weeks to go! Discover Clusters and Signature Sessions

In less than three weeks, over 1,000 among musicians, producers, managers, administrators, festival directors, journalists, scholars, educators, facilitators, activists, policy makers and music lovers will discuss, plan, perform and experience the future of music on this planet.

In exploring the ‘ecology’ of music at the beginning of the 21st century, the World Forum on Music explores five clusters that play a key role in ensuring engaged, thriving, and sustainable music practices. Each of these clusters consists of 6-10 sessions that can be followed through the four days of the Forum to gain in-depth, multi-faceted insight into the state of play in each of these areas. 

Education, life-long learning and the training of the professional musician tracks how people learn music at all levels, formally and informally, inside and outside institutions, and whether/how these efforts (can) optimally contribute to a vibrant musical life on the planet. The signature session in this cluster, facilitated by David Price OBE (UK), will explore the new potential and realities of learning music in the context of technological developments, new insights into the nature and psychology of teaching and learning, globalisation and cultural diversity. Participating will be two Presidents of the International Society for Music Education, cutting edge music teachers, and young learners.


Community, society and conflict resolution takes a deep look at the role music plays in society, how it contributes to a sense of cohesion and identity in communities, and how it is used for rebuilding a sense of wellbeing in post-conflict situations. The signature session in this cluster (22 Nov, 9am), facilitated by Brydie Bartleet, presents some striking examples from of the role of music in community across the world and explores how this often underexposed approach to music can be better understood, organised, advocated, and acknowledged. Participating will be a number of leading community music Facilitators, including Eugene Skeef (SA) and Phil Mullen (Ireland).


Tradition, innovation and sustainability explores the complexities of music ecosystems and the underlying values and attitudes, supporting age-old traditions, creating room for innovation, and forming a basis for sustaining certain musics and abandoning others as societies, technologies and tastes change. The signature session in this cluster (21 Nov, 4pm), facilitated by Tony Seeger (USA) focuses on the outcomes of a five-year, Australian Research Council funded international study into nine diverse music traditions and their ecosystems across the world, with the purpose of identifying key factors that can be utilised to maintain strong traditions, and safeguard intangible cultural heritage in danger of disappearing or ‘being disappeared’. Participating will be the case study leaders from Australia, Otago, Lund, Seattle, and London.


Advocacy, policy and funding brings together presentations on making the case for music - whether it be musicians’ rights, freedom of expression, or education-, government policies and regulations impacting positively or negatively on music, and the funding systems that are key to the survival of any traditions and practices. The signature session in this cluster (22 Nov, 11 am), chaired by Frans de Ruiter, revolves around the International Music Council’s ‘Five Musical Rights’, and provides an overview of the state of affairs in each of these areas across the world, with the purpose of formulating policies and strategies for supporting and protecting musicians around the world.


Technology, creativity and the music industry illustrates the transformative power of established and emerging technologies in how we create, teach, disseminate, and access music, creative responses to contemporary realities, and the rapidly change of the music industry from the moguls of the past five decades to much more niche-oriented models. The signature session in this cluster (23 Nov, 9am), facilitated by Nora Farrell (US) features a showcase of striking new applications and reflections on some of the dramatic changes, opportunities and challenges technology has brought to music over the past decades, and what can be expected in decades to come. 

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