Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
12-14 November 2015
Pursuing Quality; Sharing Knowledge; Strengthening Partnerships:
new agendas and new strategies for higher music education
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This year’s AEC Congress was of great strategic importance for the Association, as well as being full of interesting content.
At the Congress in 2014, AEC’s new FULL SCORE project was introduced to members and the idea was presented of AEC’s contributing to the formulation of the European Agenda for Music proposed by the European Music Council (EMC). 2015 will be a critical year for progressing the work on that Agenda. During 2015, AEC has intensified its cooperation with the European Association for Music in Schools (EAS) and the European Music School Union (EMU) that was so warmly supported by members at the 2014 Congress. The three organisations have now been invited by EMC to take the lead on the educational dimension of the emerging European Agenda for Music. How this is being done was explained, along with opportunities being provided for members to react to progress so far and to suggest adjustments or new areas of approach that may strengthen the nature of the Agenda that eventually emerges. The Congress provided material enabling a Position Paper to be developed and disseminated in 2016. The position paper will point the way towards the shape and content of the final Agenda document that is due to be agreed across the EMC membership in 2017.

Meanwhile, AEC is due to reach the completion of its actions associated with its Strategic Plan for the period 2011-15; as well as reporting on what has been achieved, it must therefore agree the priorities of its new Plan for 2016-20. These two important issues – the Agenda and the Strategic Plan – are closely interconnected, and the Congress has been designed to ensure the maximum input from members to both of them.

The Agenda, along with the other objectives of FULL SCORE, will logically play an important role in shaping AEC’s own Strategic Plan for the period 2016-20, determining a total of six goals due for completion by the project’s end in autumn 2017. AEC Council has been working on the priorities of the new Strategic Plan since early 2014 and these are summed up in the title chosen for the Plan: ‘Pursuing Quality; Sharing Knowledge; Strengthening Partnerships’.

All these values are deeply embedded in AEC’s culture, but Council believes that by addressing them dynamically, through a substantial list of goals distributed across the next five years, AEC can arrive at the year 2020 with an even stronger profile in relation to each of them. The draft Strategic Plan was be presented to members with ample opportunity to discuss it and ensure that, once confirmed, it reflects as inclusively as possible the needs and wishes of our diverse association.

In addition to these two major themes, there were presentations and discussions on other important issues, including progress of the working group looking at the feasibility of field-based indicators for music within the frame of U-Multirank, the new multi-dimensional approach to international ranking introduced by the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) and the Centre for Higher Education (CHE).

Various parallel sessions have also been proposed to the participants, addressing the developments relating to the new independent quality assurance agency for music, MusiQuE, to the Innovative Conservatoire seminars, or dedicated to issues such as fundraising or the AEC White Paper on Artistic Research.