The Annual Meeting for International Relations Coordinators 2020 took place online from 24 to 25 September 2020.

The meeting is meant for administrative or teaching staff members in Conservatoires who deal with international relations and European programmes (such as ERASMUS), as well as for institutions not familiar with these programmes, but with an interest in becoming involved.

The meeting is important for networking, exchanging useful information and for developing partnerships. With this annual meeting, the AEC is bringing together a growing community of International Relations Coordinators. The programme of the meeting, as well as other important documents and policies on the field of international relations of conservatoires, are the result of the collaboration between the AEC office and the IRCs Working Group

The IRCs Working Group:

Christofer Fredriksson (University College of Opera – part of the Stockholm University of the Arts, Stockholm) – Chair
Sara Primiterra (AEC Events and Project Manager) – Working Group Coordinator and EASY project manager – Coordinator
Jan-Gerd Krüger (Prins Claus Conservatorium, Groningen)
Dimitrios Marinos (Athens Conservatoire)
Frauke Velghe (Hogent, Gent)
Esther Vinuela Lozano (Escola Superior Reina Sofia)
Jose Luis Fernandez (Conservatorio Superior de Vigo) – host
Roberto Boschelli (former student at Conservatorio Stanislao Giacomantonio Cosenza) – Student Representative

The AEC working groups members work on the preparation of AEC events on voluntary basis. The AEC Preparatory Working Groups are all formed by coopting active individuals in the relevant field of specialization within AEC member institutions. Proactivity, as well as geographical and gender balances are the applied criteria to guarantee the diverse and dynamic character of the groups, who should ideally recreate the diversity of AEC members institutions.

Working group members are financially supported by their home institutions, which cover their travel and accommodation expenses to the working group meetings and to the actual event.

Dear all,

due to the recent developments of the Coronavirus situation, the IRCs working group decided to organize the IRCs Meeting 2020 as a full online event. Therefore, there will not be sessions taking place inVigo. All sessions will take place in Whova and Zoom. Registration and fee payment are still required according to the instructions give on this webpage.

The EASY workshop will take place online in webinar format on 1st October.

The AEC office Team

Ready to Change?
Digitization, crisis management and green thinking for a sustainable future

IRCs’ Annual Meeting 2020 Teaser

The Annual Meeting for International Relations Coordinators (IRCs) 2020 will take place as an online event from 24th to 25th September 2020. The big umbrella topic of this meeting will be the sustainability of internationalisation and mobility and will of course include sessions and discussions addressing the world pandemic crisis that impacted considerably our professional and personal lives in the recent months.

The sustainability of international collaborations is on the table more than ever, owing to the global epidemic preventing social interactions and international trips. However, this is only one of the numerous unexpected and concerning issues on a long list that has become self-evident only in recent times and that has been influencing the shaping of the new Erasmus programme 2021-27. The way we carry on and understand our international activities has undoubtedly changed. The digital revolution certainly plays a paramount role in this discourse, first and foremost, thanks to the possibility of exchanging data, information and experiences remotely, but not only.

The impact of international activities – with a considerable amount of necessary travel questioned by many institutions even before the Covid crisis – needs to be taken into consideration when shaping future collaborations, as well as all the uncertainty related to travel during the ongoing and forecasted pandemics. Is the travelling indeed unavoidable? How could international relations be promoted in an increasingly digital world lacking in face-to-face communication? All these questions will be discussed in-depth during the Annual Meeting 2020.

Once we think about the environmental crisis, one could raise the question about the environmental impact of internationalisation of higher music education and the possibility to mitigate the negative consequences of our international activities. Voices have been raised, saying that even the day-to-day running of international offices could set a good example and change the mindset of people shaping the sustainable future. During the IRCs’ Meeting 2020 online Jeanine Gregersen will give an inspirational and insightful speech about the concept of sustainability of higher music education, following the commitment of the IRCs community to an holistic sustainable approach to their activities expressed in the IRCs Manifesto 2020 and accompanying video that all participants of the event are warmly encouraged to get familiar with before the event.

The Erasmus programme is also following this path. The green aspect of the new edition of the programme has been already announced, and we will hopefully have a video contribution from the EU Commission speaking about it[1]. However, not only Erasmus is going greener, it also wants to become more technological and more accessible or, to be precise, more sustainable for the planet and for the people. The “Erasmus Goes Digital” motto has been repeated by the European Commission over the last month in an almost scaring way (“if you are not digital yet, you are already too late!), and it refers to the progressive digitisation of Erasmus procedures (with the introduction and the progressive obligation to use official digital documents to manage mobilities, such as the Inter-institutional Agreement Online, the Online Learning Agreement, the digital nomination, etc.) but also to the recognition of a blended mobility as a form of a recognized mobility. Therefore, distance learning technologies such as LoLa, that has been experimented by the Erasmus Strategic Partnership Project SWING, are likely to become the protagonist of the next generation of international collaborations. The SMS working group 5 on Learning and Teaching will present the outcomes of the SWING experimentation. Along with the SMS working group 6 on Digitisation, the discussion about the current and future possibilities that technology can offer to music education will be opened without forgetting the downsides of technologies, mostly associated with the techno pollution, or the scepticism about the positive impact of substituting trips with technologies on our environment. On this topic, and following the success of last year speaker Peter Majanen who gave a speech on the Future of Internationalisation, this year a representative from HUMLAB, Umea University, Sweden, will speak about the possibilities that artificial intelligence could open up to our sector.

Technologies applied to internationalisation could also help to overcome traditional socioeconomic barriers to mobility. It is not a secret that, despite the Erasmus grants, not every student can afford a semester or more abroad. The financial barrier leads to criticism of the Erasmus as an elitist programme[2], yet technologies could help to address this problem, as it is not anymore necessary to travel and move in order to follow courses of international professors or to play with fellow students abroad. The benefits that students can get from digital interactions, the inclusiveness of higher music education and the accessibility of education for disadvantaged groups of the population (minorities, refugees etc.) will be also raised up during the Annual Meeting with a presentation of projects promoting interactions between different cultures through music.

Finally, before the Meeting two seminars aimed at discussions on the mental health of international students and the crisis management will be organised:
The first pre-conference seminar on The Well Being of International Students will be held by Clara Barbera, representative of the SMS working group 2 on Identity, Diversity and Inclusiveness. It will be devoted to the issues of depression, social anxiety and self-esteem concerns that students are facing today. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss possible ways to address the mentioned problems and feasible strategies to support the mental health of international students.

The second pre-conference seminar on Crisis Management will be held by the IRCs’ working group and chaired by Christofer Fredriksson. It will shed some light on the possible ways to address the crisis stemming from the coronavirus epidemic, and the consequential use of digital tools and online teaching methods in higher music education. Best practices and examples, as well as challenges institutions had to face will be shared during the in-depth discussions, while various mobility solutions and the management of emergencies in general will be at the core of this seminar.

We expect that the seminars and the conference sessions offered within the 2020 IRCs Annual Meeting framework will provide food for thought for all of us, thus helping everybody not just to understand various sides of the higher music education sphere and internationalisation related problems, but also to elaborate strategies for mitigating the negative outcomes of the crisis and discovering the new ways for making the experience of students and professors more enriching and “global”.

[1] There has been an obligation for all higher education institution to mention their green policy when applying to the ECHE (Erasmus Charter for Higher Education), the document needed to take part into Erasmus actions
[2] The AEC has participated to the EUF ‘s campaign # Erasmus500 to advocate about a 500 euro monthly grant to Erasmus music student

Ready to Change?
Digitization, crisis management and green thinking for a sustainable future

AEC IRCs Meeting 2020 Online on Whova

Zoom Links to all sessions are available on the Whova Platform for desktop
Only registered participants have access to the platform

watch the video tutorial in the Photos and Documents tab to learn how to access to the content

All indicated times are CET (Brussels Time Zone)
all sessions will be recorded and available on Whova after the event for registered participants

Thursday 24th September – Pre-Conference Seminars for registered participants only

9:00 – 10:30 Seminar 1 – The Well Being of International Students by Clara Barbera , SMS working group 2 on Identity, Diversity and Inclusiveness

11:00 – 12:30 Seminar 2 – Crisis Management chaired by Christofer Fredriksson , by the IRCs working group


Thursday 24th September – IRCs Meeting

13:15 – 14:15 Introductory Session for first-time delegates

Presentations by Dimitrios Marinos and Frauke Velghe
Followed by group discussion moderated by experienced IRCs

13:15 – 4:15 Informal Networking on Community – Virtual Meetings with Jan-Gerd Krueger and Esther Vinuela from the IRC working group

14:30 – 14:45 Opening Event

Icebreaker by Sara Primiterra, IRC working group coordinator and event manager (technical and contest explanations)

Welcome words by:

  • Christofer Fredriksson, IRC working group chairman
  • Stefan Gies, AEC Chief Executive

14:45 – 15:15 AEC Talk 1

The Concept of Sustainability in Higher Music Education by Jeanine Gregersen , moderated by Dimitrios Marinos, IRCs Working Group member

15:15 – 16:15 Discussion Groups on sustainability

16:30 – 17:30 Information Gallery with Live Meetings with the Speakers / Virtual Meet-Ups in Whova

Friday 25th September – IRCs Meeting

9:15 – 10:00 AEC Talk 2

The New Erasmus 2021-27 by Elena Tegovska , Policy coordinator of European Commission
Q&A moderated by Frauke Velge, IRCs Working Group member

10:00 – 11:00 AEC Talk 3

Digital solutions 2020 for learning, teaching, interaction, assessment & course design Methodologies and technologies to optimize your online environment during and after Covid-19 by Satish Strömberg , representatives of Humlab
Q&A moderated by Christofer Fredriksson with Susanne van Els and Anna Maria Bordin, members of SMS working groups representatives from group 5 (Learning and Teaching) and Enric Guaus, working group 6 (Digitization)

11:15 – 12:15 Parallel Sessions

  1. Community projects: being international at home by integrating other cultures at local level moderated by Esther Vinuela, IRC working group
  2. LoLa, the SWING project, the digital shift: presentation and discussion by Anna Maria Bordin, Susanne van Els, Stefan Gies, Ellen Mikalsen Stabell, Siri Storheim (Learning and Teaching working group) and Benjamin Redman (researcher at the RCS Glasgow)
  3. Digital Didactics: Student experience during the pandemic, facilitated by Roberto Boschelli, AEC Student working group
  4. MusiQuE – linking internationalization and quality assurance, presentation by MusiQuE Board and Office members
  5. The Future of Employability in Music, discussion based on given reading material moderated by Jan-Gerd Krueger and Payam Susanni (the reading of the articles is compulsory to take part in the discussion)
  6. Building a Shared Road Map for Sustainability and Green Strategies by Dimitrios Marinos, IRCs working group

12:30 – 13:00 Closing Session

– News from the AEC by Stefan Gies
– Announcement IRC Meeting 2021
– Practical Announcement by Sara Primiterra
– Closing Remarks by Ingeborg Radok Zadna

14:00 – 16:00 Virtual Meet-ups on Whova: Set up your own meeting or join the IRCs working group members for an open discussion

Information on the Participation Fees
Early Bird Deadline: 31st of August 2020

Participation fees can be paid in the following ways:
– Manual Payment by Bank Transfer before the event (preferable)
– Ideal, Credit Card, Paypal and Bankcontact Systems Online

For more information and special invoice requests please mail

ONLINE Participation
Payment and Registration BY August 31st
ONLINE Participation
Payment and Registration AFTER August 31st
Representative of AEC member institution (staff) 75 euro
+ 10 euro (per pre-conference seminar)
115 euro
+ 10 euro (per pre-conference seminar)
Representative of a non-AEC member institution 175 euro
+ 10 euro (per pre-conference seminar)
215 euros
+ 10 euros (per pre-conference seminar)
Student from an AEC member institution 40 euros
+ 10 euros (per pre-conference seminar)
80 euros
+ 15 euros (pre-conference seminar)

The participation fee will not be reimbursed for cancellations notified after August 31, 2020.

Bank details for payments
BNP Paribas Fortis
Account Holder AEC-Music
IBAN: BE47 0016 8894 2980


When making the transfer, please clearly quote: Code of the event (IRC 2020)
Last name of the participant
Name of your institution (if fitting)
Example: IRC 2020, Smith, Gotham Conservatory

Registration to the conference is closed

Online Tools for the IRCs meeting online: WHOVA and ZOOM
The virtual location of our event is the Whova platform. The programme, the description of the sessions, the participants list with pictures, the virtual meeting spaces, the supporting documents and videos and all Zoom links to all sessions are available there. The same content is available also on the Whova app for smartphones.
Whova – Desktop Platform and App for Smartphones

1) Whova Desktop Platform: The Whova web address to follow the event on desktop computers is . Please sign in/up by using the email address you provided when registering for the event. We advise you to use the Chrome browser.

2) Whova App for smartphones: download the Whova app for smartphones for easy access to the social functionalities such as photos, contests, direct messaging, virtual meetings and notifications from the organizers. If you aren’t directly added to the event and are asked for an event invitation code when accessing the event, please see this information in the information mail you received from the AEC office.

Zoom – download, settings and behaviour during sessions
All conference and pre-conference sessions will take place on Zoom Meetings. We advise you to download zoom for desktop (first download proposed in the link).
Sign up/in on click on Profile to change your name as follows: Name LastName, City, Country. If possible, click on Settings and put a picture of your city as a background (optional).
Once what is listed above is done, you are ready to join the conference by clicking on the Zoom links provided for each session in Whova. Once you are in the meeting, we advise you to select “Speakers View” (in order to see the person who is speaking) in the right up corner, rather than “Gallery View” (which gives you the overview of all participants).
When entering the Zoom links of the plenary sessions you will be automatically muted. Please keep off your microphone during the sessions but keep your camera on (it is much nicer for the speakers to see faces in the audience – unless you have a slow internet connection). To communicate with other participants and with the organizers during the sessions please use the Zoom Chat (you can message everyone or one person in particular). You can also ask questions to the speakers by posting your question in the Zoom chat and/or clicking on “raise your hand”. If the session moderator gives you the word you, can unmute yourself and talk.
To join breakout groups you just need to accept the pop up message that will come up in Zoom during the plenary session and you will be automatically directed to your virtual breakout room.

To know more about how to navigate in Whova and use Zoom during the conference please watch Sara’s short video tutorial, where she explains how to deal with the online tools for the IRCs Meeting online. A general Whova User Guide is also available.

Engage with the IRC community
Networking is without any doubt a big challenge for online events. We all know that it will not be the same, but we can all do something to make the event as engaging as possible and have fun together even if we are sitting alone in front of a computer!
If missing, put a picture of yourself on your Whova profile and fill in your profile with information about yourself. Your fellow IRCs are curious to know more about you.

On Whova you will be able to set up your own Virtual Meets by clicking on Community – Meet-ups and Virtual Meets – Suggest a Meet – Virtual Meet and invite colleagues to join you. We already set up some informal Virtual Meetings with our IRC working group members before the start and at the end of the conference. Join them for a chat! NB: virtual meets work better on phones than on desktop.
There will be two contests with announced winners at the closing session:
Photo contest: post in Whova the most creative picture you can take with your mug, but also pictures from previous IRCs meetings. Let’s have fun and share together present and past moments that are making this community grow stronger despite distances! The most liked pictures will get the prize.
Leaderboard: be the most active participant in the Whova app!
Prizes will be delivered after the event.

TO DO LIST – come prepared to the online event!
We highly recommend to do/try the following in advance so that you can avoid to get stuck with technical problems when the conference starts:
Download the Whova app for smartphones, log in, fill in your profile with info and a picture, navigate the event content, start interacting and plan your meetings
– Access the Whova platform for desktop computers with Chrome, try to find your way in the agenda by looking for session links, videos and documents. Sara’s video tutorial can help you;
– Read the abstracts of the sessions, watch the pre-recorded videos of the Information Gallery (available as of next week), look at the reading material provided for some of the sessions to come prepared to the discussion;
– Download Zoom for desktop
– Sign up/sign in at, change your profile name (Name LastName, City, Country) and try to put a picture of your city as a virtual background;

During the event:
– When the Zoom sessions start: keep your camera on if possible, keep your microphone off, choose Speakers View in the right up corner, communicate via the Zoom chat;
– Take and share pictures for the photo contest
– Use Chrome as a browser.

Assistance and support before, during and after the online event
The AEC team is at your disposal already from now to help you access the online conference spaces and materials. Do not hesitate to contact Sara Primiterra at for any question. For assistance during the online event, please contact also:
Elena at
Yerim at
Barbara at
Chiara at (for issues with Whova Virtual Meets)
Alfonso at

The AEC Annual Meeting for International Relations Coordinators

The AEC Annual Meeting of International Relations Coordinators: Who we are, What we do, Where we want to go. The video has been made by the International Relation Coordinators (IRCs) working group to accompany the IRCs Manifesto 2020. The interviews have been recorded during the annual meeting in Prague in September 2019 and during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Video Tutorial IRC Meeting 2020 – Online Event Tools

Check out this video if you need guidance with the online tools we will use for our online event. Please note that only registered participants have access to the Whova Platform of the event