The IRCs Meeting 2014 took place at the Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus/Aalborg, Denmark, on 26-28 September in Aalborg.

The meeting, organised by the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC), 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 Developmental Working Group

The IRCs Developmental Working Group:
Rima Rimsaite (Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius)
Keld Hosbond (Royal Academy of Music Aarhus, Aalborg)
Knut Myhre (Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo)
Tuovi Martinsen (Sibelius Academy, Helsinki);
Raffaele Longo (Conservatorio di Musica “S. Giacomantonio”, Cosenza)
Bruno Pereira (ESMAE, Porto)
Pascale Pic (Pôle Supérieur -Lille)
Payam Gul Susanni (Yasar University School of Music, Izmir)

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.

‘Accentuate the Positive’: getting the most out of ERASMUS+

For International Relations Coordinators, the last two years have been filled with mounting expectation as details of the new EU funding programme for education (2014-2020) have emerged. Would the new programme feel like the old one, but just with a few adaptations, or would the landscape be entirely changed? Would some of the longstanding weaknesses of the previous programme be rectified – and might there be fresh obstacles and irritations? Would the promises of greater funding overall convert into a real sense of increased opportunities? Above all, what ‘new tricks’ would we in the conservatoire world need to learn to make sure that mobility and knowledge sharing across our sector continue to function effectively in the new landscape?

Since it was first announced under the title ‘ERASMUS for all’, the new programme has been the subject of many sessions at IRC meetings. By last year in Antwerp, we knew it would be called ‘ERASMUS+’ but many of its details were still surrounded by uncertainty, pending the formal approval of budgets.

Some key characteristics have remained in the new programme since the earliest announcements:
• The bringing together of all the previous programmes for Lifelong Learning, International Higher Education and Youth in Action into one all-embracing programme using the ERASMUS ‘brand’
• The division of the new programme into three Key Action areas: Mobility of Individuals; Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices; and Support for Policy Reforms
• An emphasis upon these actions being taken up by institutions as part of their strategic planning and not just as ‘add-ons’
• An insistence that the Erasmus+ Programme should contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target to reduce early school leaving to less than 10% and increase attainment in tertiary education to at least 40% by 2020

The IRC meeting in 2013 focussed mainly on Key Action 2 – Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices – and, in particular, on the new Strategic Partnerships. After the full details of the programme appeared in December 2013, many AEC members worked hard to submit applications for the first round of these by April 2014; AEC itself is a partner in seven such applications. By the time we gather in Aalborg in September, the results of these first applications will be known.

The theme of the meeting will be ‘getting the most out of ERASMUS+’. During the meeting, we will share experiences and try to analyse the factors that have contributed to success, where it has occurred, and the pointers to be drawn from this for future applications.

We shall also be making sure that Key Action 1 – Mobility of Individuals – gets its fair share of attention. Although, in general, this part of the new programme may feel the closest to ‘business as usual’, it contains important new features – and new forms! – that need to be discussed and fully understood. The ‘Polifonia’ working Group on Mobility has produced a ‘Step-by-step’ guide to mobility within the framework of the new programme and this is among several tools that will be presented and discussed.

We want all IRCs to get the maximum out of this event. To help ensure this, we are organising an additional workshop just before the main meeting on how institutions can benefit from Key Action 2. If you are interested in this, make sure you book early as numbers have to be limited. We are also organising part of the meeting in the form of a ‘Bar Camp’ where delegates can vote ‘on-the spot’ for particular discussion topics, so as to make sure that these focus on the most popular issues.

In the name which it was finally given, the ERASMUS+ programme suggests that it goes beyond the previous programmes and delivers something additional and positive. Our plan of topics and activities for the 2014 IRC meeting aims to help members achieve these additional benefits. In the words of the popular song, we hope to ‘Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative’. We look forward to working towards this goal together and, following the successful introduction of choral audience-participation last year, we shall even have a new song of our own to sing at the concluding session!

AEC Annual Meeting for International Relations Coordinators
Aalborg 26-27 September 2014

‘Accentuate the Positive’: getting the most out of ERASMUS+

Optional PRE-MEETING: Thursday 25 September and Friday 26 September
Polifonia ‘Interactive Workshop on Teacher Mobility from a Strategic Perspective’

please click here for more information on the Polifonia workshop

Polifonia/FULL SCORE Workshop – Thursday 25h

14:30 – 16:00 Start
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break
16:30 – 18:00 Session
18:30 Dinner at Huset – for Polifonia Participants only

Polifonia/FULL SCORE Workshop – Friday 26h

10:00 – 11:30 Continuation
11:30 – 12:00 Closing Remarks
12:00 – 13:00 Time for Lunch – free arrangements

Friday 26 September

11:30 Registration Open (until 18:45)

Registration Desk at – 3 (floor minus three)

12:00 – 13:00 Optional Tour of the House of Music – shift 1

Meeting Point Registration Desk

13:00 – 14:00 Introductory Session for first-time delegates
Or Optional Tour of the House of Music – shift 2 Classical Hall

Meeting Point Registration Desk

13:30 – 14:30 Networking with Refreshments Foyer
14:30 – 15:00 Opening event

Music performance
Danish Folk Song
• Welcome words by:
– Director, Thomas Winther
– Local Authorities
– Joerg Linowitzki, AEC Council Member
– Jeremy Cox, AEC Chief Executive

The Music Education System in Denmark, by Martin Granum, IRCs

15:00 – 16:30 Plenary Session I
“Erasmus + as a tool” and European Priorities

Presentation on Key Action 1 by Laila Benjnouh, Danish National Agency
Presentation of the Step by Step Document by the Polifonia working group on Mobility
Moderator: Tuovi Martinsen, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki

16:30-17:00 Coffee break Foyer

17:00 – 17:30 Pep Talk “Inspirational talk by Tor Norretranders, Author, Thinker and Communicator”

17:30 – 18:30 Bar Camp Topic Presentation and Selection

18:30 – 19:30 Rooms for Project Meetings (pre-booked and available on the spot)
Presentation of IPs:

– Impro Intensive– Just Do It! by the Royal Conservatoire The Hague
– ASTAPER/IP: education to research, research to education by Music Academy Krakow, Karolina Jarosz
– IP Jazz Multicultural Melody Approach, by Massimo Bentivegna, Conservatorio di Palermo
– The Swiss situation within Erasmus + , by Xavier Bouvier and Markus Sutter
– The Band Teaching Conference, by Martin Granum

Optional Tour of the House of Music – shift 3

19:30 Dinner with music and Danish Folk Dances

Saturday 27 September

9:30-10:30 Plenary Session II

Musical Introduction
– Strategic Partnerships: the link between Erasmus + and Institutional Strategy by Outi Jäppinen, CIMO Finnish National Agency
– Application process and results of selection: examples of experiences by AEC members by Alma Ragnarsdottir, Iceland Academy of the Arts and Martin Prchal, Royal Conservatoire The Hague

Moderator: Jeremy Cox

10:30- 11:00 Plenary Session III

“FUlfiLLing the Skills, COmpetences and know-how Requirements of cultural and creative players in the European music sector” by Jeremy Cox and Linda Messas

11:00 – 11:30 Networking with Refreshments Foyer

11:30 – 13:00 Bar Camp Discussions groups

Discussion groups on the topics selected by the participants

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch Foyer

14:30 – 15:00 Plenary Session IV: Polifonia session – Online Tools for Mobility and Joint Programmes

Developments and reporting back from the work of Polifonia WG5 – bring your laptop or tablet!

15:00 – 16:15 Parallel Sessions: presentations and discussion about several themes related to Mobility

A. Mobility in Music Education studies
B. Music Therapy : Silvio Feliciani, Conservatorio di Pescara and Music Therapy Department in Aalborg
C. Interdisciplinary Projects. Moderators: Bruno Pereira and Payam Gul Susanni
D. Integration and Promotion of Staff Training Courses at Universities across Europe (IMOTION), by Luciano Saso and Giorgio Marinoni, UNICA, the network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe
E. Internships for conservatory students by Domenico Tagliente, Conservatorio di Monopoli

16:15 – 17:00 Networking with Refreshments Foyer – 3

17:00 – 18:00 Closing sessions

Reporting back from the discussions from Bar Camp
The IRCs development working group
Results from the Questionnaire on International Activities
Short workshop on the AEC website as a mobility tool – bring your laptop or tablet!
News from the AEC
Announcement of the IRCs Meeting 2015
Closing remarks
Danish Song

Free evening – see list of restaurants and bars

Sunday 28 September

9:00 – 16:00 Networking Trip to the Top of Denmark