The 2021 AEC Annual Meeting for International Relations Coordinators (IRCs Meeting) took place in the framework of the AEC – Strengthening Music in Society Project supported by the EU Creative Europe Programme, under the title Call to Action – working towards inclusiveness and recognition in the new Erasmus programme

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IRCs Meeting, the whole month of September was filled with a rich and complex programme. This year’s edition was the first IRCs Meeting organised in a hybrid form, with both online and in-person activities spread between 3 and 24 September, with the culmination of the in-person gathering that took place on 16-18 September at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Vigo, Spain. 83 participants came to Vigo to enjoy presential sessions and real-life networking, while 143 participants joined the event remotely.

The “IRC Month” opened on 3 September with an online day dedicated to New Opportunities. The sessions focused on blended intensive programmes, cooperation partnerships, and new opportunities for music education institutions in the upcoming Erasmus+ and Creative Europe Programmes. In the afternoon, Jim Hetherton held an engaging workshop on “Zoom Fatigue”, reflecting on the new reality of our digital work life. 

On 13 September there were online sessions on diversity and inclusion. The SMS working group on Identity, Diversity and Inclusiveness held an online workshop entitled “Re-Thinking and Opening Curricula within the new EU mobility programmes”, and made participants reflect on what being inclusive and diverse means for higher education institutions. In the afternoon, representatives of the Erasmus Students Network presented the Inclusive Mobility Platform project.

On 16-18 September, 83 representatives of AEC member institutions had the pleasure to finally meet in person at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Vigo, in Spain. For many, this was their first trip abroad since the beginning of the pandemic!

The first day was fully dedicated to the diversity and inclusion topic: the guest speaker Anna Adeniji, from the Inclusion Academy in Stockholm (Sweden) held both a pre-conference workshop and the keynote presentation of the conference. The first day also featured discussion groups and parallel sessions on inclusion and diversity, which gave the online and in-person participants a chance to reflect and share thoughts on the topics. 

On the second day, the issue of recognition was addressed in both a panel discussion and in breakout sessions, letting participants share their thoughts on which problems they are facing concerning recognition, which solutions they put in place, and their wishes for the future. The day continued for the in-person participants with a Networking Trip to the beautiful and charming Cies Islands, which was a great moment for participants to catch up with old colleagues and meet new ones in an informal setting. The trip was one of the highlights of the event in Vigo.

The third and last day of the event in Vigo was dedicated to discussing the specific issue of the collaboration with UK conservatoires after Brexit, with our British colleagues connected remotely with the onsite audience. It also included the usual Information Forum with updates on the EASY System and other initiatives from AEC members and the AEC itself.

The “IRC Month” came to an end on 24 September with an online half-day dedicated to EASY, which was one of the most attended sessions of the event. This year’s webinar, presented by Sara Primiterra (EASY Project Manager) and completed by some practical demonstrations by Dreamapply, focused on new developments, issues brought up by the users, the code of conduct for users and the developments in the framework of the connection with Erasmus Without Paper.

All presentations of the AEC Annual Meeting for International Relations Coordinator 2021 are available on the event page on the AEC website. Registered participants can find recordings of all presentations on the Whova platform.