Unveiling the Inaugural Conference of EPASA: Fostering Change in European Performing Arts Education

The European Performing Arts Students Association (EPASA) is thrilled to share with you the exciting highlights of its first-ever conference which brought together talented students from member institutions of AEC. The event served as a platform for discussing crucial topics shaping the future of performing arts education and exploring the transformative power of conservatories in society. EPASA is immensely grateful for the invaluable support extended by AEC.  

Under the theme of “Fostering Change: Empowering Performing Arts Students,” the conference delved into a diverse range of thought-provoking subjects, sparking engaging discussions and igniting fresh ideas. Through lectures delivered by students, the conference offered a unique perspective on these critical areas:

  • The Real Role of Conservatories in the Sustainable Transformation of Society: Here students explored the potential and responsibility of conservatories as changemakers in the green agenda. The session took off from the question: “But what can a conservatory like mine do about this huge, global problem? Which led to a fruitful discussion and concrete hands-on actions.
  • Breaking Barriers: Empowering Diversity in Higher Music Education: This session delved into what diversity really means in the context of HMEI and who’s been left out of the conversation. Important questions to ask ourselves when fostering an environment that celebrates differences.
  • Advocating for Performing Arts Students at a National Level: The Case of Spain and Italy: Examining the experiences of Spain and Italy, students presented insightful case studies on how to effectively advocate for the rights and well-being of performing arts students, emphasizing the need for collaboration between students, institutions, and national authorities.
  • What About Student Voice? Acknowledging the power of student perspectives, this session explored the importance of amplifying the voice of performing arts students, facilitating their active participation in decision-making processes, and nurturing their creative autonomy.
  • Contextualizing Europeanisation in Higher Music Education: The Impact of EU-Funded Projects on Internationalization: Students discussed what happens when Europeanisation gets described as Internationalization and how this framework affects the strategies to foster global cooperation.
  • What’s the Buzz? How Classical Music Goes Viral: Recognizing the evolving landscape of classical music in the digital age, students explored strategies for harnessing the power of social media and digital platforms to engage wider audiences and promote classical music in the modern world.
  • The Power in You: The final lecture encouraged students to recognize their own potential and embrace their unique abilities as agents of change within the performing arts community, inspiring them to leave a lasting impact on the world.

The EPASA conference is serving as a testament to the dedication, talent, and passion of performing arts students across Europe. By giving students a voice and a platform to share their ideas, EPASA fosters the importance of student involvement and collaboration in shaping the future of performing arts education.

As part of the Conference, EPASA held their first General Assembly and is thrilled to announce its newly elected board, a dynamic team of passionate individuals dedicated to advancing the interests and aspirations of performing arts students across Europe. 

  • President: Monica Vejgaard, Student, The Danish National Academy of Music
  • Vice President: Mimi Harmer, Alumni, Leeds Conservatory 
  • Secretary General: Francesco Spina, Alumni, Conservatorio G.B. Martini Bologna
  • Board member: Iveri Kekenadze, Student, Lund University 
  • Board member: Natalie Roe, student, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 

EPASA would like to express its deep gratitude to the AEC for their unwavering support and encouragement throughout the conference. Another sincere gratitude goes to Eline Accoe and the former student working group members of the AEC SMS project for their invaluable contributions in laying the foundation of EPASA. Their dedication, passion, and hard work have paved the way for where EPASA is now. Thank you for your visionary efforts in shaping the future of HMEIs. 

EPASA is excited about the possibilities that lie ahead with this dynamic new board. As we embark on this new chapter, we invite all performing arts students, educators, and institutions to join us in supporting the board’s endeavours, as we collectively shape a brighter future for performing arts education in Europe.

As we reflect on the remarkable discussions and insights shared during the conference, we are filled with optimism for the future of performing arts education in Europe. EPASA eagerly looks forward to building upon the momentum generated by this inaugural event and GA and continuing to collaborate with the AEC and its member institutions to create a vibrant, inclusive, and transformative performing arts community.

Stay tuned for updates on EPASA’s upcoming projects and initiatives. Together, we will champion the voice of performing arts students and create an inclusive and thriving European performing arts community.

Warm regards,

Monica Vejgaard
President, European Performing Arts Students Association (EPASA)