Identity, voice, and agency: Perspectives on glocalizing El Sistema in Malmö

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceedingpeer-review


Eva Sæther’s keynote is based on research on how the Art and Music School in Malmö, through the implementation of El Sistema since 2013, navigates in the tension fields that emerge when music educators balance artistic and social expectations on their profession. Since the implementation of El Sistema the music school in Malmö has been able to include children from all backgrounds in the targeted public schools, and it seems that the persistent work in the socially vulnerable areas of the city has been convincing also to the politicians as the funding of music education is now firmly directed to the city’s poor areas. As a whole the El Sistema activities can be seen as aligning with the policy recommendations introduced in 2016 in the national report for reformation of cultural schools (Kulturskoleutredningen 2016). In the further expansion of El Sistema the ambition has been to include schools outside the segregated areas. The new orchestras of 2018 is one step ahead acting on the basis of gained experience that gives the courage to start demanding processes. In addition, the development of group teaching methods, the outreach concerts and the political expectations on ‘social effects’ alongside the development of musical skills has moved both the teachers and the leaders out of their comfort zones. At the core of Malmö El Sistema is the growing web of contacts and partnerships between the involved institutions and the related new interprofessional collaboration between the El Sistema music teachers, school leaders from the Arts and Music school and the elementary school as well as musicians from the local symphony orchestra. And of course: The El Sistema children. In this keynote their voices, visions and music are included.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019
Event27th EAS Conference/7th European ISME Regional Conference in Malmö, Sweden: ” The School I’d Like” – Music Education meeting the needs of the children and young people today - Malmö Academy of Music/ Malmö Congress Malmö Live, Malmö, Sweden
Duration: 2019 May 152019 May 18


Conference27th EAS Conference/7th European ISME Regional Conference in Malmö, Sweden
Internet address

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Music
  • Pedagogy


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