What does diversity in Learning and Teaching mean inside our institutions? Can we broaden our understanding of what having success mean? Members from working groups in the SMS-project invites the field to think along with them on this central topic.

Description Initial steps

Members of working groups in the SMS-project, Susanne van Els and Camilla Overgaard , found each other in the student perspective. Susanne wrote on ‘How (not) to teach’ about student-led education and the importance of replacing control by trust in the LATIMPE anthology (2019). Camilla wrote a reflection text, based on the discussions in her working groups, saying that it is essential “that students know what success means to them”.

A manifesto

Based on discussions with students, teachers and leaders of our institutions, Camilla and Susanne wrote a suggestion for a manifesto. This manifesto aims to strenghten diversity in learning and teaching by empowering student choice:

The world of music, and specifically classical music, has a strong tendency for heroism and hierarchy. Leading images in classical music are not just looking very much alike. They also support narrow and limiting ideas about how success is achieved.

There is a need for all the other narratives to be told and displayed, there is a need for young musicians to be empowered when following their dreams.

We see the possibility of education which gives students the opportunity to find out what success means to them.

Welcoming different role-models of what it means to have a successful career will make conservatoires open to a more diverse community as well as change methods and relations towards more inclusiveness.

Working methods

Together, Susanne and Camilla have collected ideas and stories around keywords in the Manifesto. They will present these in the Gender Relations in New Music network conference ‘Experiences with Gender and Diversity in New Music’, November 2019 in Zürich. In addition, this was also a topic at the AEC Congress in Turin under the brainstorming sessions. More presentations and discussion moments will follow.

Invitation to join

Many people engage with diversity at the moment. Another tendency is that current developments in learning & teaching lead towards more diversity and inclusion. We want to find out whether our Manifesto is helpful in all this. Therefore, we now invite peers and colleagues to join us by writing to us, sharing your story, a short essay, description of a good idea or practice which connects to Diversity in Learning & Teaching.

E-mail: Susanne van Els 

E-mail: Camilla Overgaard

What is success to you?

Read how musicians have answered that question by clicking the links below:





A French student