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Election 2021: Candidate for Principal, Astrid Kvalbein, Answers Questions

Astrid in front of snow-covered hedge smiling towards the camera. She is wearing a beret, round spectacles and a winter jacket.

Astrid Kvalbein and Eyolf Dale are candidates for Principal and Deputy Principal. What are their standpoints?

What are the three most important issues you want to work with in the future?

Our motto is “better together” because we want to focus on the resources we already have here at the NMH, and to explore how we can use them even more efficiently – together.

  1. Academic exchanges: We want to strengthen communication within and between the different academic communities and levels here at the NMH by organising more meeting places, in both professional and social terms. We will launch more interdisciplinary efforts and exchanges between genres and methods, and improve the connections between research and development (R&D) work and teaching.
  2. A culture of openness and security: We will work towards a culture that is more transparent than it is today, with more open doors between instruction rooms, between administrative and academic staff, and towards the management team. We also want to make it simpler for everyone to have access to and involvement in important decision-making processes, based on a fundamental sense of trust towards all staff members. This trust is also the reason why we want to ensure continuity and security by establishing permanent positions rather than offering short-term or part-time positions. Students should experience the NMH as a safe and open institution in their contact with teachers, the administration, and the management team. In our leadership positions, we will continue to hold regular meetings with the Student Committee, at least once a month, and will otherwise keep our doors open.
  3. Preserve and challenge: Part of the NMH’s mandate and social responsibility is to both conserve and to stimulate original thinking. This implies that we must acknowledge historical and traditional music in all genres, while at the same time we must try to take our place in the very forefront of innovation, in both our instruction and our R&D efforts. Our ambition is to build both from the inside out, and from the outside in. We must be visible to the world, and the world must be brought into our music studies through extensive contact with the community and interest in current topics. In the coming years, the NMH must also make efforts to improve sustainability, reduce greenhouse emissions and take environmental factors into account in all of our activities. This is a challenge that we accept.

What does diversity mean at the Norwegian Academy of Music?

There is wide diversity at the NMH in terms of different musical genres, subjects and programmes, and staff and students from many different countries. This is something we want to safeguard and develop further.

In our view, we still have a job to do when it comes to diversity. We need to put additional specific measures in place to improve gender balance and distribution of roles, and we want to ensure that recruitment to higher music education is carried out in several different communities in Norway, not least among young people from an immigrant background. This group is underrepresented in all areas of arts education in Norway, but this should not be the case in the years to come.

In order to promote diversity, we believe that it is essential to listen to what the students are involved in and the experiences they bring with them to the school. We believe that it is possible to bring the topics they are excited about into their instruction and to let this influence how we present and produce music.

We welcome the desire for change and social involvement as a means of addressing current issues in the world such as environment and climate, equality and human dignity, problematic cultural hierarchies, racism and freedom of expression.

How should the NMH define its profile when the music community is constantly changing?

The NMH is and will remain, the administrator of many valuable music traditions, old and new, within classical music, jazz, folk music and a variety of other genres. We must uphold this practice in our encounters with a society and music community that are continually changing. At the same time, seeing things with fresh eyes and exploring new ideas is part of our heritage. Ideally, there should be no contradiction between feeling at home with the academic expertise we possess now and being open to constantly new types of music and ways of performing them.

In today’s media situation, where there is tremendous competition for people’s attention, it can be challenging to ensure that what we offer is relevant to the greatest number of people possible, from future students to concert audiences and the voluntary music community, and to all generations. In order to address this we need to communicate in constantly new ways, and to collaborate with other institutions such as schools of the arts, brass bands and primary schools, orchestras and ensembles, cultural stages and festivals. And surely with other actors, we don’t even know about yet.

The NMH must play an active role in a broad-based music community that is in a constant state of flux, while at the same time we are an influential agenda-setter in that same music community. This entails considerable responsibility, but also offers great opportunities to work on preserving those elements that keep us together.

I am impressed and inspired by the students who, with the aid of skilled teachers, develop under our care – not least those who present challenges to us along the way.

Astrid Kvalbein

Astrid about the management team and why she is running for the office of Principal

Eyolf and his ambitions as Deputy Principal

When I was asked to run for election I took some time to put into words why this idea triggered my curiosity and realised that my motivation for running is twofold. I want to make a difference for a school I have come to love very much and have a close relationship with, and I want to bring my voice, as part of the performance sector, into a leadership position. This entails a strong ambition to strengthen the dialogue between the school and the surrounding community, as well as to highlight the importance of practical skills.

Different kinds of music have an impact on you at different periods of your life, and you must be able to listen to music that has left its mark without being judgmental.

Eyolf Dale

What kind of music do you listen to secretly?

Astrid: With children in primary school, who bring a lot of mainstream pop music into the house, could I call it a “guilty pleasure” to go to the Concert Hall one evening, or to listen to some Bach or Berstad after they’ve gone to bed? No, actually I’m not ashamed about listening to any kind of music.

Eyolf: I don’t think anything should be classified as a “guilty pleasure”. Different kinds of music have an impact on you at different periods of your life, and you must be able to listen to music that has left its mark without being judgmental. I happily play both newly discovered music and music from my own childhood with the volume turned all the way up while in the car, with the window open.

Election 2021: Information site

You can read about how the election will be carried out, who has the right to wote, etc.

Go to the information site

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