Symposium: Islands On the Move

Friday, 17 September, at 11:00–17:00

Free (registration needed)

Reconnecting after a period of global lockdown, still in place in many countries around the world, we discover how contemporary music’s topography has shifted, sometimes fundamentally. 

We invite you to a day-long, in-person symposium to discuss the consequences of these changes and how they will impact music’s future.

The Ultima festival takes its name from the classical and medieval concept of Ultima thule, an island beyond the border of the known world. 

While recent expeditions around the Arctic Circle have revealed several candidates for this distinction, the search for the northernmost island is frequently frustrated by ice shifting islands in and out of existence, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as islands on the move.

As international music festivals return with the easing of pandemic restrictions, we wish to evoke this dynamic geography of the Arctic Circle to bring attention to the shifting landscape in the aftershock of COVID-19. 

Maps are being redrawn to reflect this new and emerging topography. To begin this process, we propose a collective expedition at Ultima in the form of a day-long world café symposium, which will assemble a number of local and international music organizers, artists, and scholars to discuss some of the most pressing topics facing our field today.


11.00 Introduction

11.30 Discussions in small groups (4-5 people)

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Discussion sessions continue

15.45 Harvest Panel / Final group discussion

17.00 End

In collaboration with

  • Konstmusiksystrar
  • Concordia University/Matralab
  • SMCQ (Société de musique contemporaine du Québec)

Organised by

  • Brandon Farnsworth
  • Anna Jakobsson

With support from

  • Nordic Council of Ministers
  • Ministère des Relations Internationales et de la Francophonie du Québec (MRIF)
  • Swedish Arts Council