Partnership with the Baltic Sea Festival

Södertörn University has been a partner to the Baltic Sea Festival since 2019. The festival celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2022 and continues to create a space for reflection through music and discussion, one that can stake out new paths towards a more sustainable future.

Södertörn University and the Baltic Sea region

Research focusing on the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe has always played a leading role at Södertörn University. Our task is to promote research about the region across all the subjects we offer, gathering researchers from many different disciplines gather under this shared flag.

Many research projects at the university are funded by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies. This was founded by the Swedish Government in 1994 and is tasked with funding Södertörn University’s research and doctoral education linked to the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe. We are also home to the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies, a research centre that develops and promotes research in this field.

Baltic Sea Festival

The Baltic Sea Festival External link. is an international music festival that was founded in 2003. Its aim is to use classical music as a platform from which to encourage discussions across national borders, helping create a sustainable future for the Baltic region.

2024 Baltic Sea Festival: Dreams & Visions

This year’s programme is inspired by visionaries who lead the world in new directions, helping us look towards new horizons, to see new solutions, to dare to dream and believe that a better world is possible.

Södertörn University will hold an on-stage panel discussion about activism, commitment and hope before the concert on 29 August. External link. Participants are Dominika V Polanska, associate professor of sociology and Ekaterina Kalinina, senior lecturer in media and communication studies. The conversation will be led by Moa Svan, BA in history, comedian and a member of Södertörn University’s media production team.

Dreams, commitment and hope – a trinity for the future

Commitment is vital to turning dreams into reality, and hope is necessary for moving from words to deeds. It is said that the shoulders of the young bear the burden of the future, but what drives them when crises appear unending and optimism is dwindling? How are our contemporaries acting and organising themselves on issues that relate to the climate crisis, democracy and human rights? We look towards our neighbours around the Baltic and invite you to a conversation about activism, commitment and hope.

For this year’s festival, we have also asked four researchers to reflect on the theme of Dreams & Visions using their research as a starting point.

Anders Burman — Does today’s world have space for dreams and visions?

In this film, Anders Burman reflects on the relevance and challenges of utopian visions in contemporary society. He is professor of the history of ideas at Södertörn University, and was awarded his PhD in 2005 on the subject of Carl Jonas Love Almqvist’s societal ideas. His current research interests are the history of education, political philosophy and critical theory. Burman is a productive author and editor, and recent publications include Den sista idealisten: Viktor Rydberg och hans tid, Samtider: Perspektiv på 2000-talets idéhistoria (ed.) and Dissensus - drömmar och mardrömmar i demokratins idéhistoria.

Johanna Palmberg — Can dreams be combined with societal benefit?

How can dreams of a better society be translated into practical societal benefit? This subject is examined by Johanna Palmberg, associate professor of economics. In her research she has been particularly interested in family-run businesses, corporate governance, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship and social innovations. In other words, issues relating to business, civil society and societal development. She received her PhD in 2010 from Jönköping International Business School.

Thomas Sedelius — Dreams, trust and democracy

Thomas Sedelius is a professor of political science and project-based researcher at Södertörn University, and explores the importance of trust in eastern European democracies, despite crises and challenges.

He is currently leading a project titled “Semi-Presidential Shifts in the Shadow of Russia: Executive Power and Party Behavior in Armenia, Georgia, and Ukraine”, which is funded by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies. His research has studied political institutions linked to democracy and democratisation, and has covered political developments in Central and Eastern Europe with a special focus on presidential power and challenges to democracy.

Kim Silow Kallenberg — The dreams that were not to be

On the basis of her research and her book Sörjbara liv, Kim Silow Kallenberg shares her thoughts about the impact of grief on personal and collective dreams.

Silow Kallenberg is associate professor of ethnology, and her research often examines societal issues and power. Her PhD thesis investigated the compulsory care of young people, with a specific focus on the treatment staff’s gender and professional identity. Her second major research project, which resulted in the book Sörjbara liv, investigated mental illness, substance abuse and masculinity, and was inspired by her personal experiences of loss. Her most recent project is about academics’ experiences of stress and occupational burnout in higher education. She is also involved in the Humtank think tank.

Heroes have long served as inspiration for artists and composers. Heroes break new trails, they are ready to fight for their cause, make sacrifices if need be and they have high moral standards, whereas anti-heroes lack one or more of these qualities. Anti-heroes are laughed at, despised, punished or even ­­­– worst of all – not taken seriously, or even forgotten!

We had three of our researchers reason and think about the concepts of heroes and anti-heroes. What is a hero to you, who are the heroes today and what happens when we let children become heroes?

Lisa Källström: Hero of our time: the girl with plaits

Lisa Källström was awarded her doctorate in Rhetoric in 2020, and is a researcher at Södertörn University. Her research has focused on the creative gaze; her doctoral thesis is titled Pippi mellan världar (Pippi between worlds) and demonstrated how book illustrations and cover images from Swedish and German editions highlight how Pippi Longstocking breaks norms. In her current project, Pippi Beyond the Border, she examines how Pippi arrived in the former East Germany. The project aims to produce a deeper understanding of issues relating to cultural exchange, censorship and opposition

Adrienne Sörbom: Heroes and anti-heroes in private diplomacy

Adrienne Sörbom is a professor of Sociology at Södertörn University, researching politics and globalisation. She has studied different forms of political involvement, such as social movements, activism, think tanks and the political organisation of business. In her current project, funded by FORMAS, Klimatpolitik och icke-statlig diplomati: nordiska företagsfinansierade tankesmedjor (climate policy and non-state diplomacy: Nordic corporate-financed think tanks) she is examining the organisation of climate policy with a focus on corporate-run think tanks.

Karin Winroth: Brand and influencers - heroes or scapegoats?

Karin Winroth is associate professor of Business Studies at Södertörn University. Keywords for describing her research interests are social media, brands, consumer culture, digital entrepreneurship and leadership. She combines these with an interest in cultural studies, because this reflects the time we live in and the ideals that shape us. Her research focuses on how we are influenced by social media, the role that brands play in the daily lives of individuals and businesses, and how contemporary consumer culture shapes the conditions of consumers, businesses and our ideas about sustainability.

Sustainability is in everyone’s interest – and so is everyone’s responsibility. This is also the main focus of the Baltic Sea Festival, where music and discussion go hand in hand and create new encounters. Liberal education, or Bildung, is central to the university’s activities, on our courses and programmes and in our research. But what actually is it, what is a well-rounded and educated person and what does it mean for a sustainable society? We asked our researchers these questions and have provided their answers here.

Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback

Marcia Sá Cavalcantes is a professor of philosophy and her fields of research include phenomenology, hermeneutics, existential philosophy and the links between philosophy and art. She has also examined the philosophy of exile and the need to reformulate the concept of existence based upon the experience of exile. Recently, she has explored the new forms of fascism she sees emerging around the globe, which she calls the fascism of ambiguity. Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback has published numerous books, of which the most recent is Ex Brasilis: brev från pandemin (Ex Brasilis: Letters from the Pandemic).

Lovisa Bergdahl

Lovisa Bergdahl, associate professor of education, has research interests that include the role of school in the creation of community, the significance of the senses and the body in in-school education, the role of the teacher in a time when authority is in crisis, and the linguistic coding of teaching in the subject of Religion. She is currently involved in two research projects: Fostrans former where they study the role of the body and senses in teaching and learning that focuses on dealing with value conflicts; and Hur kan skolan minska ojämlika utbildningsmöjligheter, which asks how schools can reduce inequality in educational opportunities.

Gloria L Gallardo Fernández

Gloria L Gallardo Fernandez is a professor of environmental science, specialising in development and global studies. Her research examines the use of natural resources in the interface between the rural and the global, and the redefinition of marine and land ownership/access, focusing on agro-pastoral commons and small-scale fisheries. Her research journey started in Chile with the subject of Sociology. One theme in her research has been a global perspective, with a strong focus on the mutual relationship between the economically rich north and the poor south.

Björn Hassler

Björn Hassler is a professor of environmental science, with a background in political science. His research relates to different aspects of cooperation between states, relating to environmental issues in the Baltic Sea region. He currently works primarily on environmental policy in relation to the cooperation between the Baltic nations on reductions in overfishing and eutrophication, as well as the physical planning of marine environments in the Baltic Sea region.


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