Keynote Speakers
Music, Research, and Activism
May 10–12, 2023 University of Helsinki
Aaron S. Allen

Aaron S. Allen is one of the leading developers of ecocritical music research, i.e., ecomusicology. He is the director of the Environment & Sustainability Program and an associate professor of musicology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (US). Having background in both music and environmental studies, Allen has undertaken cutting-edge work in ecomusicology for almost two decades. He has published seminal articles and books, organized professional networks, and raised awareness and interest into the research area. He has developed and institutionalized environmental education and sustainability in academic curricula.

Among Allen’s research interests include the foundations of ecomusicology, sustainability issues in music and music scholarship, conceptions of nature and environment in Western classical music, and campus environmental activism. With Kevin Dawe he has co-edited the award-winning collection Current Directions in Ecomusicology: Music, Culture, Nature (Routledge 2016). Currently he is co-editing a volume entitled Sounds, Ecologies, Musics (Oxford University Press) (with Jeff Todd Titon). Allen is originally from rural West Virginia, and his interests as an outdoors person, environmentalist, and woodworker result from his time on the family farm.

Martha Gonzalez

Martha Gonzalez is a Chicana artivista (artist-activist), musician and feminist researcher, known for her groundbreaking activist projects at the intersection of academic, artistic, and community work. Since 2013, she has worked as an Associate Professor for the Intercollegiate Department of Chicanx-Latinx Studies at the Scripps Women’s College in Claremont, California, US. A specialist in Chicana feminist theory, Chican@ music, and performance studies, Gonzales’ research is significantly rooted in her experiences as an activist musician and community organizer – as a singer-songwriter and percussionist for the East Los Angeles based and Grammy Award (2013) winning rock band Quetzal. Along with her partner Quetzal Flores, Gonzalez has been instrumental in catalyzing the transnational dialogue between Chicanx/Latinx communities in the US and Jarocho communities in Veracruz, Mexico. The importance of public scholarship is highlighted in all Gonzales’ work, in which she develops creative engagements with music as a tool for cultural dialogue, political commentary, social justice, and community building.

Gonzales’s publications include, for example, Chican@ Artivistas: Music, Community, and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles (2020); A de Activista (Spanish Children’s literature and adaptation to Innosanto Nagara’s A is for Activist, 2014); Entre Mujeres: Women Making Music Across Borders (music album, 2013); and Quetzal – Imaginaries (music album 2012). Recently Gonzalez has been working with The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) on Collective Songwriting Method, implemented, for example, in correctional facilities in the US.

Minna Salami

Minna Salami is a social critic, writer, feminist theorist, and public speaker. Her debut book Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone (2021) consists of reflexive essays on contemporary culture, identity and empowerment in Africa-centered, decolonial, and historically informed perspective. The highly influential book has been translated in multiple languages. Salami is also well-known for her multiple award-winning blog MsAfropolitan, in which she has elaborated Africa-centered feminist sensibility to issues of racism and sexism.

Salami’s work covers various forms of writing, speaking, and engaging with educational and cultural organizations as well as with the public at large. Salami is a co-director of the feminist movement Activate and a Senior Research Associate and Feminist Theorist for the research group Perspectiva. She is a member of the advisory board of the African Feminist Initiative at Pennsylvania State University and of the editorial board of the Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Sahel. Salami has studied Political Science at the University of Lund, Sweden, and Gender Studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Born in Finland, Salami has lived in Nigeria, Sweden, Spain and New York, and currently she lives in London.