Keynote Speakers 2023

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, Gonzalez’s 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 Gonzalez’s work, in which she develops creative engagements with music as a tool for cultural dialogue, political commentary, social justice, and community building.

Gonzalez’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 Nigerian, Finnish, and Swedish feminist author and social critic at The New Institute and an independent writer, researcher, and lecturer. Her research focuses on black feminist theory, contemporary African thought, and the politics of knowledge production.

Minna is the author of Can Feminism Be African? (forthcoming William Collins 2024) which explores key themes of African feminism; Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone (Bloomsbury/Zed, 2020) which reimagines universal concepts through a black feminist framework, and The Power Book: What is it, Who Has it, and Why? The Politics of Provocation,  a co-authored children’s book. She has written for the Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Philosopher, and The Independent among others, and is the founder of the multi-award-winning blog MsAfropolitan which has drawn over a million readers. Minna frequently speaks at international platforms including TEDx, Oxford University, Yale University, Oxford Union, Cambridge Union, the European Parliament, and the Singularity University at NASA. Minna’s academic background is in Political Science and Gender Studies with a specialization in feminist theory from SOAS, University of London. She sits on the council of The Royal Institute of Philosophy and the boards of The African Feminist Initiative at Pennsylvania State University, The Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Sahel, the Emerge network, and is an associate with Perspectiva. Her books are translated into multiple languages.