Keynote Speakers

Women – Music – Futures
Symposium at the University of Helsinki, Finland
March 9th and 10th 2023
Tan Sooi Beng

Tan Sooi Beng is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the School of Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. She is the author of Bangsawan: A Social and Stylistic History of Popular Malay Opera (Oxford University Press, 1993), and co-author of Music of Malaysia: Classical, Folk and Syncretic Traditions (Routledge, 2017) and Longing for the Past, the 78 RPM Era in Southeast Asia (Dust-to-Digital 2013), which won the joint SEM Bruno Nettl Prize, 2014. She is the editor of Eclectic Cultures for All: The Development of the Peranakan Performing, Visual and Material Arts in Penang (USM Press, 2019).

Tan serves in the Advisory Editorial Board of Asian Music (USA) and is an elected Vice-President of the Executive Board of the International Council of Traditional Music (ICTM). She organized the online series and co-edited the digital publication ICTM Dialogues: Towards the Decolonization of Music and Dance Studies (, 2022).

Tan is actively engaged in community theatre and is involved in revitalizing the Potehi glove puppet theatre of Penang through documentation and localized performances. She collaborated with the traditional performers and young people of Penang to publish the multimedia book set entitled Potehi Glove Puppet Theatre of Penang, an Evolving Heritage (GTWHI, 2017). She has emphasized the roles of women performers in her historical studies of the Bangsawan and Potehi theatres and Peranakan cultures of the Southeast Asian regions.


Roundtable on the Symposium Theme

The second keynote session will be a roundtable that discusses the theme of the symposium "Women - Music - Futures". The participants include:

  • Iva Nenic (Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology, Faculty of Music, University of Belgrade, Serbia)

Iva Nenić is an ethnomusicologist and cultural theorist who works at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. Her research is concerned with the way music and wider cultural practices give rise to ideology, with a focus on gender and the politics of intersectionality, as well as on the relationship between sustainability and anthropocenic aspects of contemporary culture. Iva's field research spans from traditional folk music of Serbia to world music and pop folk of the Balkan area. She currently leads the research project “Female Leadership in Music” (FLIM), supported by the Science Fund of Serbia.

  • Minnakaisa Kuivalainen (Executive Director, Tampere Music Festivals)

Minnakaisa Kuivalainen has been the Executive director of Tampere Music Festivals (Tampere Biennale, Tampere Jazz Happening, Tampere Vocal Music Festival) since 2004. Before that she was working as a festival producer for Helsinki Festival in 2002 and Musica nova Helsinki in 2003-2004. Minnakaisa Kuivalainen has studied in the Conservatories of Helsinki and Kuopio, the University of Helsinki, Université Paris 8 and Université Paris-Sorbonne IV. She is currently a board member of Europe Jazz Network.

  • Nina Öhman, chair (Postdoctoral Researcher, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki)

Nina Öhman is a Core Fellow at The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki. She is a musicologist/ethnomusicologist studying women’s roles in music cultures, the singing voice, and American popular music. While situated broadly in musicology her work incorporates varied branches of knowledge including, inter alia, economic ethnomusicology, gender studies, postcolonial studies, religious studies, anthropology, and sociology. In parallel,  she is interested in academically-based community engagement and collaborative research methods. She is currently the president of the Finnish American Studies Association (FASA) and the vice-chair of the Finnish Society for Ethnomusicology (SES).