Polar Talks is an international series of inspiring talks and lectures on cutting edge topics, coalescing around one central theme – the Power of Music. Polar Talks focus on some of the myriad ways that music can produce powerful outcomes across a range of social, artistic and scientific disciplines. Josephine Forsman (Sahara Hotnights) and Malena Ernman will be among the speakers.

This year we are also proud to present a brand new conference under the Polar Music Prize banner:

Polar Tech aims to bridge the emotional and artistic strengths in music with the opportunities brought by technology through an exclusive line up of international speakers, master classes and lectures. The program is curated by Lisa Lindström and Anna Ryott and this first edition is focusing specifically on education and integration in combination with tech and music. Speakers are among others entrepreneur Ashish J Thakkar, Sophia Bendz (Executive in Residence at Atomico and former Global Marketing Manager at Spotify) and Fares Hamed (Changers Hub, Pistol Mgmt).

Meet the Laureates! The day ends with interviews on stage of this year’s Polar Music Prize Laureates. Dr Ahmad Sarmast, founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and Lars Ulrich from Metallica.

The Polar Talks, Polar Tech and Laureate interviews will all take place in Kungasalen at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Students from the Royal College of Music will perform Polar Music Prize inspired music live throughout the day.

More speakers and a detailed program will be announced soon.


June 13, 2018


Registration, coffee & live music by students from the Royal College of Music

10.00 – 13.00

14.00 – 16.30

17.00 – 18.30


Kungl. Musikhögskolan


Valhallavägen 105



Tickets are sold separately for each conference, a day pass to access all three of them is also available.

Polar Tech – 200 SEK

Polar Talks – 200 SEK

Meet The Laureates – 230 SEK

Day Pass – 550 SEK

Lisa Lindström is one of Sweden’s strongest voices for the power of business innovation and leadership to impact society. Lisa is a founder of the global design firm Doberman, named one of Sweden’s most innovative companies, as well as best digital agency and best place to work. With unorthodox methods for innovation and a unique perspective on both employee empowerment and customer experience, Lisa has developed completely new ways of addressing change management within companies. Lisa has been appointed one of the future female leaders and received the Royal Patriotic Society’s Enterprise Medal. She has also served as an industry adviser to the government and is today chairman of Utbildningsradion (the Swedish Education Broadcasting Company). Lisa frequently lectures on innovation, digital transformation, design, and leadership for change, sharing her perspectives on daring to meet new challenges in a changing world.


Anna Ryott is Deputy CEO of Norrsken Foundation, which has become the largest hub for social entrepreneurship in Europe. Anna has extensive professional experience from both business and civil society organisations, she spent several years at the head of Swedfund (the Swedish Government’s Development Finance Institution) and prior to that as the Secretary General of SOS Children’s Villages Sweden and Deputy Secretary General of UNICEF Sweden. On the business side, Anna has worked at Storåkers McCann, McKinsey and Hagströmer & Qviberg. Anna Ryott is also on the board of Axel Johnson, the World Childhood Foundation and the UN Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council. In 2014 she was awarded H.M. The King’s Medal for “Significant contributions to Swedish society and industry”. Overall, Anna’s professional aim is to do everything in her power to eradicate poverty and fight climate change through sustainable business.

Ashish is the founder and chairman of Mara Group, and a serial entrepreneur who started his first business at the age of 15 with a $5,000 loan. He has driven the growth of Mara from a small IT business in Uganda to the global multi-sector investment group that it is today, with a presence across 25 African countries in sectors spanning technology, financial services, infrastructure and real estate. In 2012, Ashish was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in recognition of his success and leadership in driving social and economic change. Ashish advises several heads of state in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa. In 2009 he founded the Mara Foundation to inspire and support young emerging entrepreneurs through mentorship and venture philanthropy.

Sophia is an Executive in Residence at Atomico. Based in Stockholm, she advises founders on communications and marketing strategy and scaling their brand. As an active player in Stockholm’s startup scene, Sophia also helps with sourcing and the evaluation of new investment opportunities. Sophia was the Global Marketing Director at Spotify from 2007-2014, where she built out a strong consumer brand from scratch, while launching and marketing the service globally. Today she is an active angel investor and advisor to startups, and serves as a Board Director at Avanza, Kindred Group and non-profit organization Race For The Baltic. She is also a co-founder of non-profit foundation AllBright.se and has invested in start up’s such as Tictail, Bokio, DigiExam, Brighten, and Sana Labs. Sophia believes in working with people who share the same set of values and want to improve the world through innovation.

Fares Hamed is a co-founder of Changers Hub and A&R at Pistol Mgmt, a music management & publishing company. Changers Hub democratises success by evening out the odds for young adults of reaching it. Changers Hub is an innovative entrepreneur hub with two locations in Stockholm. The goal is to create a more equal society where all young people have the same chance to succeed with their ideas. Changers Hub offers co-working space, courses, lectures, coaching, networking events and an innovation studio. Changers Hub started late 2015 and has today over 1000 members which makes it one of the biggest hubs in Sweden.

Fares combines his experiences with his passion for music creation as A&R manager at Pistol Mgmt where he strives to reach out to not yet discovered and unexpected talents, and to enable access to knowledge, inspiration and networks that young talents need to develop and grow. This especially in areas lacking of platforms for talent to grow.

Chairman of Polar Music Prize Award Committee and of SKAP – The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. Alfons will host the Polar Talks program.

Malena Ernman was recently called ” without a doubt one of the worlds greatest singers” in Sweden’s leading newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Malena is far more than a world class mezzo and entertainer, she is also an outspoken activist with a quest to make a difference. At Polar Talks she will moderate a panel about Early Symptomatic Syndromes Eliciting Neurodevelopmental Clinical Examinations in relation to music.

Josephine Forsman is a Swedish drummer, songwriter and instructor. A founding member of rock band Sahara Hotnights, she started playing drums at the age of 10, and has toured around the world since then, releasing albums, gaining fans and earning gold records and Grammy nominations.

In 2012 Josephine hosted the music series Låtarna som Förändrade Musiken (Songs that changed music) where she interviewed and played with performers like Tommy Ramone (The Ramones) and Michelle Phillips (The Mamas & The Papas). In 2017 she produced and hosted the Swedish music radio series P4 Rock. She is currently a music instructor at the Loud Program – a non profit music organization based in Los Angeles providing middle school students with music education – writing music, doing session work and marketing.

Josephine Forsman is using her experience of forming a band at an early age and her work with The Loud Program to highlight the importance of music groups.

ShareMusic & Performing Arts is an arts organisation, staging cutting edge performances and initiating artistic processes. The organisation facilitates and leads courses in performing arts with the fundamental idea to work towards a society where all human beings should have the opportunity to express themselves as artists in a world where difference is seen as valuable. World-renowned artists share the stage equally with people of different abilities. ShareMusic & Performing Arts is operated since 2003 by a non-profit organisation independent of party policy, religion and trade unions snd offers workshops and lectures, with projects throughout Sweden and internationally.

Petra Assio is the president of the student union at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. The union works with educational issues, but it also raises questions about social life and equality for the students it represents, approximately one thousand. Petra has during her 1,5 years as president been most passionate about broader recruitment, diversity and inclusion. Petra finishes her studies to become a music teacher this summer, profiling in music and media production.

Lars Ulrich from Metallica will be interviewed by Swedish music journalist Jan Gradvall.

Dr Ahmad Sarmast, founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, will be interviewed by journalist Lasse Bengtsson.