Welcome to
Polar Talks 2017

Polar Talks, presented by The Polar Music Prize, is an international series of inspiring talks and lectures on cutting edge topics. Artists, scientists, creatives and opinion makers coalesce around the central theme of ”The Power of Music”. The not-to-be-missed talks focus on some of the myriad ways that music can produce powerful outcomes across a range of social, artistic and scientific disciplines. Music has the power to change the world and the Polar Talks inspires all who attend, to do just that.

On 14 June,The Polar Talks 2017, will discuss many of the challenges confronting us all:  diversity, equality, freedom of speech and globalization, and how meeting these challenges in a positive and innovative way, can shape a bright future for the many not the few.  The invited speakers have come together for Polar Talks and will deliver exciting, sometimes provocative but always thought-provoking sessions, they are experts across a broad spectrum; such as  gender equality, politics, digital design, advanced music technology, psychoacoustics and soundbranding.

The talks draw to a close with an exclusive and rare live interview, on stage, with Wayne Shorter, one of this year’s  two Polar Music Prize Laureates. Two separate tickets are required to attend both parts, one for Polar Talks and one for the interview with Wayne Shorter.

Doors open

The doors open to the lobby outside Hörsalen on the 3rd floor of Kulturhuset Stadsteatern. Have a coffee and a snack and mingle with the other guests.


Introduction by Marie Ledin, MD Polar Music Prize and Alfons Karabuda, Chairman of the Polar Music Prize Award Committee and Master of Ceremonies for The Polar Talks.

Marie Ledin, MD Polar Music Prize (Photo: Polar Music Prize)
Alfons Karabuda, Master of Ceremonies (Photo: Polar Music Prize)

Back to the future

To understand the future the past needs to revisited, Lisa Lindström, CEO at Doberman, returns for a follow up on the panel she moderated at last year’s Talks on the connection between music and leadership. Professor Gunnar Bjursell will join Lisa with an update on research within the connection between music and memory. This work was also powerfully captured by the Alive Inside documentary and the presentation of the Musicthat presented last year at Polar Talks.

Lisa Lindström
Lisa Lindström (Photo: Doberman)

Lisa Lindström is the CEO of Experience Design Firm Doberman with offices in Stockholm and New York and have been appointed Sweden’s Service Innovator of the year and listed as one of the top 10 female leaders in Sweden. Lisa is chairman of the board of SVID, the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation and Public Service and of Public Service broadcasting company Utbildningsradion, UR. Lisa is also board member of several major Swedish corporations including Avanza Bank. Beyond this, Lisa is a popular speaker and workshop leader on strategic design and customer experience within organisational transformation and leadership.

Polar Talks 2016 - How is modern leadership connected to musicality? Panel with Lisa Lindström, Eva Hillered, voice teacher, and Hélène Barnekow, CEO Telia Sweden.
Gunnar Bjursell (Photo: The Cultural Brain)

Professor Gunnar Bjursell has been a pioneer in Molecular Biology in Sweden, and is now advancing the cross scientific field where culture, brain, health and learning meet each other. He is managing the Cultural Brain Initiative at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.


Silja Fischer, Secretary General of the International Music Council (IMC) and Alfons Karabuda will discuss the new collaboration between the Polar Music Prize and IMC in the selection of future Laureates. Diversity, in all its forms, will be top of the list when broadening the reach of the Polar Music Prize.  The IMC has unparalled links with musicians across the globe and it’s exciting for Polar to tap into this knowledge and to shine a light on talent that has yet to reach an international audience. Silja and Alfons will discuss how this selection process will work and speak about the different regional challenges of fulfilling the diversity criteria.

Silja Fischer (Photo: IMC)

Silja Fischer joined the General Secretariat of the International Music Council in 1993 and served until 2002 as Executive Assistant to the Secretary General. She has since worked as Executive Director a.i., Operations Manager and Executive Officer, before she was appointed Secretary General of the IMC in April 2009. In this capacity, she is in charge of the day-to-day business, official representation as well as programme implementation. The International Music Council (IMC), founded in 1949 by UNESCO, is the world’s largest network of organizations and  institutions working in the field of music, and promotes the value of and the access to music for all peoples.


The business case is compelling, a gender diverse workforce performs better financially than an homogenous one. A recent McKinsey report notes that $12 trillion could be added to the global GDP by advancing women’s equality. The financial  benefits are underpinned by the moral case for change: every person should be able to fulfill their career aspirations regardless of their gender. Diverse teams are more creative, more dynamic and reflect the 21st century world we all live in. So why are talented women  being faced with the STOP sign when they aspire to leadership roles? How can a culture be created that encourages diversity and rejects homogenous groups?  This session’s expert speakers will talk about their routes to success for achieving gender diversity, they will spell out the steps that need to be taken to achieve a gender balanced workplace and  highlight the benefits that result. 

Aniela Unguresan, co-Founder of the EDGE Certified Foundation, will speak about some of the aspects that inhibit effectively closing the workplace gender gap as well as what can be done to ensure that gender equality remains a desirable, measurable strategic objective.  In her talk, Aniela draws on the learnings of more than 170 organizations, in over 40 countries and 22 industries which are using EDGE Certification as a robust workforce analytics approach to inform their gender diversity strategy and priorities. EDGE Certification is the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality. Launched at the World Economic Forum in 2011, EDGE has been designed to help organizations not only create an optimal workplace for women and men, but also benefit from it. EDGE stands for Economic Dividends for Gender Equality and is distinguished by its rigor and focus on business impact.

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on how to achieve the goal of increased gender diversity within international creative businesses with Aniela Unguresan, Ulrika Biesèrt (Global HR Manager, IKEA Group) and Katarina Berg (Head of global HR department, Spotify).

Moderator for the session is Claire Singers, gender diversity consultant, executive coach and PR-strategist  in the international music business.

Aniela Unguresan
Aniela Unguresan (Photo: EDGE)

Aniela Unguresan is the Co-Founder of the EDGE Certified Foundation, a Swiss based foundation that runs the leading global gender certification to organizations with gender-enlightened workplace policies.  Prior to co-founding EDGE Certified Foundation, Aniela acquired extensive professional experience as a consultant with Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting, a trader and project manager with TXU Europe and SIG Geneva, and as the CEO of CT Technologies. Aniela strongly believes that the time has come for businesses to move from vision to action, and that the EDGE Certification process will enable them to understand what is holding them back, whilst providing them with a roadmap to achieve better performance and more inclusive workplaces.

The EDGE assessment methodology was developed by the EDGE Certified Foundation and launched at the World Economic Forum in 2011.

Ulrika Biesèrt (Photo: IKEA Group)

Ulrika has been with IKEA since 1997 and was appointed Global HR Manager for IKEA Group in March 2017. In her role she leads the company’s overall HR/People agenda with the aim to enable business and people to grow together. Ulrika has been working within The IKEA group for twenty years, with HR in the Retail and Expansion organisation, and as Talent Manager. Together with the Global HR team she led the work to secure a common and sustainable Talent Management process, including succession.

Katarina Berg (Photo: Spotify)

Katarina Berg has been heading up Spotify’s global HR department since 2013, leading the talent transformation during business transition from startup to a mature international company. Before Spotify, Katarina held high-profile HR roles in various multinational companies, such as Preem, Swedbank, Kanal 5 (SBS Broadcasting) and 3 (Hi3G Access). As well as catering to the HR needs of a diverse, nimble and ever-changing organization, Katarina is also focused on building teams and reinventing processes to establish an environment where creative and passionate people can be their very best, have fun and develop great careers.

Claire Singers
Claire Singers (Photo: Polar Music Prize)

Claire Singers is a gender diversity consultant, executive coach and PR-strategist. For nearly three decades Claire was managing director and co-owner of LD Communications, the UK’s leading music and entertainment communications agency, working on campaigns for many of the seminal music events such as Live Earth, Live 8, Concert for Diana, and representing the music directors for 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. She was also publicist to Mariah Carey, Bon Jovi, Pink Floyd, Underworld, Roxy Music and, for 15 years, to David Gilmour. Claire also worked with the Press team for HRH Prince of Wales on a range of projects.

Coffee break

Enjoy a coffee, a snack and some live music from Musikhögskolan Ingesund/University of Karlstad in the lobby outside Hörsalen.

Musikhögskolan Ingesund at 2016 year's Polar Talks (Photo: Polar Music Prize 2016)
Welcome to Kulturhuset Stadsteatern and Polar Talks (Photo: Polar Music Prize 2016)
Polar Music Prize 2016 (Photo: Polar Music Prize)

Psychoacoustics: The Power of Sound and Music to control our minds

The use of sound and music in an applied sense, such in films or brand communications, has traditionally been steered by intuition, often relying on one persons auditory memory-bank to supply the triggers for creating the desired specific and universal emotions, associations, and perceptions.

The past years have witnessed an increased development of structured systems which have enabled a more efficient and effective application of sound and music. They are currently being used in areas such as Sound Branding, advertising, Receptive Sound Therapy in the healthcare sector, and others. Located at the cross-roads of science and art, this approach has removed a lot of the guesswork ad enabled the creation and validation of more effective and accurate perceptions.

This talk takes a look at sound and music from a hearing perspective and examine its effect on our emotions, our memory, and on our health. We will observe how sound – besides steering our emotions – can also exert psychological power over our thoughts and biochemistry, and have profound neurological effects on the nervous system. We will also observe how sonic impulses and vibrations can synchronize brainwaves for effectively relieving stress, promoting sleep and boosting concentration.

The discipline that observes the way sound is perceived and how it effects us is called Psychoacoustics. By better understanding the influence of sound and music on our minds, we will be able to apply it more effectively.

John Groves
John Groves (Photo: GROVES Sound Branding GmbH)

John Groves is a composer, music producer and consultant for the use of sound and music for advertising and communications. He is known mainly for his memorable jingles and advertising songs. In the early nineties he became  a  pioneer  in  the  field  of  Sound  Branding  by  developing  a  structured  system  for creating Brand Sound Identities. This methodology provided the basis for what has since become a market  standard. In recent years,  John has dedicated a lot of  his time to Psychoacoustics and the applied use of sound in a health context. The applications range from navigational sounds for medical equipment to Receptive Sound Therapy programs to help with sleep, stress reduction and more (SonicTonic).

The Brave New World of Music technology

The future of music tech is already here. IRCAM (Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music in English) was founded by Polar Music Prize Laureate Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) and has always been at the forefront with both composition and inventing tools for music creation. Frederick Rousseau from l’IRCAM will give us a fascinating glimpse into the future of music and perhaps tell us what it takes to one day become a Polar Music Prize Laureate.

Frederick Rousseau (Photo: Frederick Rousseau)

Frederick Rousseau is a French composer, musician and producer. Frederick has worked and performed with internationally renowned artists since the 1980s. Frederick programmed the synthetizers for the well-known Blade Runner soundtrack for Vangelis, and he has built sequencers for Jean Michel Jarre and performed with him on tour several times all around the world. Frederick has also recorded with major French artists Indochine, Mylène Farmer and Louis Bertignac to name a few. He is now working at l’IRCAM (Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music) in Paris as the manager of research valorisation.

End of part one

Meet the Laureate
Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter (Photo: Robert Ascroft)

The highlight of the second part of the afternoon is an exclusive encounter with the legendary Wayne Shorter, one of 2017’s two Laureates. The world famous jazz saxophonist will be interviewed by Miriam Aïda, music journalist and jazz musician, about his illustrious career, during which he played with luminaries such as Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock and Cindy Blackman.

Polar Talks’ second part also offers some amazing live music by Swedish/Thai jazzmusician and composer Sirintip.

Two separate tickets are required to attend both parts, one for Polar Talks and one for the interview with Wayne Shorter.

Miriam Aïda (Photo: David Pahmp)

Miriam Aïda is a Swedish singer, artist and radio host, who has released several albums and performed all around the world during the last 15 years. Miriam has a background both in Sweden and Morocco, and her music explores several musical landscapes and different musical traditions.

Since her album debute in 2002 she has released 9 albums. She received the award “Artist of the year” at Swedish World Music Awards 2012 and a Manifest award for her 2015 album É de Lei!

She is also an acclaimed radio profile for Swedish National Radio P2 Jazz as a producer and host.

Sirintip (Photo: sirintipofficial.com)

Born in Bangkok in 1991, Thai-Swedish singer/composer Sirintip has already managed to explore and work in a wide array of genres across three different continents. Driven by an urge to question the rules and create music in every possible way, she has studied jazz over the last ten years at some of the top music schools in Sweden including the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

Besides pursuing her Master’s degree, she is currently working on her debut record produced by three-time grammy award winner Michael League of Snarky Puppy, which will be released on GroundUP Music by the end of the summer of 2017.

Sirintip official website.