The Baltic Sea Festival Science Lab 2024

The Baltic Sea Festival, Stockholm University, Voksenåsen Music Academies and the Swedish sustainability research council Formas invite composers and researchers to apply for participation in the second Baltic Sea Festival Science Lab – a joint communicative project concerning issues around the Baltic Sea and sustainability. The deadline for applications is 17 November 2023.

Six composers and six researchers will be selected for this collaboration. Together with music coaches and a director, the researchers and composers will create joint works that specifically combine scientific communication and artistic expression. During the festival these works will be performed live on stage by the researchers and musicians from the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The director will help the researchers find various forms of dramaturgical, textual and stage-related expression for their presentations, and the composers will work on their music in relation to the research, and on musical drama in relation to the textual material developed by the researchers.

A total of six 15- to 20-minute works will be created. These musical research presentations will be grouped to form two performances, each under the heading of a current theme, and will be presented to the public during the 2024 Baltic Sea Festival. The project will experiment with new approaches, whereby on the basis of research we will seek to communicate with listeners using new pathways and forms of expression. The objective is for both the public and the participants to emerge on the other side with new perspectives, fresh insights and a desire for continued collaboration.

Does this sound like an attractive project, considering your specific research or musical creativity? Do take this opportunity to participate in the 2024 Baltic Sea Festival Science Lab!

Collaboration process

Six researchers and six composers will be chosen based on the submissions. Selection will take place in November 2023, and the participants will be announced at the beginning of December. The director will first meet the researchers digitally in December, in order to start the work of compiling the most important elements of each lecture. The director will then pair the researchers up with composers, who will begin writing the works linked to the research. Each composer/researcher pair will meet the director digitally several times during the spring. The director and the researchers, composers and performing musicians will meet physically for rehearsals in Stockholm ahead of the actual performances during the period 26-30 August 2024.

The composers will work on the music with the coaches, and a session on writing music to text and for the theatre will be offered. Throughout the process the director will be involved – as far as the researchers are concerned, in compiling the most important elements of the lectures and in the verbal presentation, and as far as the composers are concerned in intensifying their musical expressivity and interlinking music and research to form a whole.



If you are in the final year of your education or already have a Master’s in composition or equivalent skills and expertise, and are active in or have connections with one of the countries around the Baltic Sea, you can apply to take part in the Baltic Sea Science Lab. You need to be interested in engaging in a work process together with your researcher.

The composers will be chosen by a jury including Peter Herresthal (artistic director of Voksenåsen, professor of violin Royal Danish Academy of Music/Norwegian Academy of Music) and Anssi Karttunen (Creative Dialogue), who will apply a selection process involving assessment of quality, innovation and expression in the composers’ music, as well as evaluating curiosity and understanding as regards the importance of interdisciplinary artistic and scientific collaboration to societal development. Participants may also be selected on the basis of their course work at the Nordic music colleges, or may be chosen by composers linked to Voksenåsen Music Academies.

Please apply by sending a score of a representative work written during the past few years plus a link to a sound file (uploaded to YouTube or a similar platform), as well as a CV and a brief personal letter stating why you are interested in creating works on sustainability together with a researcher, and explaining how you think your creative work can contribute towards a sustainable society.

As a composer you will be allocated a research partner at an early stage of the process, and will write music based on the subject in question. If one of the above areas particularly interests you, please say so in your application. You should be interested in writing music to text, and it will be advantageous if you already have experience of this. During the course of the process the composers will be offered a workshop on writing music to text. Further information on application are to be found at //

Trainee compensation will be paid for the compositions. The concert will be reported to the Swedish rights-management society STIM, which provides remuneration for participating creators in accordance with its tariffs.


Doctoral students and postdoc researchers active in any of the countries around the Baltic Sea are invited to apply. We welcome contributions from researchers from all disciplines, provided the research can be applied to the Baltic Sea region and its future challenges. To apply for involvement as a researcher you should submit your CV plus a summary (max. 300 words) describing your research and the research results you wish to present at the Baltic Sea Festival. This summary must explain what is new and interesting about your research and how it can play a part in developing the Baltic Sea region going forwards. It must also include your reasons for wishing to take part, and should state whether you have any experience of theatrical expressivity. As already mentioned, you will appear on stage yourself. The summary must be written for a broad audience without any specialist knowledge of the field. To make their selection the jury will apply an assessment process to evaluate the research’s scientific basis and relevance as well as the researcher’s knowledge of their subject. The applications will be reviewed by an expert panel comprising researchers and communicators. Stockholm University and Formas will be responsible for preparing the applications, and will decide which applicants are to be selected. The assessments will be based on the descriptions provided in the applications.

Subject areas for researchers

Your Baltic Sea-related research should be forward-looking, and should seek answers and solutions to the complex problems and challenges society is facing with regard to the Baltic Sea and sustainable development. Your research should concern either circularity or viability. Circularity covers issues and solutions regarding a societal shift from linear to circular systems, seeking less use of raw materials and reduced quantities of waste. Viability concerns innovation that goes beyond technological innovation, and can include issues regarding green transformation, ways society can avoid falling foul of so‑called progress traps and how various forces within society can be encouraged to work together in a quest for solutions to complex environmental problems. Submissions regarding both themes should ideally include concrete examples and case studies that can be applied to the future (though this is not a requirement).

For participants

The selected researchers and the composers will be invited to the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm for the period 26-30 August 2024. As well as taking part in the project Baltic Sea Festival Science Lab you will be treated to fantastic Baltic Sea Festival concerts and other great events. Don’t miss this opportunity to network with your colleagues/friends from the entire Baltic Sea region and at the same time experience Stockholm at its best!

Travel, accommodation and meals, as well as tickets to Baltic Sea Festival events and concerts, will be provided during your time in Stockholm.

Researchers should send applications to:

Composers should send applications to:

Deadline: 17 November 2023

The Baltic Sea Festival is organized by Swedish Radio Concert Hall Berwaldhallen and is one of Europe’s leading classical music festivals, featuring top artists, orchestras and conductors. Over the past twenty years, the Festival has served as a meeting place for outstanding concerts and initiatives that contribute to a sustainable Baltic Sea region. The Baltic Sea Festival Science Lab is an interdisciplinary experiment, and is part of the Festival programme. Read more about the festival here. 

Baltic Sea Festival Science Lab 2023

Discover interviews, radio programmes and the performances fråm 2023 on Berwaldhallen Play.