Composers’ Reflections on the Relevance of Artistic Doctoral Education in Finland

From Self-Development towards Knowledge Exchange and Knowledge Creation


  • Mieko Kanno Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki
  • Guadalupe López-Íñiguez Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki
  • Heidi Westerlund Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki



artistic research, composers, artistic doctoral education, knowledge creation, professional practice, self development


As Artistic Research (AR) is gaining momentum in academia and the movement has begun to affect the industry, in this qualitative study we ask how contemporary art music composers in Finland think of artistic doctoral education in the field of composition. Ten bigenerational composers participated in open interviews in which they were asked to reflect on AR both as a discipline and as a pathway in doctoral studies in relation to composers’ professional practice. A qualitative thematic analysis based on the “dialogic engagement practice” approach revealed certain benefits and challenges related to a) doctoral studies in AR, and b) the dynamics between composition and AR. In particular, participants noted a division between doctoral candidates enrolled in AR doctoral programs for self-focused artistic introspection (single-loop-learning) and those who connect their studies with activist and societal issues that go beyond personal inquiry (double-loop learning). Furthermore, issues of whether AR in composing could be considered research, or not, were also articulated. Based on these key aspects, the authors offer a conceptual learning triangulation between research, education, and self-development that could inform AR doctoral education curricula.

Kirjoittajien biografiat

Mieko Kanno, Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki

Mieko Kanno is Professor of Artistic Research in Music Performance at the
Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.


Guadalupe López-Íñiguez, Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki

Guadalupe López-Íñiguez is a Spanish cellist and researcher specialized in the psychology
of music education and a Docent of Music Education at the Sibelius Academy of the University
of the Arts Helsinki.


Heidi Westerlund, Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki

Heidi Westerlund is Professor of Music Education at the Sibelius Academy of the University
of the Arts Helsinki.



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