When I sent my music to UNM as a composer, I had only been based in Sweden for a few months. I’d seen the call pretty late and if I recall, sent in my music only like the day before the deadline. I thought, might as well try, it’s the only year I’ll be able to (I was turning 31 the year after). I now can say it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made that year.

That got me programmed into one of the nicest festivals I had been to as a young composer. I got to be an attendee at last year’s edition in Bergen. I was so chuffed! Not only to be one of the 7 Sweden-based young composers, but also to have the opportunity to meet, get to know and exchange with as many composers from each of the represented Nordic countries! It was super exciting and so inspiring. I genuinely was impressed by how smoothly the festival was run, knowing that all of it was driven by the emerging generation.

I also got to meet Tine, a fellow electroacoustic composer, based in extremely Northern Norway. We became good friends, and I got the chance to hang out a lot with her when she was in Stockholm after that. It’s no small thing: making friendships and learning that you have many things in common with other artists in your sister countries can be extremely empowering and exalting. As two women electronic artists, there’s a lot we could relate to and we were able to exchange quite a bit together. There was a real sense of this festival being there as a springboard for us, and I felt it from the start, even as an—until very recently—outsider.

Which leads me to why I joined the board of UNM Sweden in the first place. I felt welcome as an artist here. And I wanted to give back to the community by being a part of this year’s festival, which happens to be hosted in our home country. Some of my most important goals are for this festival to feel welcoming and inclusive, because I saw how much of a huge difference it made. I want you to know that every artist matters, and I want you to be as much a part of the community as you want. UNM exists because we form a collective, and not the other way around.

So far, for this festival, I’ve been responsible for communications, social media strategy, and a lot of our online presence together with Kajsa! 🙂 You’ll see a lot of me around the electroacoustic music productions on the spot, too. Looking forward to meeting you in Piteå!

Vanessa Massera

Author Vanessa Massera

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