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The Eurovision Song Contest and the Changing Europe

A half-day conference organised by the EBU in partnership with Sveriges Television taking place in the week of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest.

The event will explore the Contest’s relationship to European unity and belonging at this particular historical moment in which the idea and ideals of Europe are being challenged by the ongoing refugee crisis and the terror attacks on Paris and Brussels.

The conference is intended to interrogate – and celebrate – the work that the Eurovision Song Contest does in creating a felt sense of Europeanness amongst viewers and participants. 

Target Audience: Journalists, academics, members of the local public with a particular investment in these issues 

Organiser and Chair: Dr. Karen Fricker, Brock University, Ontario, Canada


Opening Remarks 

Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor, Eurovision Song Contest, EBU 

Emma Stenström, Director of the Research Centre for Arts, Business, and Culture, Stockholm School of Economics

PANEL 1 (10:00 – 11:15)

Transforming Europe, one city at a time

Guiding questions: How does the Eurovision Song Contest work to promote an idea of European belonging? How does it affect the cities that host it? Particular area of focus – the “Conchita-effect.” How did Conchita Wurst’s win affect ideas of European belonging, and how did hosting the contest affect Vienna?


·         Prof. Andreas Önnerfors, University of Gothenburg, formerly University of Malmö

·         Prof. Peter Rehberg, University of Texas at Austin (sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service - DAAD)

·         Marco Schreuder, Senior consultant for public affairs, former member of Austrian Parliament (Green Party), Conchita Wurst’s communications manager in 2014-2015 

·         Klaus Unterberger, Head of Research, ORF (Austria)


PANEL 2 (11:30 – 12:45)

Diversity and belonging in the 21st century Eurovision Song Contest

Guiding questions: How has the picture of Europe presented at Eurovision reflected migration, ethnic and religious diversity in Europe? How has Eurovision contributed to a non-homogenous Europe? How do European belonging and national belonging contradict or intersect at Eurovision?


·         Joanna Kurosz, Eurasia Programme Director, Civil Rights Defenders

·         Olof Lavesson, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Swedish Parliament; spokesperson on LGBTQ issues for the Moderate Party

·         Hanna Stjärne, Director General, SVT

·         Prof. Dean Vuletic, University of Vienna







Stockholm School of Economics

Sveavägen 65, 113 83 Stockholm