Polar TALKS & Polar TECH & Meet the Laureates: Day Pass

13 jun 2018 09:00 - 18:30

Kungl. Musikhögskolan, Kungasalen, Valhallavägen 105, 115 51 Stockholm

Welcome to a day of inspirational talks about music, tech, education and integration in Kungasalen at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm presented by the Polar Music Prize.

Polar Music Prize is proud to present Polar Tech, a brand new conference under the Polar Music Prize banner. Through an exclusive line up of international speakers, master classes and lectures, Polar Tech aims to bridge the emotional and artistic strengths in music with the opportunities presented by technology. The programme is curated and hosted by Lisa Lindström (CEO Doberman) and Anna Ryott (Deputy CEO Norrsken Foundation).

Ashish J Thakkar (founder Mara group), Sophia Bendz (Executive in Residence at Atomico and former Global Marketing Manager at Spotify) and the Songlines organisation are some of the names on this inaugural line up, focusing specifically on education and integration alongside tech and music.

Polar Talks is an international series of inspiring talks and lectures on cutting edge topics, coalescing around one central theme – the Power of Music. Polar Talks focuses on some of the myriad ways that music can produce powerful outcomes across a range of social, artistic and scientific disciplines.

This year, Polar Talks and curator Alfons Karabuda (Chairman of the Polar Music Prize Award Committee) have invited, among others, drummer Josephine Forsman (Sahara Hotnights, Casablanca), and the organisation ShareMusic & Performing Arts to discuss diversity and inclusion within the musical world, and to answer the question, why is it good to play music together?

MEET THE LAUREATES of the Polar Music Prize 2018
The day ends with live, onstage interviews with this year’s Polar Music Prize Laureates. Dr Ahmad Sarmast, founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, will be interviewed by journalist and Afghanistan expert Lasse Bengtsson and Lars Ulrich, co-founder of Metallica will be interviewed by music journalist Jan Gradvall.

Students from the Royal College of Music will perform Polar Music Prize inspired music live throughout the day.

All panels, talks and interviews will be held in English. The day pass gives access to the complete program throughout the day.

All the guests at Polar Tech, Polar Talks and Meet the Laureates will be offered a wristband that gives 20% off in the following Svenska Brasserier restaurants on 13–14 June:
Riche, Teatergrillen, Sturehof, Stockholms matmarknad, Taverna Brillo, Luzette & Ulriksdals Värdshus. Remember to pick up your wristband during the day at KMH!

09.00 DOORS
Registration, coffee & live music by students from the Royal College of Music

10.00 – 12.30 POLAR TECH


  • Ashish J Thakkar keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur, innovator, inspirer
  • Songlines live performance: Ehsan Yaghoobi(piano) & Mohammad Zare (spoken word). Songlines is a music project for young refugees by KulturUngdom, Jeunesses Musicales and Sveriges Ensamkommandes Förening
  • Panel withAshish J Thakkar, artist Loreen and Emma Rosman (Welcome App), moderated by Anna Ryott and Lisa Lindström.


  • Dr Ahmad Sarmast keynote speaker
  • Interview with Fares Hamed from Changers Hub
  • Interview with Sophia Bendz
  • Panel discussion with Fares Hamed, Sophia Bendz and Joel Hellermark (Sana Labs)

14.00 – 16.30 POLAR TALKS

KEYNOTE: Jesper Nordin: ”Gestrument – lowering the threshold to creativity”
A presentation of the Gestrument app.

Moderated by Sophia Alexandersson from ShareMusic & Performing Arts
Jesper Nordin, Peter Larsson, Petra Assio

Josephine Forsman, Alfons Karabuda, Robert Eriksson, Sofia Lilja, Jack Jönsson, Linn Persson

17.00 – 18.30 MEET THE LAUREATES
Two exclusive, on stage interviews with this year's Polar Music Prize Laureates

Dr Ahmad Sarmast, founder of The Afghanistan National Institute of Music
Interview by Lasse Bengtsson

Lars Ulrich, Metallica
interview by Jan Gradvall


Lisa Lindström
Lisa Lindström is one of Sweden’s strongest voices for the power of business innovation and leadership to impact society. Lisa is a founder of the global design firm Doberman, named one of Sweden’s most innovative companies, as well as best digital agency and best place to work. With unorthodox methods for innovation and a unique perspective on both employee empowerment and customer experience, Lisa has developed completely new ways of addressing change management within companies. Lisa has been appointed one of the future female leaders and received the Royal Patriotic Society’s Enterprise Medal. She has also served as an industry adviser to the government and is today chairman of Utbildningsradion (the Swedish Education Broadcasting Company). Lisa frequently lectures on innovation, digital transformation, design, and leadership for change, sharing her perspectives on daring to meet new challenges in a changing world.

Anna Ryott
Anna Ryott is Deputy CEO of Norrsken Foundation, which has become the largest hub for social entrepreneurship in Europe. Anna has extensive professional experience from both business and civil society organisations, she spent several years at the head of Swedfund (the Swedish Government’s Development Finance Institution) and prior to that as the Secretary General of SOS Children’s Villages Sweden and Deputy Secretary General of UNICEF Sweden. On the business side, Anna has worked at Storåkers McCann, McKinsey and Hagströmer & Qviberg. Anna Ryott is also on the board of Axel Johnson, the World Childhood Foundation and the UN Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council. In 2014 she was awarded H.M. The King’s Medal for “Significant contributions to Swedish society and industry”. Overall, Anna’s professional aim is to do everything in her power to eradicate poverty and fight climate change through sustainable business.

Ashish J Thakkar
Ashish is the founder and chairman of Mara Group, and a serial entrepreneur who started his first business at the age of 15 with a $5,000 loan. He has driven the growth of Mara from a small IT business in Uganda to the global multi-sector investment group that it is today, with a presence across 25 African countries in sectors spanning technology, financial services, infrastructure and real estate. In 2012, Ashish was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in recognition of his success and leadership in driving social and economic change. Ashish advises several heads of state in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa. In 2009 he founded the Mara Foundation to inspire and support young emerging entrepreneurs through mentorship and venture philanthropy.

Sophia Bendz
Sophia is an Executive in Residence at Atomico. Based in Stockholm, she advises founders on communications and marketing strategy and scaling their brand. As an active player in Stockholm’s startup scene, Sophia also helps with sourcing and the evaluation of new investment opportunities. Sophia was the Global Marketing Director at Spotify from 2007-2014, where she built out a strong consumer brand from scratch, while launching and marketing the service globally. Today she is an active angel investor and advisor to startups, and serves as a Board Director at Avanza, Kindred Group and non-profit organization Race For The Baltic. She is also a co-founder of non-profit foundation AllBright.se and has invested in start up’s such as Tictail, Bokio, DigiExam, Brighten, and Sana Labs. Sophia believes in working with people who share the same set of values and want to improve the world through innovation.

Fares Hamed
Fares Hamed is a co-founder of Changers Hub and A&R at Pistol Mgmt, a music management & publishing company. Changers Hub democratises success by evening out the odds for young adults of reaching it. Changers Hub is an innovative entrepreneur hub with two locations in Stockholm. The goal is to create a more equal society where all young people have the same chance to succeed with their ideas. Changers Hub offers co-working space, courses, lectures, coaching, networking events and an innovation studio. Changers Hub started late 2015 and has today over 1000 members which makes it one of the biggest hubs in Sweden. Fares combines his experiences with his passion for music creation as A&R manager at Pistol Mgmt where he strives to reach out to not yet discovered and unexpected talents, and to enable access to knowledge, inspiration and networks that young talents need to develop and grow. This especially in areas lacking of platforms for talent to grow.


Alfons Karabuda
Chairman of Polar Music Prize Award Committee and of SKAP – The Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. Alfons will host the Polar Talks program.

Josephine Forsman
Josephine Forsman is a Swedish drummer, songwriter and instructor. A founding member of rock band Sahara Hotnights, she started playing drums at the age of 10, and has toured around the world since then, releasing albums, gaining fans and earning gold records and Grammy nominations. Josephine has hosted music shows on Swedish TV and radio, and is now using her experience of forming a band at an early age and her work with The Loud Program, a non profit music organisation in Los Angeles, to highlight the importance of music groups.

Howlin' Pelle Almqvist
Lead singer of The Hives

Sophia Alexandersson/ShareMusic & Performing Arts
Sophia is the CEO of ShareMusic & Performing Arts,an arts organisation staging cutting edge performances and initiating artistic processes throughout Sweden and internationally. The organisation facilitates and leads courses in performing arts with the fundamental idea to work towards a society where all human beings should have the opportunity to express themselves as artists in a world where difference is seen as valuable. World-renowned artists share the stage equally with people of different abilities. In 2017 ShareMusic was named as one of Europe’s best practices within inclusive performing arts by the international project Un-Label.

Sofia Lilja
Sofia Lilja is working as a artistcoach and mental trainer, and used to be the vocal coach on the Swedish Idol on TV4 for nine seasons. She is an inspiring and sought after lecturer in the field of achievement.

Jack Jönsson
Jack Jönsson is a 13 year old musician, he studies music and singing at musical high school Kulturama in Stockholm. Jack composes, sings, plays the guitar and drums in punk band Jönssonligan. The band will soon release their first single on Wild Kingdom/Sound Pollution.

Jesper Nordin
Jesper Nordin is a leading Swedish composer, and one who has garnered considerable international acclaim in recent years. His music, with its powerful emotional impact and traces of traditional Swedish folk music, rock music and improvised music, is broadcast and performed throughout the world.

Peter Larsson
Peter is a musician, member of the electroduo Parasonic together with Paul Bothén.

Petra Assio
The president of the student union at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

Robert Eriksson
Drummer and founding member of legendary Swedish rock band The Hellacopters.

Polar Talks & Tech are presented by the Polar Music Prize in collaboration with the Royal College of Music (Kungl. Musikhögskolan) and Invest Stockholm.

Day pass

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