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What’s in a good life?

What’s in a good life?

Welcome to the cross-disciplinary conference at Ansgar University College: What’s in a good life? Perspectives from psychology, philosophy, theology, music and intercultural studies.

“What’s in a good life” is an open-ended question that reflects a humanistic approach to research within multiple fields. In this conference, we wish to shed light on the question from the fields of psychology, philosophy, theology, music and health, and intercultural studies. In addition to paper presentations from the individual fields, the conference will facilitate cross-sectional dialogues on the conference topic.

The conference will take place at Ansgar University College in Kristiansand, Norway, 23-24 June 2022. Our beautiful campus is located at Hånes in Kristiansand, not far from Kjevik Airport. We invite you to an evening swim or a morning dip in the sea, only a few minutes by foot from the campus and conference hotel.

Registration is required from all conference participants.

Registration fee is NOK 2100 and includes lunch both days, dinner Thursday night, coffee, and fruit.

The registration fee will be refunded for cancellations submitted prior to 15 June 2022, except for an administrative cost of NOK 250.

Please register here by 15 June 2022.


Ragnhild Bang Nes is a research professor at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) where she coordinates quality of life research, which is now a strategic priority at the NIPH. She is also an associate professor in psychology at the University of Oslo (UiO), and heads the intervention research group at Promenta Research Center (UiO). For more than 18 years, Nes has researched happiness and quality of life. Her research includes studies on stability and change in life satisfaction, wellbeing and psychological distress, genetic and environmental factors, personality, and psychological resilience.


Professor John Milbank (University of Nottingham) is a theologian and philosopher. He is a co-founder of the Radical Orthodoxy movement and was previously director of the centre of theology and philosophy at the University of Nottingham. His work crosses disciplinary boundaries, integrating subjects such as systematic theology, social theory, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy, political theory, and political theology.


Tia DeNora (Ph.D., FBA) is Professor of Music Sociology at the University of Exeter, Professor II in Music Therapy at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen (GAMUT), and a PhD Associate at Nordoff Robbins London. At Exeter, she directs the SocArts research group. She has published extensively within music sociology and music and wellbeing. Her contemporary classic, “Music in Everyday Life”, explores the affective and aesthetic components of agency and social organization through the use of music. Her work has been widely influential both within the sociology of the arts and the field of music therapy.

Gary Ansdell is an Associate of Nordoff Robbins London, Adjunct Professor in Music Therapy at the University of Limerick, Professor II in Music Therapy at the University of Bergen, and an honorary Professor at Exeter University. He has been a music therapist for thirty years, working mostly in the area of adult mental health in the last decade, and currently in late-life care settings. He has been involved in a wide range of areas of music therapy practice, and in developing the Community Music Therapy movement. He has published widely in the areas of music therapy and music and health and is author/co-author of seven books on music therapy, including “How Music Helps: In Music Therapy & Everyday Life” (2014) and with Tia DeNora “Musical Pathways in Recovery: Community Music Therapy & Mental Wellbeing” (2016). Their long term collaboration has led to their joint editorship of the book series Music and Change for Ashgate Publishers.


Diva & the Doctor is a duo with Angelica Kjos and Hans Petter Solli. The two met in the therapy room as patient and therapist. Today, the duo holds concerts and concert lectures all over the country. Angelica sings and talks about her hard-earned life experiences on the road to a life of full value, while Hans Petter plays the guitar and talks about how music and music therapy can help when life is at its darkest. Together, they tell a powerful story about the journey from patient to empowerment.


Professor emeritus Even Ruud (University of Oslo, Norwegian Academy of Music) is a music therapist, musicologist and psychologist. Ruud was central in the start-up of the Norwegian music therapy education, and has largely impacted the field of music therapy and music and health in Norway and worldwide. In his most recent book, “Toward a Sociology of Music Therapy: Musicking as a Cultural Immunogen”, Ruud demonstrates how various forms of “health musicking” help regulate emotions, build sustainable musical communities, and install meaning, hope, and a sense of existential “resonance” in life.

The conference will take place at Ansgar University College, located at Hånes in Kristiansand, 15 minutes by car from Kjevik Airport. Our campus has been newly extended, and we welcome you to dine with an ocean view in our new cafeteria.

Street address: Fredrik Fransonsvei 4, Hånes


Ansgar hotel is located within a 2-minutes’ walk from the Campus, with a beautiful view of the sea, and within a few minutes’ walk to the beach.

Go to booking

By air: Kjevik Airport is 40 minutes by air from Oslo. From Kjevik, you will reach Ansgar University College in 15 minutes by taxi.

By train: Kristiansand city centre is a 4,5 hours train ride from Oslo Central Station. You can get to Ansgar University College by bus or car from the city centre in 20-25 minutes.

Bus (from Oslo): You can get to Krstiansand and Hånes by bus with Vy or Konkurrenten. (Approximately 4 hours from Oslo.) You should choose to get off at Håneskrysset and take the local bus M2 from there to Hånes senter.

Local bus: You will get to Ansgar University College with the local bus M2. From the bus stop Hånes senter there is a five-minutes’ walk down-hill to the Campus.

Marie Strand Skånland, Associate professor in music and health, head of research
Martin Jakobsen, Associate professor in theology
Beate Helmikstøl, Assistant professor in psychology
Lars Mandelkow, Assistant professor in psychology


Marie Strand Skånland, head of organizing committee and head of research at Ansgar University College: [email protected]

In cooperation with Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Agder and Sparebanken Sør

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