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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.

We welcome abstract submissions for presentations in the form of paper presentations, poster presentations, and symposium sessions. Please specify the type of presentation in your submission. Abstracts should be 250 words. Please include name, affiliation and corresponding details for the author and possible co-authors together with a short biography.

Deadline for submissions is 15th of November 2021.

Please use the web form for submissions.

Paper Presentations

Paper presentations are 20 minutes in length, followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussion. Papers do not need to meet certain topics, but the theme should somehow be related to the conference question “What’s in good life?”.

Poster Presentations

There will be a poster session during the conference in which presenters can display their research and interact with other conference participants. Posters do not need to meet certain topics, but the theme should somehow be related to the conference question “What’s in good life?”.


Abstracts for symposium sessions would be in the form of a proposal. Symposium sessions will be held by groups of people (3 or 4 people is recommended) centred around a specific topic. One proposal should be submitted on behalf of the group. Please include other group members as additional authors on the submission form. These sessions will be 90 minutes in length.

Registration is required from all conference participants.

Registration fee:

  • Early bird, registration prior to 1 March 2022: NOK 1800
  • Registration after 1 March 2022: NOK 2100

Registration fee 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 Gary Ansdell ( Exeter University, University of Bergen, Limerick University) & Professor Tia DeNora  (Exeter University and University of Bergen) have worked together since 2005. They collaborated on a 10 year longitudinal ethnography of Community Music Therapy in Mental Health, which resulted in a triptych of books published by Routledge. They are now at work on an ethnography of music in scenes of late and end of life, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom. That work is in collaboration with Randi Rolvsjord and Wolfgang Scmhid at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen. Gary and Tia co-edit the Ashgate Music and Change series. Ansdell and DeNora will do a joint keynote.


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.


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.


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.


Ryan Mullins (University of Helsinki) has published over 30 essays on various topics in philosophical theology related to models of God, philosophy of time, personal identity, the problem of evil, disability theology, the Trinity, and the incarnation. He has published two books, The End of the Timeless God (Oxford University Press, 2016) and God and Emotion (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Mullins has held research and teaching fellowships at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Cambridge, the University of St Andrews, and the University of Edinburgh. When not engaging in philosophical theology, he is often found at a metal show.

23 June
Welcome/artistic element
Parallel sessions
Coffee and mingle
Parallel sessions/invited speaker
Poster session
Concert lecture: Diva and the Doctor
24 June
Coffee and mingle
Artistic element
Parallel sessions
Parallel sessions
Coffee and mingle
Parallel sessions/invited speaker

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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