cfp: Music, Research, and Activism


May 10–12, 2023, University of Helsinki

Call for Papers

What does social and environmental justice mean in music or music

research? How can music and music research advance equality, equity,

human rights or ecological sustainability? What could music

researchers and practitioners do in our contemporary world

characterized by climate emergency, ecocide, racism, gender

discrimination, war, conflict, and humanitarian crises? What is the

relationship between music and the rest of society, and what might

activist research look like in the field of music studies?

These kinds of questions have preoccupied music researchers,

practitioners, and other professionals more and more during the past

two decades, in various branches of music research, from historical

and systematic musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, and popular

music studies to music education, sound and technology studies,

soundscape studies and artistic based research. Like in many other

disciplines within the humanities, social sciences, and environmental

sciences, a growing interest has developed rapidly in music studies

about politically engaged activist research that is committed to

social and environmental justice, anti-oppression, and social change.

This has often resulted in new modes of critical and action research,

applied research and co-operative institutional projects,

participatory and creative methodologies, as well as in novel

experiments in university teaching and reflections on the

positionality and roles of a music scholar.

The conference Music, Research and Activism seeks to bring together

scholars and practitioners engaged in music, research, and activism in

different disciplines and scholarly traditions. Activist research may

be motivated with environmental and social movements and struggles, as

well as with topical crises and conflicts such as climate emergency,

ecological catastrophes, wars and conflicts, forced migration, and the

COVID-19 pandemic. Activist music research calls us to revisit many

classical questions of music research (in both practical and

theoretical perspectives), addressing music as a social and political

force, cultural practice, identity technology, material culture and

economy. It is also crucial to acknowledge the epistemological

diversity of the world, which fuels activist researchers to engage

with forms of knowledge production beyond academic conventions.

The conference will include keynote presentations by ecomusicology and

sustainability researcher Aaron S. Allen, from the University of North

Carolina at Greensboro (US); Chicana artivista, musician and feminist

music theorist Martha Gonzalez from the Department of Chicanx-Latinx

Studies at the Scripps College (California, US); and feminist writer

and social critic Minna Salami (London, UK). Moreover, the conference

will include a panel discussion on activist approaches in music

history research.

The conference welcomes proposals for individual papers and themed

sessions from scholars and practitioners engaged with music and

activist research. The duration of conference papers will be 20

minutes for the presentation, 8 minutes for discussion, and 2 minutes

to prepare for the next talk. Special session proposals will consist

of 3–4 conference papers linked thematically together. In addition to

academic conference papers, the conference welcomes practice research

contributions, such as video essays, short documentary films,

audio/radiophonic essays, and mixed media presentations. All research

presentations can include live music examples, but no special live

music technology will be provided by the conference. There are pianos

at some lecture halls. The language of the conference is English.

Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  *   Methodologies of activist music research

  *   Music and social/environmental justice

  *   Music and social movements (e.g., #metoo, BLM, Extinction

Rebellion, peace and anti-war movements)

  *   Ecomusicology

  *   Music and sustainability

  *   Anti-racist activism in music and music scholarship

  *   Indigenous activism in music and music scholarship

  *   Feminist and LGBTIQ activism in music and music scholarship

  *   Activist music history research

  *   Activist music education

  *   Music, human rights and capability studies

  *   Activist music and musicians, artivism and artistic research

  *   Musical diversity in cultural heritage

  *   Music and violence

  *   Diversity, equity and inclusion projects within music

institutions and industries

  *   Applied ethno/musicology and music research as advocacy work

  *   Activist music research in university teaching

  *   Any other related topic

The conference is being organized as a face-to-face conference, to be

held at the City Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki, Finland.

The conference has an accessible online participation as an option for

a few participants. This option will be reserved for anyone with

limited accessibility who is unable to travel to the conference, due

to the lack of funding or otherwise. The participants are asked to

mention in their abstract submission whether they are applying to

attend the onsite or online conference. Please note that it is not

possible to shift between categories after submitting your abstract.

Send in your proposal via the submission form by 15 October 2022:

Receipt of proposals will be acknowledged via e-mail, and the decision

of acceptance will be notified by December 16, 2022. The conference

draft program will be announced in early Spring 2023. The likely

conference fee will be €120 (onsite, waged), or €60 (onsite, unwaged)

including coffees and lunches. Online attendance will be €50. For

unwaged participants unable to pay the participation fee, please

contact the organizer

(<>) to see if a fee

waiver can be arranged.

Please follow the conference website


for further information, such as guidelines on registration details.