cfp: navigating (un)sustainability

2 to 5 March 2023


Venue TBC


Aside from its function as entertainment, music and the arts have long served as a means to engage with the world around us. Many utilize this form of artistic performance to help make sense of the unravelling sociopolitical climates that are evolving around them. As the climate crisis continues to seep into public consciousness, we are becoming increasingly concerned with the idea of (un)sustainability. While this term has significant merit from an environmental standpoint, we should also consider how sustainability – or lack thereof – can be embodied in terms of industry, practice, culture, pedagogy, community, theory and materiality. 

The idea of (un)sustainability, as we understand it, also extends to: (in)stability, (un)accountability, (in)viability, (dis)continuity, (un)reliability, and so forth. 

As we trudge further into the 21st century, it is time to reflect and focus our lens inwards to consider the vicissitudes of music-based industries, pedagogies, practices and communities. By critically reflecting on music’s modes of (un)sustainability, we hope to mitigate our present situation for future generations. We encourage scholars and practitioners to contemplate how their research or personal praxis fits into this larger narrative and welcome all critical insights for music and arts studies in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Questions/points of reflection

  • The (un)sustainability of music careers, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The (un)sustainability of the various ‘spaces’ for musical performance and creation
  • The (un)sustainability of entrenched/unequal gender dynamics and sexual relationships
  • Agents of (un)sustainability: music producers, fans and collectors 
  • How can the music industry become more sustainable?
  • How can processes to preserve musical history, such as archiving, be sustained despite persisting obstacles?
  • How are music scenes and communities sustaining themselves under the pressures of financial, sociocultural, political burdens? What makes them (un)sustainable in the 21st century?
  • How are musical traditions sustained across national, translocal and/or international borders?
  • How can music and performing arts pedagogy be sustainable in the education sector?
  • What kinds of tools, concepts, and methods can be prioritized to think about sustainability in performing arts and popular music studies?
  • What are the historical precedents and contemporary impact of music technologies (e.g. production, distribution, streaming) on popular music and performing arts (un)sustainabilities?
  • What are unique issues regarding (un)sustainability in Southeast Asian music and the arts?

Presentation formats

  • Individual Paper 
  • Organized Panel (3-4 papers) 
  • Roundtable (3-5 papers)
  • Poster Presentations
  • Performance lectures, music workshops, films 
  • Other forms of creative outputs are welcome and will be considered.

Submit an abstract for a presentation in one of the above listed formats (between 250-400 words) along with a short biographical note (100 words). Organizers of panels and roundtables must submit a statement on the focus of the panel/roundtable along with an abstract from each presenter and their respective biographical notes.