‘Rethinking Participatory Processes Through Music’
14-15 January 2022, online event
Convened by Igor Contreras Zubillaga (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Huddersfield) and Robert Adlington (University of Huddersfield)
Keynote speakers: Hélène Landemore (Yale University), Anna Bull (University of York), Raymond MacDonald (University of Edinburgh)
In recent times, the UK’s Brexit vote, the 2016 US presidential election, and other elections worldwide have made democratic processes the subject of unprecedented public debate. This has led to widespread questioning of the mechanisms for people’s participation in the democratic system and in political decision-making. One of the most ground-breaking inquiries into what public participation ought to look like within democracy has recently been carried out by political scientist Hélène Landemore (Yale University). In her book Open Democracy (2020), Landemore favours the ideal of ‘representing and being represented in turn’ over direct-democracy approaches. Drawing on recent experiments with citizens’ assemblies, Landemore offers a different concept of nonelectoral democratic representation.
Inspired by Landemore’s work, this third and last study day on the theme of music and democracy aims to explore the potential of music to contribute to this rethinking of participatory processes. As Robert Adlington and Esteban Buch (2020) argue, ‘music is an arena for many kinds of decision-making, and thus for the negotiation of power. It is such parallels that have attracted the attention of many musicians, who have seen in their practice the possibility of modelling new or ideal kinds of democratic social arrangement’. Thus, we will address questions such as: What might democratic participation look like in music? What can music-making tell us about participatory processes in general? What is achieved, politically, by rethinking the way in which music is made? How might we pursue in musical life Landemore’s aspiration to ‘reinvent popular rule for the twenty-first century’?
We invite proposals from scholars working in any discipline for papers exploring participation, decision-making and power negotiation in relation to any musical practice in any historical and geographical context. Alongside Professor Landemore, who joins us as one of our keynote speakers, we will have keynote presentations from Dr Anna Bull (University of York), who has written stimulatingly and critically on the idea of cultural democracy in relation to state funding and pedagogy of music, and Professor Raymond MacDonald (University of Edinburgh), who has explored new approaches to the distribution of power in the domain of jazz and improvisation. Papers will be 20-minutes in length followed by 10 minutes of discussion time. Please submit proposals (250-300 words) to I.ContrerasZubillaga@hud.ac.uk by the deadline Sunday 31 October 2021. The programme will be announced in early December.