From Adele to Zeca Afonso: The Singer-Songwriter in Europe

Call for papers
13-14 September 2012
University of Leeds

The label singer-songwriter has been applied to a wide range of artists, including Joan Manuel Serrat, Paolo Conte, Véronique Sanson and John Lennon. The use of this and related terms (auteur-compositeur-interprète, cantautore and cantautor to name but three) and interpretations of the singer-songwriter’s work differ significantly according to the cultures in which such music is produced and received.

With this conference we aim to question understandings of this figure across Europe, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, to explore the various contexts (e.g. linguistic, musical and ideological) in which the singer-songwriter works and is listened to, and to bring together in dialogue academics from various disciplinary backgrounds working on popular music. As modern linguists, we are particularly interested in interrogating the ways in which our field can contribute to the knowledge in this area.

Papers from all disciplinary perspectives will be considered. Issues for debate include:

– Words and sound
– Gender and sexuality
– Geographies of the singer-songwriter
– Politics and protest
– Authenticity and commodification
– Fandom and audiences
– The singer-songwriter in the digital age

Guest speakers include David Looseley (University of Leeds), Nicola Dibben (University of Sheffield) and Lucy O’Brien (Goldsmith’s College, London). Information on those attending the conference from the music industry will be circulated as confirmation is received.

Deadline for proposals is Thursday 5 April 2012. These should include the title of the conference paper, an abstract of 200 words, and your name, institution, a brief bio-bibliography and contact details. Individual papers should be no more than 20 minutes long. Proposals for 90-minute panels of three speakers will also be considered. Papers are to be delivered in English.

Please send proposals to Stuart Green and Isabelle Marc to

This conference is organized by the European Popular Musics cluster of the Popular Cultures Research Network, based at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Leeds.