by Leonard Sprueth

IASPM-US Conference / Call for Papers

For next years conference, the The International Association for the Study of Popular Music – United States will invite to New Orleans, Louisiana, March 7-10, 2019.

The Assosiaction calls for proposals for individual papers and panels on any aspect of popular music, those on the musical cultures of New Orleans; music in and of the global and local South; and music and race and resistance are especially welcomed. Thematically will be looked upon the topic of “Musical Cities: Music, Historiography, and Myth”. Possible Subdivisions here might include:

  • Cities, music, and race
  • Musical legends and apocrypha
  • Specific cities as places of musical genre origin
  • Space and place in music-making
  • New Orleans as a site of resistance, rebuilding, reconstruction, and gentrification
  • Intersectionality in musical cultures
  • Music and historiography in the context of global and local Souths
  • Religion and spirituality in musical cultures

As an interdisciplinary organization, IASPM-US is open to include work from different angles of view such as scholars of race, religion, sexuality, gender, geography, folklore, history and further more. The program’s committee consists of Kendra Preston Leonard (chair), John Dougan, Murray Forman, Shana Goldin-Perschbacher, Anthony Kwame Harrison, and Jennifer Stoever.


To find out more about formal & thematical requirements, click here!

by R. Kuchar

Preliminary Programme Online – ‘Groove the City’ – Urban Music Policies between Informal Networks and Institutional Governance

Hi there again,

after having opened registration for our conference yesterday, we are proud to announce that the preliminary programme of ‘Groove the City – Urban Music Policies between Informal Networks and Institutional Governance’ now is completed.

Have a look at Keynotes, Paper Sessions and Conference Events taking place from Nov. 23rd to 25th on the Programme Site.

Don´t forget to registrate until Oct. 15th! All information about registration you find here.

Hopefully see you in November!

The organizing committee

by R. Kuchar

Registration Open! ‘Groove the City’ – Urban Music Policies between Informal Networks and Institutional Governance

We are very happy to announce that registration for the 1st international conference of Urban Music Studies Network held from Nov. 23rd-25th, 2018 at Leuphana University of Lueneburg is open now. Until Oct. 15th you can register for conference participation and conference events. For each participant, we provide options regarding special requirements (e.g. child-care, barrier-free access).

Conference Fees are 120,00 € for Regular Participants (General Admission and Paper Presenters), 70,00 € for Students, Phd Students and Unemployed Scholars and  60,00 € for Day Tickets (valid on Friday or Saturday or Sunday).

Please make your registration here: https://www.conftool.org/groove-the-city-2018/

Shortly we will provide more detailed information about the conference programme and events on the conference website.


by Leonard Sprueth

XIV. Symposium zur Filmmusikforschung – Mapping Spaces, Sounding Places: Geographies of Sound in audiovisual Media

In collaboration with the Università di Pavia – Dipartimento di Musicologia e Beni Culturali, the Kieler Gesellschaft für Filmmusikforschung invites for a symposium of how sound design, film music and music editing in general exert a primary function in conveying senses of space and place in audiovisual media.

Together we will explore how strategies for connoting space and place in film sound and music vary with cinematic practices across history and according to transnational patterns of negotiation between global and local modes of production. The focus is also set on mutually embodied insights into specific socio-historical contexts and the documentation of human geographies.

The conference aims to bring together scholars interested in mapping geographies of music and sound practices in audiovisual media (e.g. film, television, video games, interactive art). Cultural, ethnographic, historical, analytical, data-driven and aesthetic approaches are welcome, as well as research on industrial and commercial practices.

More information regarding speakers & paper addressing can be found here

Conference date and venue:
19-22 March 2019
Department of Musicology and Cultural Heritage, University of Pavia (Cremona)

Interactive Music Mapping Vienna – Research Project

06/06/2018 by Leonard Sprueth | 0 comments

Exploring a City. 1945 up to the Present Day

Lead by Susana Zapke, keynote-speaker at our conference in November, this research project tackles the role of music in urban context as an instrument of social identification and the question of how music is symbolically used in municipal politics. The city of Vienna hereby functions as an example to point out the ways music can be responsible for creating specific city spheres and ideological subjects.

In this manner, cultural and social practices are looked upon to identify the modus operandi of the city as well as its social dispositions. Vienna’s site-specificity will thereby be attributed to the acoustic-tonal construct inherited.

This particular research-emphasis was developed through the entanglement of scientific and artistic approaches and practices of diverse projects at the MUK Vienna since 2012.

More info

by R. Kuchar

Reminder: Conference Call ‘Groove the City’ – Deadline on May 10th

‘Groove the City’ – Urban Music Policies between Informal Networks and Institutional Governance is the 1st international conference of the Urban Music Studies Network that will be held from Nov. 23rd to 25th, 2018 at Leuphana University of Lueneburg. We would kindly like to remind you that the deadline for the conference´s call for papers is approaching and – again like to encourage the submission of paper presentations, panels and posters.

The conference issues a better understanding of structures, processes and underlying mechanisms of urban music between politics and policies, local and global influences, and economic and social interests on micro vs. macro levels. For more information have a look at the call for papers.

The keynote programme of the conference is also alreday confirmed and we are very happy to welcome three international experts on music policy and the city: Prof. Dr. Will Straw (McGill University Montreal), Prof. Dr. Susana Zapke (Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna), and Prof. Dr. Martin Cloonan (University of Turku).

For abstract submissions and for any questions regarding the conference and the network contact us via urbanmusicstudies@leuphana.de

Hopefully see you in November

The organizing committee

by R. Kuchar

‘Groove the City’ – Urban Music Policies between Informal Networks and Institutional Governance

The 1st international conference of Urban Music Studies Network will be held from Nov. 23rd-25th, 2018 at Leuphana University of Lueneburg. We are welcoming everyone interested to take part. Please have a look at the conference´s call for papers and the preliminary information on programme and registration.


by R. Kuchar

Reminder & Update: Groove the City – Urban Music Policies between Informal Networks and Institutional Governance

We would like to remind you of the open call for our conference in November and are very happy to announce that we have been able to complete Keynote Speaker appearances for this first major event related to Urban Music Studies Network:

Susana Zapke will complete Keynotes at Groove the City Conference

We are very delighted to announce that Univ. Prof. Dr. Suzana Zapke from Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna will join the Keynote Programme of our Conference. Suzana Zapke is currently the head of the Research Project Interactive Music Mapping Vienna (http://www.musicmapping.at) that focuses on questions of how music is utilized in urban symbolic policy. Together with the plenary lectures by Martin Cloonan and Will Straw, the Keynote programme of our conference will consist of three highly respected scholars and cover different perspectives of music policy – from below ground up to critical reflections of institutional urban and state interventions.

The three Keynote Speakers:

  • Univ. Prof. Dr. Susana Zapke (Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna). Prof. Suzana Zapke is Prorector of the University MUK, Director of the Department of Arts and Resarch, and Professor of Musicology at the same University.
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Cloonan (University of Turku). Professor Martin Cloonan is Director of the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS). Before joining TIAS, Martin was Professor of Popular Music Politics at the University of Glasgow.
  • Prof. Dr. Will Straw (McGill University Montreal). Professor Will Straw is James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies. He researches the social and institutional dimensions of popular music, and the development of the notion of music scene.

Call for Papers – open until May 10th:

“Groove the City. Urban Music Policies between Informal Networks and Institutional Governance”

With their social, material and cultural resources, cities have been and still are a precondition for the emergence and flourishing of music scenes; they are central turning points of the production, distribution and consumption of acoustic capital. The close connection between music and the city has been illustrated by genre terms such as Viennese Waltz, New Orleans Jazz, Chicago Blues and Liverpool Sound or trademarks such as London Symphony, Salzburg Festival or Hamburg State Opera. They point out to municipalities where an orchestra, a school or a group is situated, the town where particular events take place, or specific urban conditions from which specific musical genres originate. The relationship between the two, city and music, is dynamic and reciprocal. Music is a central part of urban culture; it forms communities and acts as a symbolic resource, contributing to the self-awareness of its inhabitants as being “urban” and in some cases even to the cultural identity of the city itself. And the “urban” is a central part of music; music mines and scoops urban particularities, and musical compositions are shaped by the urban settings they have been created in.

Although music always made a crucial contribution to the complexity of urban developments, lifestyles and identity, after the 1990s and especially in the new millennium the role of music for cities gained an importance unknown before. Especially in the neo-liberal discourses about “music and city”, production, distribution and consumption are embed into a complex bundle of mutually interwoven factors, which go far beyond the traditional understanding of musical culture as art. The main issues of discussion are now a growing significance of musical organization for the creative economy, the post-industrial regeneration of de-industrialized parts of towns, city branding and marketing, city planning, interurban competition, and tourism. An instrumentalization for such secondary purposes prevails the discourse.

Since the relationship between music and the city appears on various levels closer or more distant from cultural aspects, and within differing contexts of production, distribution and consumption, they are subject to different kinds of city policies, political attention, legal regulation, and economic interests. Although in practice municipal policies might differ from case to case, they sit on a broad spectrum between two contrasting modes of operation. As a (criticizable) example for a top-down planning principle, music has been used by the “creative city” paradigm by purposefully connecting “music” and “city” to giving a city the attribute of being “creative”. Examples of key policy-makers from local districts to high-ranking political institutions can be readily found, e.g., UNESCO (UNESCO Creative Music Cities program), the European Union (European Capitals of Culture), and many national political bodies. This post-industrial search for urban futures also gives birth to new, predominantly economically oriented agents (Sound Diplomacy), who promise a policy to supporting governments by maximizing the value of music for building it into the urban environment. This discourse is limited to the Northern hemisphere and completely neglects wide parts of the world, such as the “Global South”, e.g., there are only two UNESCO Music Cities in Africa, and none in the Arab region.

The implementation of this political agenda results in substantial (public) investments, such as the building of new opera houses and concert halls (e.g., Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg; the Royal Opera House in Abu Dhabi; Guangzhou Opera in Western China), even though the public of “classical music” is comparatively small. Furthermore, there is also a growing culturalization of cities through popular music genres, especially by festivalization and mega-events, such as the New York Music Month, the Paris Hip Hop Festival, or the Rio Music Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Many of the informal urban musical practices of these and other cities are ignored and excluded from the events that are based on neoliberal approaches of city marketing and policies.

On the other side, juxtaposing the macro system of the above “urban political economy”, we find culturally and socially diverse micro networks, music scenes and DIY practices. These structures are in most cases globally connected, but they serve predominantly local communities, work creatively with limited funds and often anticipate emerging cultural trends. Contrary to the top-down politics of the “urban growth coalition”, these bottom-up approaches are connected to other initiatives, promoting human rights, sustainability goals, and the democratic “Right to the City”. These micro spheres of production, distribution and consumption rarely profit from the official fostering of music but suffer under the commercialization of public spaces and gentrification, destroying their fragile infrastructure (e.g. the death of grass-roots music clubs). They develop alternative forms of governance and try to resist the neo-liberal exploitation of industrial music markets.

In order to better understand these structures, processes and underlying mechanisms of urban music between politics and policies, local and global influences, and economic and social interests on micro vs. macro levels, the Urban Music Studies Scholars Network organizes a symposium related to these issues on November 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2018 at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany.

Since Urban Music Studies are a lively field of research with a high discursive and trans-disciplinary potential, we welcome critical reflections from a broad range of disciplines, such as: Historical Musicology, Sociology of Music, Urban Theory, Urban Sociology, Policy Studies/ Political Science, Geography, Ethnomusicology, Popular Music Studies, Cultural Studies, Architecture, Media Studies, Sustainability Studies, Intersectionality & Diversity Studies, Anthropology, Psychology, and Economy. Theoretical and methodological approaches are as appreciated as empirical (case) studies. All musical genres (classical music, Jazz, popular music) can be subjects of discussion, and though the focus should lay on the current situation, historical contributions are also of interest. Furthermore, we especially encourage cross cultural perspectives and proposals from the “Global South” and other “peripheral” cities and countries, which are neglected in the current mainstream research and scientific discourse.

Abstracts of papers and group sessions are invited on any of the following topics:

  • Theoretical and conceptual frameworks
  • Historical backgrounds
  • Music as a part of the intrinsic logic of cities
  • Power relationships in different musical fields
  • Prevailing discourses, political strategies and practical examples
  • Interurban competition and the standardization of cities policies on a global level
  • Musical ecosystems, scene structures and symbolic economy
  • Institutionalization of informal musical practices
  • Social-economic impacts of neo-liberal policies on micro spheres of musical life

The conference language is English. Proposals can be submitted

  • for panels on a specific topic (with three presentations, 60 minutes + 30 minutes discussion),
  • for single papers (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion), or
  • for a poster presentation of (PhD) projects.

Please include your name, your academic affiliation, title, an abstract of 250 words, five keywords, a short biographical note of no more than two sentences, and your contact information.

Please submit your abstract via e-mail to urbanmusicstudies@leuphana.de . The deadline for the submission of the proposals is May 10th 2018. The notification of acceptance will follow before August 1st 2018. A publication of selected papers is planned.

More information and call as pdf here.