Fwd: Music Studies on a Damaged Planet: rescheduled (31 Oct 2020) and registration open

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Aaron Allen

Sep 29, 2020, 1:21:22 PM9/29/20
to Ecomusicology List
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*With apologies for cross posting*

Dear all,

We are pleased to announce that the IMR (RHUL) Symposium Music Studies on a
Damaged Planet: Sound Responses to Environmental Breakdown has been
rescheduled and registration is now open.

The symposium will now be held on Saturday 31st October 2020 as an online

Registration is available through the following link:
Participants will be sent Zoom details in the week before the symposium.

Please find the symposium description and revised programme below.

Best wishes,

Joe Browning (City, University of London) and Andrew Green (University of

Music Studies on a Damaged Planet: Sound Responses to Environmental Breakdown

Supported by the Institute for Musical Research (RHUL)

If, as activist Greta Thunberg says, the only response to climate crisis is to
‘act as if our house is on fire’, where does this leave music studies? Music
scholars, like the wider academy and society at large, have struggled to
respond to the climate emergency and environmental breakdown. And while nature
and the environment have been mounting thematic concerns in some recent work,
the scale and complexity of the current ecological crisis and the urgent need
for widespread systemic change raise questions about the roles and
responsibilities of music scholarship as a whole. If we must now find ways to
live on a damaged planet (Tsing, Swanson, Gan and Bubandt 2017), environmental
breakdown is no longer simply a topic with which some music scholars choose to
engage; rather, it is one of the conditions in which music studies operates.

This one-day symposium asks how music studies should respond to the global
ecological crisis. We aim to consider this question across all dimensions of
our work – from our objects of study, through methods, to research
dissemination, teaching curricula and public engagement – while at the same
time interrogating the institutionalisation of music studies itself. Most
fundamentally, the conference asks questions about the purpose and politics of
academic work. Should critique remain the central academic response to
environmental breakdown? What is the role of practice-based research such as
composition and performance? How might we address the problem of academic
flying and other environmental impacts of knowledge production? How might
musicological practice engage effectively with communities most at risk from
environmental breakdown? How should we teach music in this time of crisis? As
activist movements grow around the world, when and how should academic work
become activist work? And looking beyond familiar tropes of critique, advocacy
and activism: are there other modes of academic work that might offer more
reparative, strategic, or radical forms of response?

The symposium seeks to cultivate a forum in which the ramifications of
environmental breakdown for music studies can be properly felt and debated.
Doing so is necessarily a speculative, experimental proposition. It means
recognising that the ecological crisis intersects with multiple other major
social and political issues, including social justice, migration and late
capitalism. And it means exploring the personal dimensions of scholarly work,
acknowledging that academics are also kin, community members, concerned
citizens, and more. ‘Staying with the trouble’ (Haraway 2016) undoubtedly
entails difficult affects – despair, anxiety, grief, and the witnessing of
damage – but it might also enable a renewal of the scholarly impulse, through
new forms of pedagogy, play, storytelling, resource development, scholarly
collaboration and collective action. The symposium invites contributions in
this spirit of simultaneous concern and commitment.

Symposium Programme

Symposium Zoom Opens: 9.30 [Zoom details provided through registration]

9.40-9.45: Welcome

9.45-11.00: Session 1: Anthropocene Acoustemologies
Patricia Jäggi and Natalie Kirschstein: Listening to Forests and Performing
with Birds: Practices of Aural Biophilia in Times of Ecological Crisis
Bonnie McConnell: Singing the Rain: Climate Change Adaptation and
Marta-Liisa Talvet: Experimental Free Improvisation as Basis for Musical
Communication with Animals Other than Humans

11.00-11.20: Tea break

11.20-12.10: Session 2: Acoustic Interventions
Amanda Bayley and Stevie Wishart: Eco-composition: Music of Our Time
Bennett Hogg: But What do We Say to the Birds?: Sonic Participation as
Ecosystemic Practice

12.10-12.20: Short break

12.20-1.10: Session 3: Sound, Activism, Advocacy
Lewis Coenen-Rowe: Musicology’s Place in the Environmentalist Ecosystem
William Davy Cole: Ecological Crisis and the Special Reach of Practice

1.10-2.00: Lunch

2.00-3.15: Session 4: Sounds of Crisis
Kevin Malone: Troubled Waters
Rob Mackay: Following the Flight of the Monarchs [including telematic
Heidi Hart: Creaturely Acts: Eco-ethics in Music Research and Practice

3.15-3.30: Tea break

3.30-5.00: Keynote Panel
Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle)
Chris Garrard (Composer; Co-director, Culture Unstained)
Angela Impey (SOAS, University of London)
Blythe Pepino (Mesadorm; climate activist)
George Revill (Open University)

5.00 END


Dr Joseph Browning

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Music
City, University of London
Northampton Square
London EC1V 0HB

pronouns: he, him, his


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