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CFP: 2017 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium – Partnering for Change: Learning Outwards from Jazz and Improvisation

April 30, 2017


The University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
September 13-15, 2017

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, in partnership with the Guelph Jazz Festival and the University of Guelph, invites proposals for presentations at our annual interdisciplinary international conference. The colloquium will take place September 13-15, 2017, as part of the 24th annual Guelph Jazz Festival. Featuring panel discussions, debates, performances, immersive experiences, a sharing of stories and best practices, and dialogues among researchers, artists, and audiences, the colloquium fosters a spirit of collaborative, boundary defying inquiry and dialogue, and an international exchange of cultural forms and knowledges.

In his keynote address at the “Partnering Diversity” conference of the Canadian New Music Network in Halifax in 2010, George E. Lewis reflected on how improvisation can “provide models for new forms of social mobilization and community development.” This year’s edition of the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium will seek to enlarge on Lewis’s comments by exploring partnerships as models for social mobilization, and is dedicated to musicians and improvisers who have engaged in community collaborations and social movements. Saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts has coined the phrase “panoramic soundquilting” to describe her compositional method: her attraction “to a certain sort of collagist aesthetic,” to “what happens when all these sounds cross that are not
necessarily completely related to each other. Then you listen back to them and it creates this whole other sonic palette.” Starting with the “collagist aesthetic” and boundary-shattering that can emerge from partner-based improvised musical collaborations and learning outward from there, we will explore topics including the following:

  •  What can creative partnerships teach us about collaboration across sectors and genres?
  • How have musical partnerships contributed to movements for social justice?
  • What are the ways in which people and organizations learn, grow, and change through partnerships?
  • What learning and innovation can grow from perceived failures?
  • What methodologies come into play when musicians, artists, community members and academics come together?
  • What kinds of code-switching happens and how does it foster or hinder growth and change?

We invite proposals to present, discuss, and showcase your partnered and collaborative work and its impacts. We particularly welcome proposals focusing on the involvement of jazz and/or improvised creative practices in current movements such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, and those working with youth.

We welcome proposals for paper presentations, panel or roundtable discussions, musical and other creative performances, and experiential offerings such as arts workshops and multi-media presentations. Please indicate the format of your contribution and any technical or other resources you require. We also invite participants to submit completed versions of their presentations to be considered for publication in our peer-reviewed journal, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation (

Deadline: April 30, 2017

2017 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium
Partnering for Change: Learning Outwards from Jazz and Improvisation
The University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
September 13-15, 2017

Please send proposals (300 words for 15-minute papers, 500 words for alternative format presentations) and a short bio (maximum 250 words) by April 30, 2017 to The 2017 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium, c/o Dr. Ajay Heble: [email protected]

Download the PDF for the 2017 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium call for papers and presentations.


April 30, 2017
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University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada
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