Sound Knowledges: A World Artist Summit

University of Guelph, September 4th-6th, 2013

It’s a tremendous responsibility –– responsibility and honor –– to be a writer, an artist, a cultural worker. (Toni Cade Bambara)

Because the world is in constant turmoil, it is the obligation of the musician to counteract the turmoil like trees and birds anchor the world so it balances again. (William Parker)
The Guelph Jazz Festival, in conjunction with the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the University of Guelph, and the SSHRC MCRI research project on “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice” (ICASP), invites proposals for papers and presentations at our annual three-¬day international interdisciplinary conference. This year’s colloquium will take place September 4th to 6th as part of the 20th anniversary edition of The Guelph Jazz Festival (September 4¬‐8), and as the capstone event for ICASP. Featuring workshops, panel discussions, keynote lectures, performances, new research -¬‐ based and artistic collaborations, and dialogues among researchers, artists, and audiences, the annual colloquium cuts across a range of social and
institutional locations and promotes a dynamic international exchange of cultural forms and knowledges.

The 2013 edition of the Colloquium will take the form of a global summit for improvisers. Bringing together a diverse range of creative practitioners, scholars, arts presenters, journalists, policy makers, jazz activists, and members of the general public, it will provoke consideration of a wide range of issues related to cultural activism and social responsibility. We invite papers and creative presentations that will help focus public attention on the role that jazz and improvised music have played as catalysts for social engagement, as pivotal agents of change. The summit seeks to raise questions about appropriate models of artistic responsibility as well as to offer a unique forum for musicians to discuss, develop, and showcase new works that will add immeasurably to the body of existing activist art.

What does it mean to be an artist in the world? How can we best assess what it means for performing artists to be socially responsible? How might that res
ponsibility most purposefully and most creatively manifest itself in practice? How does sound translate into knowledge, into obligation, into social action?
How have jazz and improvisation been used to create greater understanding and cooperation between cultures? What is the role of translocal contact and
cooperation -¬ not the undifferentiated movement of music around the globe, but particular links between specific places as in Brazilian music in New Orleans, Cuban rumba in New York, Mexican son jarocho music from Vera Cruz and Seattle, Indigenous Zapotec music in Fresno?
How do indigenous communities across the world improvise, translate, transform, and indigenize the form of jazz (or of other arts practices)? How might institutions concerned to advance transcultural understanding make use of jazz and improvisational arts? Has the globalizing impact of mainstream jazz on world markets (and the festivals that use “jazz” in their title and marketing) led to a homogenizing of the music?

We invite presentations that address these questions and concerns, as well as case studies focusing on any issues of jazz and musical improvisation in relation to broader questions of social responsibility and transcultural understanding, historicized studies of material practices, practice-¬based research interventions, and analyses of exemplary sites of political and social
transformation keyed to music. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary work that speaks to both an academic audience and a general public. We also invite presenters to submit
completed versions of their papers and presentations to our peer-¬‐reviewed journal, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation
( for consideration.

Please send (500 word) proposals (for 15 minute delivery—alternate formats may also be considered) and a short bio by May 31, 2013 to:
Dr. Ajay Heble, Artistic Director
The Guelph Jazz Festival
email: [email protected]

Download the archived copy of the 2013 Colloquium Call For Papers in PDF form.