2022 – Curating for Change: The Work that Music Festivals Do in the World

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI), Queen’s University, and the University of Guelph are proud to present “Curating for Change: The Work that Music Festivals Do in the World,” a two-part, online conference addressing roles that music festivals play in our communities.

The first part, facilitated by the University of Guelph on Aug. 26-28, will explore the current state of music festivals to imagine their future; the second part, facilitated by Queen’s University on Oct. 14-15, will address the histories of music festivals with an ear to the present. All are welcome to attend these free events and can register now. This conference is taking place in conjunction with IF 2022 (starting Aug. 26), IICSI’s 24-hour improvisational arts festival, which you can learn more about at improvfest.ca.

Through keynote addresses, panels, workshops, film screenings, and musical performances, this conference will explore music festivals as resonant—even if at times contested—sites of activism, equity, environmental stewardship, and community-building. It will bring together scholars, practitioners, artists, organizers, and patrons in the realm of music-making to reflect on the work that independent, artist-run, or boutique music festivals do in promoting vital forms of activist arts-based practices and pedagogies.

The first part of this conference (Aug. 26-28) will take place via Zoom, and will feature a keynote address/performance by William Parker and Patricia Nicholson (Arts for Art / Vision Fest, New York City); a reflection on the art of curation by Amitesh Grover (National School of Drama, India); a conversation between Alan Greyeyes (Sākihiwē Festival) and Candice Hopkins (Forge Project and Toronto Biennial of Art); and a conversation between Ajay Heble (Director of IICSI) and Michel Levasseur (Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville), as well as panels on topics such as “Experimentalism, Transformation, and Festival Culture” and “Staging Difference and Diversity,” and film screenings at Guelph’s local cinema, the Bookshelf. For the full schedule, visit the conference website.

“Curating for Change: The Work that Music Festivals Do in the World” is grateful to the following sponsors and partners for making this event possible: IICSI, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Queen’s University, the University of Guelph, the Bookshelf, CFRC 101.9fm, CFRU 93.3fm, and Tenzier.