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Atlantic Sounds: Music, seafaring and seaport cities in history

Posted: February 20th, 2010 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

A colloquium hosted by the University of Liverpool, Souled Out Films, and Merseyside Maritime Museum
Liverpool, 17/18 September 2010

Researchers have long been aware of the role of music in connecting cultures, and much work has been done on the diverse diasporic musical heritage of the Americas, whether rooted in Africa, Ireland, Britain, Continental Europe, or America itself. In addition, sea-songs devised to aid the hard physical labour of work on sailing ships often emerged from experiences on shore, with many recalling the dangers and pleasures of life in port. The processes and mechanisms that established such connections are less clear, however, and the transmission of musical cultures across oceans by seafarers, travellers, and free and forced migrants is a promising area for further study.

This colloquium aims to gather scholars working on these topics from a range of academic disciplines, and to explore the untold stories of musical links and flows across and around the Western Ocean. We are particularly interested in papers that analyse connections, and ways in which seafarers, migrants, workers and the residents of port towns and cities around the Atlantic influenced each other and the development of a broader musical heritage. Proposals may focus on any period from the mid-18th century to the late 20th, and we will aim for a broad chronological range of papers at the colloquium.

We hope that Liverpool’s own long engagement with seafaring, transatlantic connections and music—from the seasongs of the Napoleonic wars to Merseybeat and beyond—will make it the ideal venue for this event. Most of the colloquium will consist of round-table discussion of pre-circulated papers, but we also aim to include a public lecture and performance at the Merseyside Maritime Museum to open the event to a wider audience. As well as encouraging academic networking and publication, the organisers are interested in exploring multi-media outputs including documentary film-making and museum exhibitions.


Applicants should submit a 200-word abstract and a summary CV (single side) as email attachments to the address below by 1 March 2010. The organisers are seeking sponsorship for the event, but speakers should plan to meet their own travel and accommodation costs.


Dr. Michael L. Jones
Course Director, MA Music Industry Studies
Institute of Popular Music
University of Liverpool
Phone: 0151.794.2939

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