Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Big Sounds from Small Places

Posted: December 15th, 2020 | Filed under: Calls for Papers, IASPM Conferences | No Comments »

IASPM Canada Annual Conference 2021 Call For Papers
Virtual Conference
7 – 18 June 2021

Submission Deadline: 15 January 2021

As we enter into a new decade it’s apt to question our place in the world. Almost sixty years ago, Marshall McLuhan notably coined the term Global Village to refer to the global spread of media content and consumption, and yet Canada still struggles with its position in the world as an imposing landmass with a relatively small population, and how that influences where and how its cultural texts are encountered. This conference seeks to address the concept of voice and sound as tied to space and place, in the broadest sense. In regards to popular music in Canada, we have established a strong identity, but one that is often defined in opposition to our more vocal neighbours to the South. As we continuously define and redefine Canadian cultural identity, and cultural outputs, this conference questions how our musical landscape has historically adapted, and will continue to adapt, to an increasingly globalized environment.

While we welcome papers on any aspects of popular music, we encourage papers that align with the conference subthemes: audiences; space & place; and populations & peripheries.


The digital landscape has dramatically extended the reach of niche music, local musicians, and subcultures/scenes. Potential areas of focus in this theme include, but are not limited to:

  • Scenes: from “small town” roots to urban niches. The history, present, and future of local scenes.
  • Digital communities/fans: the spread of Canadian pop through digitality.
  • Subcultures: issues of subcultural identity in popular music
  • Everyday uses of music
  • Listening practices: environmental impacts; listening to music in transit
  • Dance and embodied consumption

Space & Place:

Canada, as a Nation and a concept, continues to exist as both “village/settlement” and a major player on the global stage. The ways in which popular music also navigates these complicated relationships is often intimately tied how space and place is expressed in music. This can be seen not only in Canadian music, but also throughout a myriad of cultural and national identities. Potential areas of focus in this theme include, but are not limited to:

  • Issues of space and place in popular music
  • Land-based epistemologies and musical embodiment; the natural environment and music spaces
  • “Small” nations/artists/communities on the global stage
  •  Live music and venues: small/hidden/underground venues; “noise” and leaking sounds; busking; rehearsal spaces
  • Music-making practices in domestic spaces

Populations & Peripheries:

How does/can music become the sound of a community? This theme explores the connection between cultural identity, community, and music. In addition, it takes up the notion of peripheriesto focus on the marginalized, subaltern, and/or tokenized sounds/identities, and to disrupt hegemonic paradigms. Potential areas of focus in this theme include, but are not limited to:

  • Music and cultural, community, and/or national identity
  • “Small” economies in smaller populations
  • Issues of music policy and practice
  • Making music in jail
  • The sounds of Indigenous, Immigrant, Disabled, LGBTQ, and/or Ally communities

Submission Guidelines:

Abstracts of individual papers, workshops, performances and other presentations should be no longer than 300 words. The program committee is especially interested in proposals in diverse formats.  Panel submissions should include a title and abstract for the panel (300 words max.) as well as titles and abstracts for the individual papers on the panel. All abstracts for a panel should be submitted together. Abstracts will be adjudicated individually, so it is possible for a panel to be accepted but not an individual paper and vice versa. Each abstract should also include a short biography of the author (100 words max.) including the institutional affiliation, if any, and email address of each author. Each abstract should also include five keywords. Submissions in French and English are acceptable. All submissions must be submitted as a single Word document with the author’s last name as the document file name. Please do not submit your proposal as a PDF. Proposals will be blind reviewed.

Submit abstracts in this google form: https://forms.gle/oURw2x7avFSbvb966

Presentation Logistics:

Papers will be limited to 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of questions. Panels will be limited to a maximum of 4 papers. Other presentations (workshops, film screenings, roundtables, etc.) will generally be limited to 60 minutes, but alternatives can be discussed/proposed. All participants must be members of IASPM-Canada at the time of the conference. Membership information is available on the following website: http://iaspm.ca/membership.

For questions about the conference, please contact the Program Committee Chair, Melissa Avdeeff ([email protected]), or Local Organizing Chair, Chris McDonald ([email protected]).

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