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

IASPM 2011 17th Biennial International Conference

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

‘Situating Popular Musics’
Grahamstown South Africa, Monday 27 June until Friday 1 July, 2011

For its 17th biennial conference, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) invites papers which explore the many ways of situating  popular music  in the light of IASPM celebrating its 30th year. The opening plenary will be given by Philip Tagg, IASPM founder.

The week of the conference leads up to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival which is the biggest arts festival in Africa and the southern hemisphere. This will be a stimulating   context for members of IASPM to explore arguments about  different popular music practices, spaces and places.


The deadline for abstracts is 1st July  2010. Conference email: [email protected]. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and must  be  sent in special format (please see end of this notice).


1. IASPM 30 Years On

When IASPM began back circa 1981, it pulled together a passionate, fragmented group of people working at the fringe or outside the academy  in many different parts of the world,  their  work often looked down on by mainstream musicologists and many music departments.  Thirty  years later Popular Music is very much part of the academy (music,  musicology, cultural studies, sociology, history, media, women’s studies departments etc), with an  increasing number of large,   research projects, publications, journals and students. It’s inter-disciplinarity has seen it draw on many theoretical positions  and have impact in many  areas.   What kind of benefits have come with  the institutionalisation of Popular Music?  What has been achieved and where are we heading?  Have gender and disciplinary boundaries been breached positively or only notionally? Has there been mutual influence between disciplines? Why have popular music studies achieved a higher profile and gained more ground in some countries rather than others? Does Anglo-US work still dominate eclipsing revealing work from other cultural sources and if so why?  How does IASPM interface with professionals working outside the academy?  Have popular music studies  had  any impact on popular culture and on society as a whole?

Convenors:  Jan Fairley, Helmi Järviluoma.
Emails:  [email protected],  [email protected][email protected].

2.  Multisited Popular Music

How have the development of  theories and methodologies for multisited and transcultural approaches to popular music impacted on research?   This is IASPM’s 2nd conference in Africa, the first being Ghana 1987 (Africa in the World of Popular Music)  an event which produced lively debates which some feel got lost in subsequent years.  With the conference in South Africa comes  an opportunity to map post colonial music scenes in the world on  all continents.   It offers an opportunity to explore what is meant by African music;  to critique historical binaries;  to consider the intricacies of ‘diaspora’;  to discuss  the impact of  Africa in the world,  and the way different African musics which are seen to underpin so many musics  in the world, regionally and generically, have interacted with and absorbed ‘other’ musics.

Convenors:  Michael Drewett, Violeta Mayer.
Email: [email protected][email protected][email protected].

3. Popular Music  and the Culturalization of the Economy

In many parts of the world music is now an integral part of the ‘culturalization of the economy’ with an increasing emphasis placed on culture as part of local/ national/ international governing bodies, as part of city regional and national economic re-generation, an integral part of city festivals, music festivals and modern  tourism.  The opposite may be true in  countries which have strong, even burgeoning manufacturing economies.  What are the implications of these shifts for popular music and for popular music studies?

Convenors: Héctor Fouce, Helmi Järviluoma.
Email: [email protected][email protected][email protected].

4. Popular Music Challenges

How can a musician earn a living in the age of digital music? How and why has  the live scene reconfigured from stadium rock to living room concerts? In what ways do  pirate sites, legal downloads and streaming system coexist? Who owns what in terms of authorship and technology? What kind of struggles are going on?  How has  swiftly changing technology and media affected creativity and performance practices in music and dance?

Convenors: Carlo Nardi, Héctor Fouce.
Email: [email protected],  [email protected][email protected].

5. The Power and Politics of Sound and Body

Has it ever been valid to talk about  ‘music’  per se and is it valid anymore? How is musical creativity and composition responding  to the increasing demands and  complexity of the  technological world and its so-called democratization’?  What kind of musical analysis lends itself  to examining  popular music texts created for different musical contexts today? How ethnocentric and class-centric are musical metadiscourses? How is music and dance being approached?  Are old arguments concerning emotion and meaning valid anymore? What methods are being used to explore the relationship between music and religion; the ‘spiritual’; well-being; health; political beliefs, and many kinds of human struggle?

Convenors, Jan Fairley, Violeta Mayer.
Email: [email protected][email protected][email protected].

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and should be  sent in the following format

Mailing address
Telephone number
Email address
Keywords (five keywords that best describe your topic)

PLEASE follow  the following abstract email etiquette:

(i) send a copy of your abstract to both the  conference address and the convenors of your chosen  streamas a word document.

(ii) label your abstract file  with your last name and stream (i.e. smith popular music challenges.rtf, or smith popular music challenges. doc),  not the title of your proposal.

(iii) write your surname and stream as the  email subject line of your email. i.e. Smith Popular Music Challenges.

The conference address is  [email protected]


We will notify participants in November 2010 and the programme will published on line  as soon as possible in 2011. We look forward to seeing you at this very special conference in South Africa in the 30th year of IASPM!

The IASPM-International Executive

Leave a Reply