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

Life-Writing: Imagining the Past, Present and Future

Posted: September 12th, 2019 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

IABA World Turku 2020
9–12 June 2020
Turku, Finland

Popular music papers welcome!

SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory warmly welcomes proposals to the 12th IABA World Conference, which will be held at the University of Turku (Finland), June 9-12, 2020. Through the theme of Life-Writing: Imagining the Past, Present and Future, IABA World 2020 will explore the multiple temporalities shaping the dimensions of life storying and life writing research. Temporality impacts the writing and shaping of life narratives, as well as the ways in which we analyze life narrative documents. The temporal is at the core of how we understand the centuries-long histories of how the self is written about and the genealogy of life writing research. Temporality, however, does not mean only gazing to the past, but also understanding how the present moment and orientation to the future are visible in life writing and/or how history makes its presence known in different moments and spaces. The temporal approach also invites us to explore how the future is imagined in life narratives and to discuss our visions for the future of life writing studies.

This interdisciplinary conference encourages dialogues across boundaries of theory, methodology, genre, place, and time. The Conference invites not only traditional conference papers and panels, but also unconventional presentation formats, creative sessions, as well as artistic performances. We encourage cross-disciplinary and transnational contributions. Proposed works may consider life storying through themes including for example:

Narrating and imagining life courses (for example childhood, youth, and aging in life writing)
Ethics of storytelling
Cultural memory and societal change
Non-human life storying / Life writing in posthumanism
Autobiography, diary, letters, and life writing in historical research
The histories and futures of different genres of life writing
Digital history and the future of biographical and prosopographical research
Sensory and/or Emotive narratives
Life storying in popular culture (music, film, theatre, games)
Visual life narratives (photography, graphics, visual arts etc.)
Hidden/forgotten lives vs. Public/celebrated lives
Interrelations: Family and life writing
Life storying migrations, displacements, and belongings
Life writing illness and wellness / disability and ability
Imagining futures in life narratives
Life writing and artistic research
The histories and futures of life writing studies across disciplinary boundaries
Methods, genres, and definitions in life-writing/autobiographical/life story/ego-document research


We invite both 20 minute individual presentations and 90 minute full panel, roundtable, or workshop sessions (3-4 presenters, including Chair). We encourage proposed full sessions to be interdisciplinary and international. Creative sessions and performances can also be proposed and if you are uncertain about how to submit these, please contact the organizers: [email protected]

The conference language is English.

All presenters must submit a max. 300 word abstract and a 150 word bio.

Please note: when you propose a full session all the presenters must submit their own abstract to the system and mention that it is part of XXX session.

Link to abstract submission:

Abstract submission guidelines:

Register to Oxford Abstracts to submit
You may amend your submission until the final submission deadline. Please note that uncompleted abstracts will not be reviewed.
Remember to complete the abstract and answer all the required questions before the deadline.
If you have any questions regarding the submission process, please contact [email protected]

Practicalities and schedule:

Deadline for proposals 30.9.2019

Notification of acceptance: 1.12.2019

Registration opens: 1.12.2019 / Early bird fee until: 29.2.2020 / Final registration by: 15.4.2020

The Conference Fee will be ca. 200/150 EUR (early bird), 250/200 EUR (the exact amount will be notified when the registration opens)

Information about publication plans:

The conference team will publish a special issue of Biography in conjunction with the 2020 IABA Turku. Information will be available on the conference website by August.

Conference organizer: SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory, University of Turku

Conference co-organizers:  Åbo Akademi University, the City of Turku, International Institute for Popular Culture, and the Finnish Literature Society

Leave a Reply