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Special edition of Popular Music History on the impact of COVID on popular music history and heritage

Posted: November 6th, 2020 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

As the impact of the COVID crisis continues to be felt across the world, it is becoming increasingly apparent that it represents a significant rupture in how music will be experienced, written about and theorised. This special edition of Popular Music History is seeking quick-response contributions of up to 5000 words that explore what COVID will mean for how we write about, research, collect and exhibit popular music’s past. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Historicising COVID: how the dramatic break caused by COVID has given ways of engaging with music that were taken for granted only months ago a sense of ‘pastness’ and what this means for how we write about them
  • The effect of lockdowns and reduced population mobility on institutions such as museums that exhibit or collect music-related materials
  • Changing online practices of documentation of music scenes by participants
  • Methods of documentation of the many online activities that artists have turned to as live gigs have become difficult or impossible, and how a historical understandings of ephemerality and liveness may be affected by new modes of performance necessitated by COVID
  • Ways in which, rather than a significant break from the past, the impact of COVID on music might be part of an ongoing sense of ‘crisis’ in the music industries, and how the historical responses to various crises might inform what happens in the current circumstances
  • Considerations of how music heritage tourism will be impacted, and how practices in this area might be reconfigured
  • What opportunities exist for using the crisis to reflect differently on ‘taken for granted’ aspects of popular music’s past.

We would also welcome interviews with or feature pieces on curators, musicians, industry professionals or policy makers that speak to this topic.


Abstracts (2-300 words) due 7 December 2020.
Notifications of acceptance by end 2020.
First drafts due 31 March 2021.
Feedback from editors 15 May 2021
Final drafts due by end July 2021 for publication by the end of the year.

Please send abstracts or queries to [email protected] or [email protected]

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