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Third Working in Music Conference: Working in Music – Now and Then

Posted: June 20th, 2019 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

University of Turku, Finland, 15-17 April 2020

The Working in Music Network (WIM) is pleased to announce its third Working in Music Conference, to be hosted by the University of Turku, Finland, in April 2020. The Conference follows the staging of previous WIM conferences in Glasgow (2016) and Lausanne (2018) and the establishment of the Network (https://wim.hypotheses.org/). WIM was launched in Lausanne in 2018 and has been established by scholars interested in the historical and contemporary nature of working in music. It has adopted the following Statement of Purpose:

‘Working in Music is an international research network. Our purpose is to conduct and disseminate innovative research about all aspects of what it means to work in music. We aim to understand music as work through economic, sociocultural, political, legal and historical lenses, and to explore working conditions and experiences across genres and divisions of labour. Our approach is multidisciplinary and endeavours to forge connections between academic disciplines through shared interests in music and work. Our network developed from and is centred on a biennial conference in which scholars meet to exchange and debate issues and ideas. We are also committed to working with musicians, practitioners and music industries personnel’.

Following Ruth Finnegan, it is possible to say that one of the noticeable aspects of musical work, is that the work is often hidden. The hours that are taken to master an instrument are hidden from the public, the musicians who make recordings and perform live are often hidden behind the “stars”, the ways musicians find work and work with other musicians and music intermediaries are often hidden, and the vast majority of working musicians remain anonymous. Meanwhile those working behind the scenes in areas such as publishing, live music, artists’ management and recording largely remain similarly unknown as well as the ways they make music and musical careers happen. But music only happens because work is put in and it is this context that we issue this Call for Papers. We invite proposals for papers which address – either historically or in the contemporary context – one or more of the following themes:

  • Musicians’ working lives and practices
  • Employment practices and working conditions within the music industries
  • Musicians and other musical workers’ representative organisations
  • The effect of intermediaries – such as agents, managers, promoters, journalists etc – on musicians’ working conditions and careers
  • Collaborations between musicians and non-musicians in getting music made, played or publicised
  • Intellectual property, labour law and other axes of musical labour
  • Discrimination and inequality in musical labour and employment
  • Musical labour and employment in specific genres of music
  • Musical labour and changing technology (including musical labour in the digital age)
  • Online “platforms” as new intermediaries or systems of surveillance
  • Musicians’ working lives in orchestras, bands and other ensembles
  • Musicians’ collaborative networking practices which allow work it be done and increase its visibility
  • Musical labour and creativity
  • Music and the labour movement
  • Touring and working in music
  • Non-musicians working in music
  • Musicians as employers


Paper proposals are invited on these topics – and on any other issue relevant to Working in Music. WIM is a deliberately broad-based network and so proposals will be welcomed from any perspective, using any methodology and addressing any kind of music at any historical juncture.

Please note that papers should last for 20 minutes and the conference organisers will require chairs to ensure that presenters keep to this limit.

Proposals should be in English, which will be the working language for the conference.

Please note that non-native English speakers whose proposals are accepted will be invited to post full versions of their papers on the conference website.

Submitting Proposals

Proposals should include the name and contact details (email) of the proposer, the title of the proposal and an abstract of no more than 150 words. We also invite proposals for panels. Please send proposals to [email protected]. The deadline for proposals is 30 September 2019.

We hope to inform applicants of decisions by 1 November 2019.

Keynote Speakers

We are delighted to announce the following keynote speakers:

Pete Jenner, Sincere Management. Pete has managed a number of major artists including: Pink Floyd, The Clash, The Pretenders and Ian Dury. He was also one of the organisers of the Stones in the Park free concert in London’s Hyde Park in 1969.

Izabela Wagner, University of Warsaw and Institute Convergence Migration (Paris). Izabela is author of Producing Excellence: The Making of Virtuosos (Rutgers University Press, 2015). She is also the author of several articles on the working conditions and careers of creative professionals.

The conference will be held on the main campus of the University of Turku. This location is within walking distance of a range of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and supermarkets. It is a 10 minute walk to the city centre and a 5 minute walk from Kuppittaa railway station for connections to Helsinki and elsewhere.

Other Information

Turku is the oldest town in Finland and is located on the Aurajoki river. It has its own airport and is approximately 2 hours from Helsinki by train or bus. It is 11 hours by boat from Stockholm, a journey which takes you through the splendours of the Stockholm and Turku archipelagos.

Amongst other attractions, Turku boosts one of the most distinctive cathedrals in Europe and an impressive medieval castle. It also hosts a range of award winning restaurants and has a vibrant bar culture. Live music takes place in a range of venues and nightclubs, including on the river.

For more see: https://www.visitturku.fi/ and https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/jun/01/turku-finland-city-break-restaurants-bars


The conference website will be updated regularly. It can be found at: www.utu.fi/WIM2020.

Conference Fee

The conference fee has yet to be set but is expected to be in the region of €150 for waged delegates and €80 for unwaged, inclusive of registration, tea and coffee, and a reception on the first night of the conference.


We look forward to welcoming you to Turku.

Martin Cloonan and Marc Perrenoud, chairs, Working in Music Network.

Special Event: Sample Finnish sauna

On Saturday 18 April conference organiser Martin Cloonan invites you to join at his local sauna on the nearby island of Ruissalo (15 minutes from the main railway station by bus). For a nominal fee (circa 5 €) you can sample a traditional Finnish sauna and get the opportunity to bathe in the Baltic. All you need is a swimming costume, a towel and an adventurous mind. Further details will be provided at the conference.

Scientific Committee: Funmi Arewa, Pierre Bataille, Marie Buscatto, Martin Cloonan, Simon Frith, Nuné Nikogosyan, Marc Perrenoud, Hyacinthe Ravet, Jérémy Sinigaglia, Matt Stahl, Charles Umney, John Williamson.

Local Organising Committee: Marika Ahonen, Johannes Brusila, Martin Cloonan, Kari Kallioniei, Eileen Karmy-Bolton, Gabrielle Kielich, Susanna Qvick, Kim Ramstedt, John Richardson.

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