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Voices of Women: Materialities, Cultural Transfer and Musical Authorship

Posted: September 13th, 2022 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

VOW Erasmus+ Educational Symposium for researchers, music educators, and graduate music students
Dec. 1-2, 2022
University of Groningen

The Voices of Women project, an Erasmus+ funded joint project with the University of Groningen, The University of Stavanger, The Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø), and The University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar invites paper presentations from teachers, graduate students, and scholars interested in the theme of musical authorship in connection to women’s voices. We understand voices metaphorically, artistically, and literally to include women or women-identifying genders in a variety of roles whose creative musical ‘voices’ contribute to the authorship of a particular body of work. The two-day symposium explores this theme of authorship in relation to the sub-themes of music materialities and cultural transfer.

This meeting will be the second event organized by the VOW (Voices of Women) Erasmus+ project in relation to music education at the graduate level. The first training activity was organized in June of 2022 at the University of Stavanger at the Performing Arts School.

For the upcoming two-day conference, we begin on the first day (December 1st) with a series of workshops for students and educators at the graduate level. The second day (December 2nd) consists of a series of panels with academic papers on the following themes of authorship, agency, cultural transfer, and music materialities featuring a keynote by Dr. Mimi Haddon of the University of Sussex. We invite all participants to attend both workshops and panels.


Authorship and Agency of Women’s Voices
We welcome presentations highlighting the role of women authors in all genres of music from classical to popular, folk, electronic, and jazz. Especially of interest are the ways that women’s voices exhibit forms of artistic agency in a variety of capacities including but not limited to distinctive performance styles, musical improvisational vocabularies, or the unique production aesthetics of musical recordings. The symposium seeks to expand and complicate traditional notions of authorship typically connected to understandings of composition within the Western art music canon.

Cultural Transfer
Cultural transfer studies are developed from the field of comparative literature. The basic understanding of cultural transfer relates to the process of mediating and/or translating a literary, cultural, or historical text from one linguistic area to another. In the framework of the project Voices of Women, we also investigate transfer from other areas, such as from one artistic form to another, or from one mediated format to another.
In connection to forms of musical authorship we seek to examine how forms of cultural transfer (such as the canonization of established male composers within Western art music) lead to the valorisation or omission of women’s contributions to musical cultures. Papers exploring these dynamics in relation to both novel and more traditional forms of cultural transfer are welcome.

Music Materialities
Women’s voices can be read as contributing to the material culture of music, from the corporeal bodies of performers to the economic rewards gained from compositional, performance, or publishing royalties. Therefore we welcome papers which examine the various ways that gender and authorship impact music’s materialities.

Other possible paper themes:
Other paper themes which particularly explore women’s voices more broadly and how they contribute to ways of authoring music not conventionally understood as musical composition might include:

  • Women performers whose instrumental style contributes to a unique artistic voice
  • Forms of musical ownership related to particular performance practices
  • The performance of non-cis gender genders including trans, non-binary, or women-identifying voices
  • Music production as authorship
  • The practice of top lining in the music studio
  • Compositions authored or co-authored by women
  • The intersections of race, class and sexuality with gender in music’s materialities or compositional structures
  • Women’s unique singing voices as critical signatures of songs composed by others (e.g. Billie Holiday)
  • Women as creative agents in the cultural transfer of music cultures and genres identified with women’s musical output
  • Improvisation as a form of musical authorship
  • Art song and women performers and composers


During the first day, workshops are provided which engage with the musical authorship and agency of women in relation to forms of cultural transfer used and or needed to broaden recognition of women’s voices. Here we welcome participation in workshops concerned with and/or employing such techniques as:

  • Practice based research on note-worthy women’s voices
  • New bibliographic research methods for researching women composers and authors (e.g. RESCAPE)
  • Listening workshops to increase sensitivity to women’s authorial voices, timbres or improvisational styles


Please send an abstract or proposal of less than 300 words summarizing your presentation to Kristin McGee at [email protected] before Oct. 15th, 2022. A short bio of less than 50 words is also requested.

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