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

XXII Biennial IASPM International Conference

Posted: September 5th, 2022 | Filed under: Calls for Papers, IASPM Conferences | No Comments »

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
June 26–30, 2023

Theme: Popular Music in Crisis

It is not hyperbolic to claim that crisis characterizes the state of the world in the 2020s. The COVID-19 virus still rages across the globe. In many countries, this public health crisis intersects with a crisis of political legitimacy caused by increased polarization and the rise of right-wing populism. The refusal of many to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19 has led to the continuing spread of the disease. Elsewhere, similar dynamics are exacerbated by lack of effective vaccines, little-to-no capacity to make them, and the hesitancy of wealthier countries to distribute vaccines beyond their national borders. An ever smaller number of people control most of the world’s wealth as the gap between the wealthy and the poor has become a seemingly unbridgeable chasm. The ongoing crisis of climate change manifests in many ways: increasingly dangerous storms, displaced populations, out-of-control fires, financial and material devastation, rising sea levels, and more, unfortunately exacerbated by politics and the destructive impact of late capitalism. Wars, civil and otherwise, have also increased the numbers of migrants whose home countries are devastated but who are not welcomed elsewhere, leading to a crisis of the displaced and, with the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine compounding continued struggles in Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, Syria, and many other regions, heightened tension between global powers that at times evokes the Cold War. The rise of neo-fascism has accompanied the return of dangerous nationalisms that attempt to disenfranchise certain members of society, often by race, gender, and sexuality, while reinforcing existing social and racial constructions. Other crises abound, as white supremacy rises again in North America and Europe, women’s rights are under attack in various repressive regimes across the globe, and we learn of human rights abuses perpetrated during military crises and civil unrest.

Music is often implicated in these crises, and it also has crises of its own in terms of its production, distribution, and consumption – thus the double meaning of the conference theme. Artificial intelligence offers new creative possibilities for music composition and arrangement, but when combined with unbridled capitalism threatens to make musicians obsolete by replacing them with AI-generated musical algorithms or denying them their livelihoods with paltry payouts from streaming services. The ontological status of popular music is indeed under threat, if not already in crisis. Music scenes globally are struggling to recover from COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, with continued uncertainty as new variants emerge. But COVID-19 has also reminded us of the importance of music and demonstrated the resilience of musicians. Music has been central to the social movements—both left and right—that have emerged in response to crises such as #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, the effort to defend the safety and personhood of LGBTQIA communities, and the continued fight for Indigenous rights in numerous countries. Music is thus central worldwide to demands for change, to addressing the structural inequities that continue to affect so many communities and disproportionate impacts of the public health crisis, and to provide solace during a time when many individuals have experienced heightened mental and physical health challenges. Conversely, popular music is also deployed skillfully by the movements and power structures that oppose and stifle these efforts. This conference will explore how popular music shapes and has been shaped by these ongoing global crises.

The International Association for the Study of Popular Music invites proposals for the twenty-second conference, to be held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, June 26–30, 2023. This conference will also serve as the annual meeting of IASPM-US, so will be a joint conference between the U.S. and international branches of IASPM. The theme is divided into 6 interrelated streams discussing popular music’s role within various sites of crisis, from the most global to the most individual levels, historically and in the present-day:

  1. Pandemics and health crises including those stemming from the treatment or experience of disability: How has the current Covid-19 pandemic affected popular music? How have music artists, fans, or music industries, responded to the pandemic? How do these contemporary conditions compare with past instances where public health has had an impact upon popular music? More generally, how does popular music function as a medium for addressing issues concerning health and well-being, or ability and disability?

  2. Ecological or environmental crises: How have global warming, climate change, and other broad environmental issues impacted popular music performance, production, and consumption? How have musicians and music industries been affected by changing or diminishing access to natural resources? How do we measure the environmental impact of popular music, and what measures should be taken to address its effects?

  3. Political, military, and humanitarian crises at global, national, or local levels: What does the global rise of right-wing nationalist or totalitarian political forces mean for popular music’s producers and its audiences? How is popular music implicated in these political movements? What political role can, or should, popular music play in the current political climate? What role has it played in past moments of political crisis or confrontation?

  4. Economic crises, including those directly affecting musical consumption and production: What effect do rising inflation, investment market volatility, growing unemployment, and heightened gaps in wealth between the rich and the poor have upon the value of popular music, broadly conceived? How have music industries in different parts of the world responded to economic instability recently or in the past? How has the nature of musical labor been affected by broader economic shifts? What rights should musical artists or consumers have?

  5. Crises in the flow of media, data, and information: How has the economy of streaming music altered the boundaries between public and private musical experience? Can music be widely streamed and shared without songs, artists, and users themselves being reduced to data points? Where does popular music fit into the culture of disinformation that has intensified in recent years?

  6. Crises of identity, subjectivity, and self- or political representation: What relationship exists between popular music and social justice movements in support of racial, gender, class, or sexual equity, or disability justice? How has popular music’s historical significance as a vehicle for performing, expressing, and refashioning identities been transformed by contemporary political struggles? What resources can popular music provide for populations seeking to combat political erasure?

Although proposals should be tied to one of the thematic streams, the program committee welcomes work that interprets these streams broadly and all proposals, regardless of theme or topic, will be given full consideration if they follow the other submission guidelines.

Program Committee

  • Steve Waksman, chair
  • Andres Amado
  • Christine Feldman-Barrett
  • Emily Gale
  • Martin Lussier
  • Áine Mangaoang
  • Julio Mendivil
  • Toshiyuki Ohwada
  • Elliott Powell
  • Rosa Reitsamer
  • Catherine Rudent
  • Christi Jay Wells

Local Arrangements Committee

  • Norma Coates, co-chair
  • Andrew Mall, co-chair
  • Alyssa Barna
  • Jay Beck
  • Andy Flory
  • Mark Pedalty
  • Arun Saldanha
  • Matt Sumera
  • Suzanne Wint


There will be four options: panels (of 3 or 4 presenters), individual papers, film/video presentations, or poster sessions. For all proposals, please specify at least one and as many as three thematic streams to which the proposed work might be linked.


Proposals for organized panels are encouraged (two-hour long sessions with four papers, or three papers and a discussant). Each session should leave at least 30 minutes for discussion or for comments by a discussant immediately following the presentations. The panel organizer should submit the panel abstract and all individual abstracts (200 words each) in one document, with a full list of participant names and email addresses. Where an independently submitted abstract appears to fit a panel, the Academic Committee may suggest the addition of a panelist. The program committee will prioritize panels that foster collaboration between presenters with a diversity of perspectives and experiences.


We invite abstracts of no longer than 200 words, including an optional list of references (max 10). Individual paper presentations are 20 minutes long to be followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Film/video session

Recently completed films introduced by their author and discussed by conference participants may be proposed. Submit a 200-word abstract including titles, subjects, and formats, and indicate the duration of the proposed films/videos and introduction/discussion.

Poster session

A space for Poster Exhibition will be provided. A 200-word abstract by the poster’s author must be submitted.


Please submit your proposal no later than 18 November 2022 to https://iaspm-us.wildapricot.org/IASPM-International-2023.

  • Each participant must be a member of any branch of IASPM: www.iaspm.net/how-to-join.
  • Each participant may present only one paper at the Conference, but may also preside over a panel or serve as a discussant.
  • Abstracts will be accepted in English, IASPM’s official language.
  • Letters of acceptance will be sent by 15 January, 2023.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact program chair Steve Waksman at [email protected].

Covid 19 Information

We are aware of the global pandemic’s impact across the world and take issues of safety seriously. Our plan is to have a conference that is predominantly in person, but with the option for remote participation, and we hope that the threat posed by Covid will have diminished significantly by the time of the conference. We will be monitoring the situation closely and will advise members accordingly.

Virtual Presentations

We are aware of the environmental impact of global travel as well as a plethora of other accessibility issues involved with travel and in-person conference attendance, especially in light of the subject of the conference. We hope that moving some of the conference online will be one way of addressing these issues. Circumstances surrounding the current pandemic have also made virtual research sharing more necessary. We are preparing so that at least some portions of the conference can take place online and interested parties may be able to attend the conference virtually. More information will be published when it is available.

The conference organizers look forward to receiving your submissions!

With kindest regards,

IASPM Executive Committee:

  • Chris Anderton (Treasurer)
  • Andrea Dankić (Member-at-large)
  • Ali C. Gedik (Member-at-large)
  • Beatriz Goubert (General Secretary)
  • Kimi Kärki (Web/Publications)
  • Keewoong Lee (Daegu Conference representative)
  • Andrew Mall (United States Conference representative)
  • Bernhard Steinbrecher (Membership secretary)
  • Catherine Strong (Member-at-large)

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