Symposium on Music – Conflict – Transformation

9th and 10th May 2011, SocArts, University of Exeter, UK

Call for contributions

In the past decade there has been a growing interest in music and social conflict both inside and outside academia. Interdisciplinary research from music sociologists, ethnomusicologists, music psychologists and musicologists has focused on music’s dual use, both as a resource for conflict transformation and as a medium that can be used to incite conflict and channel violence. This research has also dovetailed with practical initiatives by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), local communities, academics and individuals attempting to utilise music to avoid or transform conflicts.
Together these activities are slowly improving our understanding of the interesting, and at times pivotal, functions of music related activities in conflict and post-conflict scenarios. However, it is clear that there is still a great deal of conceptual work to be done in this field if we are to understand the processes (negative as well as positive) that take place in and around music and conflict/conflict transformation. Similarly, there is as yet little empirical research available to elaborate this conceptual base. The time is ripe for increasing the dialogue between researchers, practitioners/musicians and participants with regards to work in this field.
This symposium will explore these and related issues by providing a place for practitioners, researchers, musicians and other interested parties to present and discuss work concerned with music, conflict and conflict transformation. We especially encourage contributions from those working with music in connection with conflict or conflict transformation, whether in the context of NGOs, academia, (local) politics, mediation, music therapy, community or popular music around national, regional, urban or ethnic groups. Contributions may take the form of informal presentations, in-depth research papers or videos showcasing projects in this area but in all cases they should emphasise real life data to provide a rich context for further discussion.
Potential contributors should submit a brief abstract or outline (maximum 200 words) to Arild Bergh here: . If you would like to attend but are not planning to present anything, please let us know so we can ensure that there are spaces available.

SocArts/symposium background

SocArts is a thriving team of international researchers led by professor Tia DeNora at the University of Exeter in the UK. We are united by a commitment to researching the dynamic and practical role played by music in social life and social experience. Members of the group range from musicians to academics to health care practitioners, with research interests ranging from music and conflict transformation in various countries via music and migration to music in dementia care and music and politics. Further information can be found on
The annual SocArts symposia are deliberately kept small, informal and free to attend to ensure a positive and creative atmosphere, with time for informal discussions and food throughout the day. SocArts central position in international research on music in everyday life and our connections with researchers and research institutions worldwide means that these symposia provide ample benefits for the participants. Over the past seven years our symposia have brought together a broad spectrum of researchers, practitioners and musicians with many practical outcomes and networks emerging after the event.
Attendants will also be able to spend time in the historic cathedral city of Exeter which has grown from Roman origins and has a wonderful quayside and surrounding countryside. Details on how to travel to Exeter and possible accommodation in the city can be provided upon request.

By Sacha Kagan

Research Associate at the ISCO - Institute of Sociology and Cultural Organization (ISKO - Institut für Soziologie und Kulturorganisation), Leuphana University Lueneburg, Sacha Kagan founded the International level of Cultura21, Network for Cultures of Sustainability, as well as the International Summer School of Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation (ASSiST). The focus of his research and cultural work lies in the trans-disciplinary field of arts and (un-)sustainability. Doctor in Philosophy (Leuphana University Lueneburg) with a thesis on the subject of culture, the arts and sustainability under the perspective of complexity ; M.A. in Cultural Economics (Erasmus University Rotterdam) ; and Graduate of Sciences Po Bordeaux (political sciences). For Cultura21, Sacha is also coordinating the eBooks series, the regular updates on our multi-lingual website, the English section of our webmagazine and the work of our Lueneburg-based interns.