Call for Proposals: Transformations of Musical Creativity in the 21s​t​ Century

Chris Joseph

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Argun Çakir
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Transformations of Musical Creativity in the 21st Century

A Conference of the Transtraditional Istanbul (TTI) Project

June 24-27, 2021 (Online with Live-streamed Concerts from Istanbul)

Call for Proposals:

Research papers, performances, compositions, practice-based workshops, media projects

With increasing intensity, global institutions of music pedagogy seek to redress a fraught legacy of Eurocentrism. The dominance of ‘Eurological’ or ‘Eurogenetic’ paradigms in university music curricula has worked to create a possessive investment by musical schools in particular canons, traditions, and pedagogies (Lewis 1996, Reigle 2014, Kajikawa 2019, Ewell 2019, Brown 2020). In many countries across Eurasia, institutional actors created new hegemonies based on folk and regional musics alongside European art music. Music specialists often find themselves complicit in disconnecting or excluding contributions of musicians and non-hegemonic musical knowledge from centers of music teaching and learning.

In an effort to rethink how we learn, teach, and practice music, this conference seeks to assemble a diverse gathering of musicians, researchers, and educators in order to share knowledge about transformations and transmission of musical creativity in the 21st century. With the Transtraditional Istanbul Project, we join a global network of practitioners in redressing critical issues such as a history of compositional resourcing of Indigenous and ‘local’ music cultures, the tokenisation of diversity in ‘world music’ programs, and the erasure of the histories and experiences of minoritised musicians and educators (Ahmed 2012, Robinson 2020). We hope to advance a global exchange about how to redefine the structures of inclusion in music transmission ‘with, by and for — not only ‘on or about — minoritised musicians (Bissett Perea and Solis 2019), while respecting that certain communities may place limits on the knowledge that can be shared in the academy.

The conference aims to reevaluate modes of music transmission and reimagine processes of creation in today’s changing musical landscapes. For example, we invite proposals on the following topics:

  • Challenging dominant ideologies of musical learning and transmission
  • Modes of transmission in oral/aural practices (face-to-face, embedded learning, linguistic models) and dynamic interactions among these modes
  • The various uses of representational tools (notation, video, haptic technologies) in transmission
  • The transformative influences of institutions on music teaching, learning, and performance
  • The growing impact of recording and online technologies on practices of listening and learning within various music traditions
  • Listening, composing, performing across difference
  • The influences of ‘rural’ sound worlds on individual creative practices today
  • The transformation of musical creativity in transcultural creative encounters
  • And related to ongoing research in the TTI project:
    • Women’s throat songs (boğaz havaları) and teke zortlatması from the Teke region in southern Turkey
    • Bozlak from central and southern Turkey
    • Musical practices using environmental or nonhuman sounds

The Transtraditional Istanbul project has the mission to create a more equitable and plural global musical exchange through inclusive performance, interdisciplinary research, public engagement, and cross-cultural teaching and learning. We are inspired by the rich cosmopolitan history of musical encounters and exchanges in Istanbul, and invite proposals from musical practices and traditions connected with Anatolia, the Mediterranean, Eurasia, and beyond. The conference will take place via online presentations, with performances streamed online from Istanbul, Covid-19 permitting.

Format: We invite proposals for research papers (20 minutes), lecture/performance demonstrations (20-30 minutes), workshops (30-50 minutes), compositions or media projects (up to 20 minutes), or panel sessions (up to 70 minutes including discussion)

Submission and deadline: Please use the link here to submit a 250-word abstract by 10 February 2021, indicating the format of your proposal (including expected duration and online implementation plan) along with links to relevant work samples for performances, compositions, and media projects. We welcome proposals for presentations in languages other than English, provided they include an English translation. Presentations can be streamed as live video during the conference (in English) or pre-recorded as a video (in any language, with English subtitles produced by the presenter). We will announce acceptances by 15 March 2021.

Keynote speakers

Juniper Hill, Professor and Chair of Ethnomusicology, Institute für Musikforschung, University of Würzburg, Germany

Valentina Süzükei, Doctor in Humanities, Senior Fellow in Ethnomusicology, Tyvan Institute for Humanitarian and Applied Socio-Economic Research, Tyva Republic, Russian Federation

Bushra El-Turk, composer, London, UK

Wu Man, Pipa virtuoso, educator, composer; China/USA


Programme committee: Asst. Prof. Mustafa Avcı, Altınbaş University; Dr. Robert O. Beahrs, MİAM/İTÜ; Argun Çakır, University of Bristol; Prof. Michael Ellison, University of Bristol; Assoc. Prof. Evrim Hikmet Öğüt, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University; Assoc. Prof. Yelda Özgen Öztürk, MİAM/İTÜ; Assoc. Prof. E. Şirin Özgün Tanır, MİAM/İTÜ; Yingying Wen, University of Bristol.




Partnership organizations of Transtraditional Istanbul (TTI)

Center for Advanced Studies in Music – 

MIAM (Istanbul Technical University)

Turkish Music State Conservatory – 

TMDK (Istanbul Technical University)

University of Bristol 

Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts 

Music for Peace Foundation (Istanbul) 

Transtraditional Istanbul is funded by the Newton Fund UK-Turkey Creative Industries Research Networking Awards Programme, with grant awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and İstanbul Kalkınma Ajansı (Istanbul Development Agency). 



Ahmed, Sara. 2012. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Brown, Danielle. 2020. “An Open Letter on Racism in Music Studies.” (Accessed 15 November 2020)

Ewell, Philip. A. 2020. “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame.” Music Theory Online, 26(2).

Kajikawa, Loren. 2019. “The Possessive Investment in Classical Music.” In Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness Across the Disciplines, ed. Crenshaw, Kimberlé, et al. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lewis, George. E. 1996. “Improvised Music after 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives.” Black Music Research Journal, 16(1).

Reigle, Robert. 2014. “Reconsidering the Idea of Timbre: A Brief History and New Proposals.” In MusiCult ’14: Music and Cultural Studies Conference. Istanbul: DAKAM [Eastern Mediterranean Academic Research Center].

Robinson, Dylan. 2020. Hungry Listening: Resonance Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Solis, G., & Bissett Perea, J. (Eds.) (2019). “Music, Indigeneity, and Colonialism in the Americas.” Journal of the Society for American Music, 13(4).

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