CFP: Migrating through the Arts: Rethinking worlds of music and dance through the lens of contemporary (im)mobilities

Migrating through the Arts:
Rethinking worlds of music and dance through the lens of contemporary (im)mobilities

International conference
University of Lausanne
6-7 June 2019

By Dieter_G, CC license

The mobility turn has generated considerable renewals in social sciences since the 1990s. Linked to the thinking about cultural globalization (Appadurai 2001) and transnationalism (Basch, Szanton-Blanc and Glick-Schiller 1994), it has instilled new ways of reflecting about space, social processes, cultural dynamics or relations to politics, considering that an analytical framework centered on movement makes it possible to escape from the use of static categories and to envision the fluidity of processes in the contemporary world (Sheller and Urry 2006; Urry 2007; Cresswell and Merriman 2011; Faulconbridge and Hui 2016). However, different researches tend today to differentiate themselves from this approach focused exclusively on mobility (Ortar, Salzbrunn and Stock, forthcoming): they criticize its concealment of inequalities and of the many flip-sides of these logics of circulation, and shed light on how immobility and impediments to circulate are also part of many life paths (Timéra 2009, Rinaudo 2017). In-depth studies on migration have, in particular, revealed the inequalities and the complex tensions between obstacles and circulations that now influence issues of mobility, citizenship and belongingness in the contemporary world (Roulleau-Berger 2011, Agier 2002, Cuche et al. 2009; Agier 2013; Agier and Lecadet 2014).
In recent years, the field of artistic practices has emerged as an original starting point to question these issues of mobility and immobility, thanks to some pioneering studies. On the one hand, a field of research has highlighted the modes of recognition, of integration and of social requalification developed by migrant people through the arts (Turino and Lea, 2004; Martiniello, Puig, and Suzanne 2009; Gibert 2011; Rastas and Seye 2016; Salzbrunn 2017). On the other hand, various researches have shed light on the way migration – on a translocal and transnational scale – exile and increasing mobility shape “local” art worlds (Despres 2016; Petersen 2017) and on how these mobilities nourish artistic creations themselves (Moulard 2014; Gaulier 2015). Among these researches on art, music and dance have long been recognized as both actors and agents of globalization (Aparicio and Jàquez 2003; Stokes 2004, 2011; Neveu Kringelbach and Skinner 2012; Kiwan and Meinhof 2011a, 2011b; Andrieu and Olivier 2017). Because of their strong circulatory potential, they contribute to the migration of people, ideas, cultural movements and ideologies (Pacini Hernandez 2010; Aterianus-Owanga and Guedj 2014), allowing individuals to resist, remember and develop survival strategies in new contexts (Kaiser 2006; Puig 2006; Bohlman 2007; Bachir-Loopuyt and Damon-Guillot, forthcoming).

This conference proposes to deepen, to document empirically, and to enrich discussions developed about these questions, by providing transversal and transdisciplinary reflections on the various modalities of mobility and migration that are created through the arts, as well as the remaking of the worlds of music and dance in the transnational field. It will question the modalities of movement or of impediments to circulate that are revealed by music and dance’s analysis; the way in which the worlds of art and contemporary creations are shaped by different forms of (im)mobility; and how, in this wake, individuals act on their social environments and on the power relations in which they evolve.

While paying attention to music and dance works created in situations of migration or mobility (Aubert 2005; Damon-Guillot and Lefront 2017), we invite authors to focus on descriptions of the contexts, networks and actors of art worlds (Becker 1988) or musical scenes (Bennett and Peterson 2004) at play. Although we leave open the possibility of drawing parallels with research done on other artistic worlds, this conference will focus specifically on music and dance. In fact, to us it seems relevant to question these two fields which are interconnected, that have led to the creation of their own markets and industries, while taking into account their irreducibility and their own ways of circulation (Apprill 2015). This colloquium can also accommodate case studies from geographical, historical, anthropological, sociological ethnomusicological or ethnoscenological approaches, as well as transversal theoretical syntheses. Proposals taking into account artistic mobility in the long term will be welcome. Similarly, rather than considering globalization as a sudden break with “local” and “traditions”, we call to conceive the long processes’ history of contact, exchange and interpenetration which are at the heart of the production and of the dynamics of culture (Clifford 1997; Assayag 1998; Amselle 2001, 2009). Approaches in terms of transnationalism (Basch, Schiller, and Szanton Blanc 1994; Capone 2004; Argyriadis et al. 2012; Dahinden 2017) will allow to take into account the contemporary specificities of mobility in music and dance worlds while deconstructing the local / global dichotomy which has long characterized studies of migration and globalization (Kearney 1995; Trémon 2012).
We outline several topics to guide contributors in the design of their proposals:

 Diversity of artistic (im)mobilities
Between artistic circulations, long-term migrations, and world tours, is there a singularity of artistic mobility? What are the operators, spaces, networks and actors of artists’ mobility? How do cultural institutions and migration policies organize the artistic mobilities, and how do artists undermine these political and institutional lines? The proposals should relate to these questions by trying to highlight the mechanisms and means that allow some to move, and force others into immobility. Beyond the common representations of cultural and artistic migrations going from South to North, the contributions could question migrations à contre-courant (Amico and Despres 2016), the logics of returns (Trémon, Busset and Mayor forthcoming) or the lifestyles that are created by circulating between different spaces (Andrieu 2012).

 Gender and migration in the arts
Whether in the field of jazz, rap, salsa or classical music, art worlds are the place for the production or transformation of representations, stereotypes and inequalities related to gender (Buscatto 2007; Ravet 2003; Prévost-Thomas and Ravet 2007; Aparicio 2010; Aterianus-Owanga 2016). How do these gender dynamics influence the possibilities of artistic mobilities? On the other hand, how do mobilities help to get out of gender inequalities structuring artistic scenes? How are migrations accompanied by new ways of performing gender through the arts? This will be the opportunity to take into consideration the gendered dimension of artistic practices and mobilities. It would also be possible to
shed light on the intersecting dynamics of the categorizations of gender, race or class that impact and are impacted by contemporary artistic mobilities and immobilities.

 Artistic professional trajectories in migration
What forms does artistic work take in a migratory context? How do mobilities reconfigure the professional trajectories of artists? Which modes of success, notoriety and recognition emerge within the artistic scenes in migration? This topic proposes to be interested in the strategies used by artists to make a living from their art in a migratory context, or in the way in which they pluralize their activities in order to maintain their artist status. It will be possible to compare theoretical approaches of migration with socio-anthropological research of artistic work (Buscatto 2008; Menger 2009; Bureau, Perrenoud, and Shapiro 2009; Sorignet 2012; Apprill 2012; Gibert and Kiwan 2016).

 Performing imaginations and memories of migration
Migrations and (individual and collective) narratives of mobilities often nourish the imaginations of artists and become the subject of choreographic and musical works. How do musical and dance creations contribute to the making of a collective memory in exile (Shelemay 1998; Khoury 2016)? How are these memories or historical constructions used to redefine affiliations or form political affiliations in the diaspora? How do the individual and singular memories of the mobility pathways nourish the works and creative practices of artists? Proposals that deal with this topic will shed light on the way in which the artistic productions in migration can contribute to constitute collective memories or to perform belongings. It would also be possible to mobilize esthetical, dance studies’, ethnomusicological or ethnoscenological approaches that focus on creations born in migration or mobility’ situations (see for example Aubert 2005; Damon-Guillot and Lefront 2017; Fratagnoli 2014 ; Pagès 2015).

 Art worlds: interconnected scales
Far from being opaque and hermetic universes, local scenes and diasporic scenes are now interconnected and interdependent, global art worlds being created around and through migrations. Contributions will question, through case studies or theoretical reflections, the way in which “local” art worlds are nourished by global circulations, or how transnational ramifications of “local” art worlds are created via the mobilities of the diaspora (Sieveking 2017).

Modalities of application
Abstracts of 3000 characters maximum are to be sent to the conference e-mail address ( before 19th October, accompanied by a bio-bibliographic notice of 200 words maximum. Proposals for contributions will describe precisely the data mobilized for the analysis, the methodological and theoretical approaches favored, as well as the main axes of the author’s demonstration.

The languages of the conference will be French and English. Contributors will be asked to provide translations of their PowerPoint in the language other than the one used in their presentation.

Organization Committee (to complete)
Alice Aterianus-Owanga (ISSR-UNIL)
Armelle Gaulier (LAM-Science Po Bordeaux)
Joanna Menet (NCCR on the move-UNINE)
Cécile Navarro (ISSR-UNIL)
Ana Rodriguez Quinones (ISSR-UNIL)
Monika Salzbrunn (ISSR-UNIL)

Scientific Committee
Sarah Andrieu (IMAF – Nice Sophia Antipolis)
Talia Bachir Loopuyt (ICD – Tours)
Marie-Pierre Gibert (CREA – Lyon II)
Stéphanie Khoury (Tufts Music)
Mahalia Lassibille (URMIS – Paris 8)
Sara Le Menestrel (CENA – EHESS)
Marc Perrenoud (ISS – UNIL)
Nicolas Puig (IRD – Paris Diderot)
Christian Rinaudo (URMIS – Nice Sophia Antipolis)
Pierre Emmanuel Sorignet (ISS – UNIL)
Monika Salzbrunn (ISSR – UNIL)
Jonathan Skinner (DLS – Roehampton University)
Britta Sweers (CGS – UNIBE)

Key notes
Hélène Neveu Kringelbach (UCL)
Martin Stokes (King’s College London)

Partner institutions
Institut des sciences sociales des religions (University of Lausanne).
NCCR on the move (University of Neuchâtel)
Laboratoire “Les Afriques dans le Monde” (Sciences-Po Bordeaux)
Plateforme Genre (University of Lausanne)
Swiss National Science Foundation

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Nuné Nikoghosyan (September 20, 2018). CFP: Migrating through the Arts: Rethinking worlds of music and dance through the lens of contemporary (im)mobilities. Working in Music. Retrieved July 15, 2024 from

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