International Council for Traditional Music

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

2009 - AESTG Report

The second business meeting of the Study Group Applied Ethnomusicology (AESTG) was held 6 July 2009 as a part of the 40th ICTM World Conference in Durban, South Africa. It was hosted by Svanibor Pettan, chair, Klisala Harrison, vice-chair, and Eric Martin Usner, secretary, and was attended by more than forty ICTM members, who contributed to the spirited and engaging assembly. Pettan began the meeting by presenting a brief history of the study group, from the prenatal events to present, with emphasis on the official recognition of the study group in Vienna in 2007. Harrison then offered a presentation of the first symposium of the AESTG in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2008 and emphasized the innovative concept of “talking circles” that enabled extended focused discussions [program and photos are available at: Usner followed by introducing the website (currently under construction), which is being created by AESTG member Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg. 

A review of publications associated with the AESTG singled out (1) the thematic volume 44/2 of the Slovenian journal Muzikološki zbornik/Musicological Annual, which is dedicated to Kjell Skyllstad (one of the pioneers of applied ethnomusicology in Europe) on his 80th birthday. The volume contains articles derived from the double panel “The Politics of Applied Ethnomusicology: New Perspectives,” held in Vienna in 2007; and (2) the forthcoming volume Historical and Emerging Approaches to Applied Ethnomusicology, which Pettan, Harrison and Elizabeth MacKinlay are editing for the Cambridge Scholars Press. 

Huib Schippers presented the agenda for the upcoming 2nd AESTG symposium in Hanoi, Vietnam. Hosted by the newly-built Vietnamese Institute for Musicology, the AESTG symposium will follow the symposium of the Music and Minorities study group (19-24 July 2010) and joint sessions at Halong Bay (25-26 July), and will take place on 27-30 July next year (see the Call for papers in this Bulletin). A very focused and useful discussion ensued from among those in attendance contributed to the selection of three main themes for the symposium. Keeping in mind the world-wide relevance of applied ethnomusicology and global aspirations of the AESTG, the themes are expected to particularly attract scholars from the Asia – Pacific region. A welcoming invitation to Vietnam next year was underscored by the elegant solo songs offered to attendees by Le Van Toan, the President of the Vietnamese Institute for Musicology.

The meeting ended with a period of individuals introducing themselves and sharing their understandings, experiences, and investments in applied ethnomusicology. While expressing gratitude to all those who have shared time, energy, and work in our gatherings to date, we look forward to further recognition of applied ethnomusicology and of the AESTG in Vietnam next year. 

Respectfully submitted,
Eric Martin Usner, Secretary