International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Call for Papers: 6th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology

The ICTM study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology will be holding its sixth symposium at the Central Conservatoire of Music in Beijing, China, from 7-10 July 2018. We invite presentations that have a clearly defined applied dimension. This can be in terms of intent, methodology and/or impact (e.g. on the creation, performance and dissemination of music; community cohesion and wellbeing; infrastructure and legislation; equity and other socio-political issues; formal and informal learning; and/or sustainable practice and the environment). Both specific and more general contributions are invited specifically –but not exclusively– on the following topics:

  1. (Critical) reflections on approaches to cultural sustainability
    While applied ethnomusicology has a wide range of potential outcomes, one of the most obvious targets is the sustainability of the music that communities value. Sustainability has always been a key issue for music across cultures and eras, but a suite of UNESCO Declarations and Conventions from the beginning of this century has raised awareness of the challenges in a rapidly changing world of unstable power balances and growing inequities. The ICTM has been an active partner in addressing some of these challenges. 15 years after the 2003 Convention, it is worth considering in some detail what are the intended and unintended consequences of these policies on music practices and communities, after being taken up with great passion and considerable investment by a number of governments, including seminar host country China.

  2. Applied ethnomusicology and power structures
    While the focus of applied ethnomusicology is on working with communities, inevitably external powers impact on the music practices we deal with. To what extent is this the focus of applied ethnomusicology? Do we regard power structures and the people behind them with the same level of nuance as the individuals and communities that are directly involved with the music practice? How can we strategize working in this sphere?

  3. Formal and informal learning
    Much of applied ethnomusicology has to do with learning skills or concepts, changing attitudes, and securing musical practices for next generations. How can applied ethnomusicology projects be most useful to both informal and formal transmission processes? How does it negotiate real and perceived tensions between community-based learning and institutions?

  4. The methodologies of applied ethnomusicology
    With some 25 years of explicit academic discourse on the nature and approaches to applied ethnomusicology (AE), we have a substantial body of theory and practice to examine the intent of AE projects; approaches to involving and benefitting musicians and communities; negotiating internal and external power relations; evaluating projects and disseminating results beyond traditional academic outlets. What are the pitfalls and critical success factors in specific settings? Are these transferable? How do we learn from our mistakes? Can we derive transferable models from existing practices?


Please submit the following to Study Group Secretary Wei-Ya Lin:

  1. a 250-300 word abstract of your paper or propose workshop/community activity; we particularly invite themed group sessions, and will consider proposals for papers which will delivered remotely for economic or environmental reasons;
  2. a single paragraph bio highlighting relevant activities, positions, and publications; 3) institutional affiliation and contact information of all presenters.

Please use the attached submission form.

Deadline for submissions: October 22, 2017

Feedback (accept, modify, reject): First week of December 2017

The Program Committee consists of the Chair of the Study Group Huib Schippers (NL, AU, USA), Deputy Chair Adriana Helbig (USA), Secretary Wei-Ya Lin (Austria/Taiwan), Conference host Prof. Zhang Boyu (Central Conservatory, China), and Prof. Yu Hui (Yunan University, China).


The local arrangements committee consists of Professor Boyu Zhang (Chair); Xie Jiayin; Chen Xinjie; Liu Hongzhu, Zhao Hai, An Ping, Yu Hui, and Zhao Jiandi. They will also assist with queries on local travel and hotels.


There are three hotels near (five - ten minutes walk) the Central Conservatory, located at 43 Baojia St, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China. Other, cheaper options are available elsewhere.

  1. Merchantel, a four star hotel, costs about 600 RMB (USD 90) per night. It can be found on
  2. Jinjiang Zhixing (锦江之星), Changchun Jie Street section, a three star hotel, costs about 350 RMB (USD 50) per night. It can also be found in the
  3. Rujia (Homeinns), Xibianmen Section, which costs about 400 RMB (USD 60) per night. This hotel can be found in Ctrip web for booking.


A registration fee 900 RMB (around 135 USD) will be charged to cover expenses during the symposium and to finance the travel subsidies.

Travel Subsidies

Financial support will be available for delegates, with special consideration for students, the underwaged, retirees, and citizens of developing countries. If you are applying for this support, submit your abstract by Oct. 22, 2017 ticking the box on the submission form that you wish to be considered for travel support.


Please contact the Applied Ethnomusicology Study Group Secretary Wei-Ya Lin:

We are looking forward to seeing many of you in Beijing next July!