International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Conference Report: 1st Official Symposium of the MESI ICTM Study Group (Beijing, China)(July 2018)

MESI’s first official symposium as an ICTM Study Group was held jointly with the Applied Ethnomusicology Study Group at the Central Conservatoire of Music in Beijing in China 7-10 July 2018.


The Beijing Symposium followed a previous conference held at SOAS in London in July 2017 which provided the launch platform for the study group’s official recognition by the ICTM in November 2017. The report for the previous conference can be found here:


A call for papers for the Beijing symposium was published in the ICTM and BFE newsletters and also disseminated via ICTM’s world network of Liaison Officers representing 120+ countries/regions. The call specifically encouraged alternative presentations including panels, workshops, musical performances and so on, with the aim of making participation more inclusive; it also highlighted that a limited number of remote presentations (Skype/video) would be made possible.


They key conference tracks outlined in the call for papers were as follows:

  • Relationships between power structures in society and in music teaching and pedagogy in institutions of formal learning;
  • Social power relationships in music transmission practices in informal musical practice, teaching and learning;
  • How cultural, social, political and economic dynamics shape the embedded value of music(s) created and performed by different social groups of people and how this is recognized and rewarded;
  • How “intrinsic” or historically/customarily inherited value for music persists in social and academic environmental, how this shapes the music(s) and teaching and learning methods that are included/excluded in institutions (especially in terms of academic discourse, degree recognition, funding opportunities, etc) and how this perpetuates wider societal exclusions and discriminations.


The Beijing MESI/AE symposium hosted around 60 presenters and approximately 80 Chinese participants; it also featured simultaneous translations English-Mandarin and many participants emphasised how this helped to forge particularly strong connections with local scholars and the wider student community during the event. Finally, it included a number of workshops and round tables and Skype/video presentations.


Key session themes of the MESI/AE Beijing Symposium included:

  • Decolonizing the American Musicological Society;
  • Global Perspectives on Music Education Practices and Approaches Promoting Sociocultural Inclusion;
  • Issues Arising from Western-inherited Structures and Repertoires Applied to Music Education and Performance Practices of Autochthonous Music;
  • Countering Cultural and Curricular Hegemony and Developing Gender Equal Curricula;
  • Invisibilization of Embedded Social Discourse-The Relationship between Musical Genres and their related Content and Practices being excluded from Formal Education and Sociocultural Recognition;
  • Music Teaching and Performance Practices to Foster Social Inclusion within Marginalized Communities-Indigenous, Homeless and Refugees;
  • Music and Advocacy.


The full programme of sessions and speakers of the MESI/AE Beijing Symposium, as well as further information on concerts and other events, can be found here:


The MESI business meeting at the conference included a report on the study group’s mission statement and its abstract revision process, a new structure for the committee (including elections of a group of ‘regional representatives’ responsible for assisting with the dissemination and translation of call for papers in order to extend outreach) and an agreement on Puerto Rico for the provisional location of the 2020 study group symposium. For further details, please refer to the business meeting minutes below.


Minutes of the Business Meeting of the 1st ICTM Music, Education and Social Inclusion Study Group Symposium

Held at the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, China, on 10 July 2018 from 18:30 to 21:00. Chairs: Sara Selleri (Chair of MESI ICTM Study Group), Marie Agatha Ozah (Vice-Chair of MESI ICTM Study Group) and James Nissen (Secretary of MESI ICTM Study Group). Minutes: Francis Ward (Member of MESI ICTM Study Group Committee).



1. Nissen outlined the agenda for the business meeting, as below.

  • Introductory remarks and apologies for absence
  • Report from the ICTM MESI Study Group’s activities
  • ICTM MESI Study Group Elections
  • ICTM Membership status
  • Location of the ICTM World Conference 2019
  • ICTM MESI Study Group symposium 2020
  • Other matters.


Introductory Remarks and Apologies for absence

2. Selleri and Nissen welcomed everyone with short statements on the conference and offered apologies for absence for members of the ICTM MESI Study Group Interim Steering Committee Executive who could attend the conference, specifically Elaine Sandoval (Vice-Secretary).


Report from the ICTM MESI Study Group’s activities

3. Selleri and Nissen recapped the major activities of the ICTM MESI Study Group over the last year, including the inaugural symposium in London (20-21 July 2017) and ICTM Study Group Accreditation (3 November 2017). Selleri summarised the Mission Statement of the Study Group and noted that this, along with a detailed report on the inaugural symposium in London, is available on the MESI Study Group webpage via the ICTM website:


ICTM MESI Study Group Elections

4. Selleri proposed a new structure for the study group committee: a group of committee members, headed by the Chair, without specific ‘positions’, who will be responsible for the administration of the study group, encouraging greater task sharing, collaboration, flexibility, etc; and a set of ‘regional representatives’, who will assist the Chair and the committee in terms of outreach, for example translating and disseminating call for papers within their regions and liaising with potential collaborators, such as interested contributors or institutions. This motion was passed.


5. Results of Elections:

  • Chair: Sara Selleri.
  • Committee Members: Marie Agatha Ozah, James Nissen, Francis Ward, Elaine Sandoval.
  • Regional Representatives: Olusegun Titus (North/West Africa), Perminus Matiure (East/South Africa), 杨烁 [Yang Shuo] (East Asia), Alexander Crooke (Australasia), Gertrud Maria Huber (Europe), Paolo Fernando Parada Ausquia Jr (South America).
    • South Asia, Middle East and North America were identified as posts certainly yet to be filled, as well as other potential means of diversification e.g. linguistic for South America.


ICTM Membership status

6. Selleri reminded everyone present that all members of the ICTM MESI Study Group need to be members in good standing with the ICTM.


Location of the ICTM World Conference 2019

7. Selleri informed everyone present that the location of the ICTM World Conference 2019 is Bangkok (Chulalongkorn University) and the dates are 11th to 17th July.


8. Ozah encouraged everyone present to apply to present at the ICTM World Conference. She emphasised the importance of submitting a strong abstract and informed those present that funding may be available for those who are accepted. 


9. Selleri encouraged everyone present to consider the possibility of forming MESI panels out of this conference to present at the ICTM World Conference.


ICTM MESI Study Group symposium 2020

10. Selleri informed everyone present that the provisional location for the ICTM MESI Study Group 2020 symposium is Puerto Rico.


11. Selleri emphasised the inclusion motivations for this location, including offering easier access for scholars from Central and South America and enabling the conference to have two official languages (English and Spanish), as well as the established interest there based on her existing links with potential collaborators including scholars, educators, musicians and institutions.


12. Selleri announced that the conference will accept a number of proposals outside the official languages of the conference (English and Spanish), noting that language limitations and anxieties surrounding presenting in another language can be a barrier to participation in a conference. To facilitate this, every effort will be made to provide live translation and/or translation of papers/PowerPoint presentations in advance etc.


13. Selleri reminded everyone present that alterative mediums for presentations will also be accepted, including video presentations, workshops, etc, and that presentations by non-academics, such as performers, community leaders, NGO staff, etc, are very welcome, as are presentations which pair academics and practitioners.


14. Selleri highlighted that the committee will work to make funding available, especially for those working with music, education and social inclusion who might not usually be afforded the opportunity to attend an academic conference e.g. those with low levels of literacy.


15. Selleri indicated that the abstract revision process applied to this conference and the previous MESI symposium will be undertaken again for the 2020 symposium in the interest of social inclusion. Selleri also announced a trial mentor scheme where successful applicants without access to supervision/revision processes can be partnered with a mentor for paper revision in advance of the symposium.


Other matters

16. There were no other matters arising. Selleri called for a motion to adjourn the business meeting and the meeting was adjourned by acclamation; it was immediately followed by the round table of the 1st ICTM Music, Education and Social Inclusion Study Group symposium.