International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Conference Report: Pre-ICTM SG approval MESI Conference (London, UK)(July 2017)

The MESI symposium held at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK, on 20-21 July 2017 was organized by PhD student Sara Selleri, Prof. Keith Howard and PhD student James Nissen.


A call for papers was published in the January 2017 Newsletter of the International Council for Traditional Music, then a call was distributed to members of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and, through its newsletter, to members of the Society for Ethnomusicology. A Facebook group was established to facilitate circulation. The symposium was intended to provide the launch platform for an international Study Group on Music Education and Social Inclusion under the aegis of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM), and was announced as such by the ICTM Secretary General at the July 2017 world conference in Limerick.


The call for papers focused on exploring multifaceted educational practices in relation to a wide spectrum of issues and thinking, such as:

• Education and Representation

• Issues of Identity in Education

• Social inclusion and Education

• Education and International Development

• Ethnomusicology, Transmission Practices (teaching/learning) and Social Inclusion


Other topics were welcomed and encouraged. A number of presenters were invited to redirect their papers/interventions to focus on one of the identified components of the Study Group; they later expressed to the organizing committee they had been very pleased of being redirected, highlighting it gave them a chance to further explore and open up additional areas of their research. This feedback also increased awareness and triggered thought processes around key issues, which ensured a successful symposium. Furthermore, the call for papers highlighted alternative presentations would be considered – other than individual papers. This resulted in the inclusion of video presentations, an instrumental workshop, an interdisciplinary panel and a number of music performances. In order to make participation more inclusive, a limited number of remote presentations through Skype were also considered.


The symposium attracted 40 academics from Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, Central Asia, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, The Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, and the USA, plus a number of other participants from various backgrounds (independent consultants, the private sector, the international development community, musicians, theatre practitioners, etc.). Two keynotes were offered by Huib Schippers (Director, Smithsonian Folkways, and former Dean of Queensland Conservatorium) and Patricia Shehan Campbell (University of Washington, former Chair of the College Music Society and Vice-President of the Society for Ethnomusicology), along with 23 papers and workshops. A dedicated page, where the programme is archived, is at: