International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Call for Papers: 7th Symposium of the Study Group on Musics of East Asia, 27-29 August, 2020, Normal University, Inner Mongolia, China

Call for Papers: 7th Symposium of the

Study Group on Musics of East Asia

[27-29 August, 2020, Normal University, Inner Mongolia, China]


Dates: 27-29, August, 2020

Venue: Inner Mongolia, China

Organized and hosted by Normal University


East Asian Performing Arts at the Vanguard of Global Expressivities

The 2018 Conference in Seoul proved our biggest, most diverse conference to date. Thanks to our host institutions, The National Gugak Center and the Korean Musicological Society, participants experienced the beauty of Korean hospitality and the joys of forming new and lasting professional networks.

In 2020, the MEA conference builds on the 2018 theme of transitions in East Asia by exploring the role of music in societal upheavals and paradigm shifts. At the heart of sociocultural and political change is expressive culture; harnessing angst, giving voice to the marginal, and empowering  those brave enough to face uncomfortable truths and seek equitable and robust futures for themselves and those around them. Over the past 50 years, East Asia has moved from the periphery to the center of global culture. From K-Pop successes and controversies to East Asian identities harnessed in the name of diversity amidst concerns of appropriation, issues surrounding East Asian performing arts and artists continue to shape and re-shape global performing arts. We seek papers that examine the diversity of genres relevant to ‘East Asian performing Arts’ and, in particular, topics which explore the role of performing arts in shaping and resisting the status quo, forging new musical directions and/or sociopolitical paths as well as the role of performing arts in social upheaval. In addition, we seek papers that cover a variety of eras and genres; from historical research to the most recent trends in the popular music industry, from classical music traditions to hybrid genres and experimental music. We welcome papers that concern East Asian performance of music and trance and that break from the paradigm of ‘tradition’ contrasted with ‘modernity.’ We welcome papers that consider new ways to discuss musical heritages and their roles in the East Asia—and the world—of today.

Suggested Themes

  1. The Music Industry and Asian Identities:

The global music industry has become a powerful force in shaping perceptions regarding racial, cultural and national identities. We encourage presentations that explore the role of the music industry in both engaging current trends and inspiring shifts in perceptions regarding masculinity and female empowerment and break genre barriers.

  1. Re-considerations of Hybridity:

Hybridity is a common topic in discussions of East Asian performing arts. Hybridity assumes, however, a real divide separates genre and artist identities as well as obscures long histories of blended and shifting artistic creation. We encourage papers, workshops and discussions, which work towards breaking assumed de facto categories of performance and propose new ideas of discussing artistry in the world today.

  1. Inspiration or Appropriation?

Cultural appropriation has taken center stage over the past few years in discussions regarding who has the right to perform particular genres and/or invoking particular identities. The issue of historic and contemporary power inequities form the nucleus of discussions of appropriation. We encourage presentations that dive deeply into issues of artistic inspiration, and explore the lines sometimes crossed between inspiration and appropriation.

  1. Performance and the Environment

Acoustemology framed the study of sound’s place in the environment and the environment’s role as influencer of sound. Studies of performance and the environment examine the function of music and dance in shaping physical surroundings, and vice versa.

  1. Performance and Re-Conceptualizing Gender

The performing arts have proven crucial to expression of sexual and gender identities. In what ways do the mediums of music and dance re-configure gender and conventional gender roles in society? What role do the performing arts play in shaping and altering perceptions regarding sexual and gender identities? Presentations that examine these and related issues are encouraged.

  1. Transcultural Artists and Performance Genres

In the digital age, our worlds have become smaller and our networks have widened. More and more, artists work with multiple sound canvases to create works that bridge aesthetic worlds and with other artists stemming from traditions far removed from their own. We encourage presentations that demonstrate the increased significance of the transcultural presence of East Asian music as well as the complexities of such collaborations and creations.

  1. New Research:

We encourage the submission of scholarly work that aims to deepen discussions of the main theme and supports a greater understanding of East Asian musical cultures.



English is the official language of the Music of East Asia Conference. Students are very welcome to present. Consider this an opportunity in a student-friendly, kind presentation environment.




1. Individual Presentation:

20 minutes long and followed by 10 minutes for discussion. A 20-minute paper is about 7 to 8 typewritten pages, double-spaced using 12-point font.


 2. Organized panel: these may be presented in ONE of the following formats:

    - 120 minutes long, 4 presenters

    - 120 minutes long, 3 presenters and a discussant

Each presentation is 20 minutes with 10 minutes for Q and A; Discussant can present for 10-20 minutes, but must make sure to open the floor for discussion, as well. 30 minutes for summary.


3. Roundtable: 120 minutes long with up to 6 discussants on a given topic, entirely organized and run by a given Chair of the Roundtable, with discussion among the presenters and the audience. Individual presentations should be brief (maximum 10 minutes) to allow for active and in-depth discussion.


4. Workshop: informal, interactive hands-on session on one topic for a maximum of two hours, completely run by the workshop organizer.


5. Film/DVD: recently completed or in-progress films, video programs or excerpts thereof. Works-in progress can focus on highlights of the project with contextualization (30-minute presentation). Depending on the number and length of films, documentary films that do not exceed 50 minutes may be shown in their entirety.


6. ‘TEDxstyle Lightning Papers: 5-minutes in length, featuring no more than 10 slides, with 5 minutes for Questions/ Answers. The program committee will construct panels from lighting paper submissions. 8 lightening presentations and a discussant will make up one 120-minute panel.



Please submit an abstract for a paper presentation in one of the above listed formats (300 words max). Organizers of panels/roundtables/workshops must submit a statement on the focus and central concern of the panel/ roundtable/workshop along with an abstract from each presenter on his/her presentation (each abstract is limited to 300 words and biographical notes are strictly limited to 50 words). Please note that you can only submit ONE type of format submission for the conference.


Deadline: December 15, 2019


Submit Abstracts to:


All proposals must be submitted in English

All proposals will undergo an anonymised peer review, and the decision on proposals will be announced in the third week of March 2020.


You should receive an email within 7 days of your submission. If you have failed to receive a response, please contact the Chair of the Programme Committee, Hilary Finchum-Sung []




All presenters must register as a member of the International Council of Traditional Music directly with the ICTM Secretariat before attending the Study Group Symposium. The email contact is: Students will have a special registration fee for both ICTM as well as the conference. All registration fees and other information will be forthcoming from the Local Arrangements Committee.


The Local Committee for 2020 MEA

XIAO Mei (Co-Chair) Shanghai Conservatory of Music

QI Kun (Co-Chair)  China Conservatory of Music

QIAO Jianzhong

YANG Yuanzheng

Yang Yucheng

Yang Junghai

He Yu



The Program Committee for 2020 MEA

FINCHUM-SUNG Hilary (Chair)

QI Kun 

NG Kolly 

CHEN Chun-bin