International Council for Traditional Music

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Memorandum on ICTM Study Groups

In accordance with ICTM Statute 6:

6. Study Groups

  1. Study Groups consist of ICTM members who share a common scholarly interest.
  2. Study Groups are approved by the Executive Board.
  3. Study Groups manage their activities independently and report annually to the Executive Board.
  4. Each Study Group elects a chair to act as a liaison between the Study Group and the Executive Board.
  5. The Assembly of Study Group Chairs consists of the chair or designated representative of each Study Group and the Secretary General.
  6. A meeting of the Assembly is convened and chaired by the Secretary General at each World Conference.
  7. At the Assembly, the chairs or designated representatives report on their past, present, and future activities, exchange experiences, and raise any concerns they may have.

General Provisions

Study Groups shall be thematic or regional in scope. The name of a Study Group shall give a good indication of the group’s subject matter of scholarly study and be compatible with the concerns of the ICTM.

Members of Study Groups shall also be members of the ICTM, and any ICTM member may join one or several Study Groups. A Study Group may, however, invite experts or others that are not members of ICTM to participate in its activities on a temporary basis.

Study Groups shall regularly organize Symposia to further the free exchange of research results and ideas on a given theme, with the objective of gaining and disseminating new insights.

The Study Group shall be designed to provide an environment conducive to overcoming cultural and other barriers that may interfere with the recognition and appreciation of differing systems of thought.

The results of Study Group symposia and other activities shall normally be documented and made available to the members of ICTM and the general public. Any Study Group publications should be prepared in accordance with ICTM’s Guidelines on Publications.

While symposia are the Study Group’s scholarly events for presentations and discussions, business meetings are held to discuss matters relating to the functioning of the Study Group, review past activities, plan future events and publications, elect Executive Committee members, and any other issues of relevance. Business meetings should be held at symposia, at World Conferences, or both to ensure the broadest possible involvement of members in Study Group activities.

Establishing a Study Group

An interested group of ICTM members should inform the Secretariat about its intention in a detailed letter. The Secretary General will then discuss the issue with them and consult with the Executive Board Committee on Study Groups to prepare a proposal for the status of Study-Group-in-the-Making. The Secretary General will then submit the proposal to the Executive Board.

Once approved, the members of the Study-Group-in-the-Making must organize a face-to-face international, preparatory scholarly meeting. A report on the meeting, a mission statement, an organizational plan, and a request for official recognition, explaining how the proposed new Study Group would contribute to the concerns of the ICTM and its Study Groups, should then be submitted to the Executive Board. As soon as the Executive Board has approved the request, the Study Group is officially affiliated to the ICTM.

The Executive Board may change the name of a Study Group if it deems that the name is incompatible with the concerns of the ICTM. The Executive Board can cancel affiliation of a Study Group which fails to comply with the ICTM Statutes or the content of this Memorandum. The Executive Board may also close Study Groups that the Board has determined to be inactive.

Coordination of Study Groups

The Secretariat will work in conjunction with an advisory Study Group Committee, appointed by the ICTM Executive Board, to resolve any issues that are not covered by the Memorandum or any bylaws governing individual Study Groups. While Study Groups are expected to manage their own internal affairs, any member of a Study Group may consult with the Secretariat over matters that are unresolvable through such means.


Members of Study Groups shall elect a Chair and other members of the Executive Committee. Study Groups may consult the Secretariat for assistance in the proper running of their elections and other matters.

The Chair is responsible for the general running of the Study Group, and acts as a liaison to the Secretariat and Executive Board. The Chair shall also liaise with the Secretariat to:

  • coordinate the dates of the Study Group’s symposia in order to avoid different ICTM events taking place at the same time;
  • ensure that Study Group Business Meetings take place at symposia and/or at World Conferences, unless such a meeting has been held very recently and members deem another to be unnecessary;
  • collect and disseminate information on Study Group activities;
  • maintain a list of the Study Group’s membership;
  • prepare reports on the activities of the Study Group to be presented at meetings of the Executive Board;
  • ensure that the ICTM Statutes and this Memorandum are observed.

Study Groups may have Sub-Study Groups or other subdivisions within them, focused on more specific areas of interest to their members. While such subdivisions should be managed by one or more individuals elected from its members, they are ultimately responsible to the Chair.

Study Groups shall report on their symposia and other activities to the Secretariat, which will then pass on such information to the Executive Board as necessary. Such reports may be published in the Bulletin of the ICTM or in other ways.

Study Groups are encouraged to set up and maintain their own websites. The Secretariat shall also cooperate with Study Groups to maintain a section on the ICTM website concerning their activities.

Ratified in August 2005 (Sheffield); revised in October 2005 (online discussion), September 2006 (Ljubljana), July 2014 (Astana), July 2017 (Limerick), July 2018 (Bangkok), and July 2019 (Bangkok).