BFE Annual Conference 2022 (OU): Ordinary Musicians

Call for Papers

The 2022 Annual Conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology

7–10 April 2022, The Open University, Milton Keynes

The committee for the 2022 Annual Conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology invites proposals for presentations on any current ethnomusicological research. Applicants are equally welcome to submit abstracts that engage with the conference theme or other areas of inquiry.

The 2022 theme is Ordinary Musicians, which might be understood in several ways. First – appropriately, given the site of the conference – are ‘hidden’ or ‘amateur’ musicians like those discussed in Ruth Finnegan’s study of music making in Milton Keynes (1989). ‘Ordinary musicians’ could also designate those who make everyday contributions to social and community life, including in contexts of religious observance and ritual. Marc Perrenoud (2007) uses the term to designate working musicians who are ‘ordinary’ not necessarily in terms of ability, but rather in being neither rich nor famous. The theme also invites reflection on the people involved in transmitting everyday musical capacities: parents making music for and with their children; children learning from one another; teachers and their students. Finally, ‘ordinary musicians’ invites critical reflection on the unmarked selves to which ethnomusicologists have implicitly or explicitly compared musical others.

Presenters might investigate topics including

  • hidden, amateur, or ordinary music and musicians
  • music and musicians in contexts of community celebration and solemnity
  • sites and spaces of ordinary music making
  • the lives and practices of working musicians (including how these have been impacted by the crises of the early 21st century)
  • music, payment, and precarity
  • children’s music and children’s musicians
  • teaching, learning, and transmitting music
  • the potentially pejorative associations of terms such as ‘ordinary’ and ‘amateur’
  • concepts of ordinary and extraordinary musicianship and their ideological application (e.g., uses of concepts such as ‘folk music’ or ‘genius’)
  • the ‘average’ or ‘ordinary’ musician as scholarly conceit in the study of music culture
  • the potential exclusiveness of concepts of musical ordinariness, for example with respect to disability
  • unacknowledged specificities (for example, in terms of race and gender) in concepts of musical ordinariness

We hope to host part of the conference online and part of the conference face to face to enable greater participation and inclusion. Details will be available closer to the event. Rather than a keynote talk, the conference will feature plenary panels. Panel proposals that engage with the conference theme may be considered as potential plenary sessions.

The deadline for submissions is 8 December 2021. Successful applicants will be notified by 15 January 2022. Please note that all presenters must be members of the BFE at the time of the conference: https://bfe.org.uk/join-bfe

We invite proposals for papers, panels, roundtables, posters, and films on any current research. We also encourage potential participants to approach the conference organisers with ideas for innovative presentation formats: bfe2022conferenceatgmail.com.

Presentation formats

  • Individual papers: 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions
  • Panels: three or four linked papers (20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions) around a theme, totalling 1.5 or 2 hours
  • Roundtables: typically 3 or 4 shorter presentations, around 15 minutes each, followed by a chaired discussion, totalling 1.5 or 2 hours
  • Posters
  • Films, audio or other media presentations

Proposals should be submitted through the online form here (address repeated below), using the following formats to enable anonymous review:

  • Paper proposals: include the name and email address of the proposer, paper title, and abstract (not exceeding 250 words). The name of the proposer should not appear in the body of the abstract.
  • Organised panel proposals: include the names and email addresses of the proposer and the other participants, an overall title and abstract (not exceeding 250 words) for the session, and paper titles and abstracts (no more than 250 words) for each contributor. The names of the participants should not appear in the body of the abstracts.
  • Roundtable proposals: include the names and email addresses of the proposer and the other participants (the proposer will be assumed to be the chair unless stated otherwise), an overall title and abstract (not exceeding 250 words) for the session, and paper titles and abstracts (no more than 250 words) for each contributor. The names of the participants should not appear in the abstracts.
  • Poster proposals: include the name and email address of the proposer, poster title, and abstract (not exceeding 250 words). The name of the proposer should not appear in the body of the abstract.
  • Proposals for films, audio or other media presentations: include the name and email address of the proposer, title of film/presentation, and abstract (not exceeding 250 words). The abstract should include the length of the film/presentation. The name of the proposer should not appear in the body of the abstract.

All proposals should indicate ‘Can participate online only’ or ‘Can participate online or in person’. All sessions, including organised sessions and roundtables, will be either completely online or completely in person.

BFE Student Prize and Bursaries: Student presenters are encouraged to submit their papers for the BFE Student Prize (https://bfe.org.uk/bfe-student-prize), awarded annually for the best student paper presented at the BFE annual conference. Students may also apply for a BFE Bursary to assist with the cost of attending the conference. Details concerning the prize and bursaries will be circulated closer to the conference date.

BFE Code of Conduct: BFE conferences are run in accordance with the BFE Conference Code of Conduct. By taking part in a BFE conference, you agree to be bound by this code.

The form for submitting proposals can be found at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd7eB9-1OOsGlveuMIjajLwWVj7mJtgkQugnSTiaN2CYaPTjw/viewform

Call for papers deadline: 
8 Dec 2021
Conference dates: 
7 Apr 2022 to 10 Apr 2022