Digital Folk

Proposals are invited for the Digital Folk conference at the University of Sheffield.

This one-day conference will explore the practices, cohesions or frictions that can arise when folk and traditional arts come into contact with digital technologies.

As experiences and assertions of place and ethnicity are problematised by the ongoing impacts of globalisation, concepts of “tradition” take on new meanings, new significances and—for many—new appeal. Folk arts of various sorts have experienced a significant growth in profile and cultural currency over recent years. Digital technologies—regularly cited as key enablers of cultural globalisation—are simultaneously complicit in supporting the resurgence and maintenance of local traditions, as well as facilitating the development of new, transnational communities and activities. Folk songs are shared on websites; dancers are recruited and organised on social media; storytelling communities congregate around online discussion boards; and cultural organisations court public engagement with internet archives. Digitally mediated actions and interactions are a ubiquitous part of everyday life for folk artists and participants, but the impacts of these behaviours on tradition—as content and/or concept—remain relatively unexplored.

Submissions are invited for papers that explore the range of issues arising from the use of digital technologies as they relate to any folk/traditional arts from around the world. Themes for discussion include (but are not limited to):

—the roles played by contemporary digital technologies, materials and social networks in the participatory and performative activities of folk/traditional musicians and dancers
—the discourses related to the employment, distribution and/or rejection of digital resources in traditional contexts
—the artistic and cultural impacts of digital tools, resources and networks
—the relationships between particular traditional cultures/activities and specific media/technologies.
—the interaction of corporate or institutional digital technologies or materials, with vernacular digital practices and ‘user-generated’ media.

Contributions are invited from scholars across the fields of ethnomusicology, digital anthropology, folklore studies, media studies, ethnochoreology and other related disciplines. This conference represents an annex to the British Forum of Ethnomusicology Annual Conference, also hosted at the University of Sheffield (from 20-23 April 2017), and we envisage that some delegates will wish to attend both events, potentially contributing more than one paper.

Proposals of 250–300 words are invited for presentations of 20 minutes. These proposals should be sent as a Word attachment to and must include the following: Title, author(s), affiliation(s), email address for contact.

The deadline for proposals is 1st November 2016.