Mapping the Musical City

Mapping the Musical City – a historically savvy symposium

Friday 2 February 2018, Institute of Musical Research, Senate House, London

Proposals due: Wednesday 13 December 2017, 1200 GMT

Keynote speaker: Samuel Llano (University of Manchester)



This symposium, in association with the School of Advanced Studies, addresses mapping as both an object and method of musicological enquiry. Inspired in part by the “spatial turn” in the humanities at large and fuelled by the increasing accessibility of Geographic Information Systems software, musicologists can now visualize and analyse complicated trends across time and place with greater ease than ever before. Yet, the ideological and epistemological implications of different mapping tools and techniques remain underexplored. The aim of this symposium is to situate recent projects within a longer history of cartographic practice in music studies.


By taking a historical perspective on the mapping of musical cities this symposium will raise questions on two fronts. Firstly, it will acknowledge cartography as a factor in past musical practice, asking, for instance: how the active “zoning” of civic space regulated performers’ livelihoods; how tour guides and travel writing predetermined listening experiences; and how the policing of bodily display and alcoholic consumption have made entertainment venues a focus for surveillance and control. The second set of questions relates to the mapping techniques available to music studies today: we will ask what is at stake in converting affective, interpersonal musical experiences into machine-readable spatial coordinates; how the problems of mapping the performing arts differ from those of mapping literary or visual culture; and how the current fascination with urban centres emerged from earlier work at the scale of the region or nation.


Please send proposals (300 words) for individual papers or panels to Jonathan Hicks (Newcastle University) at If you have an alternative format suggestion (including, say, demonstrations of current projects or discussions of cartographic texts) feel free to get in touch to discuss your ideas.


Proposals from early career scholars are particularly encouraged. Thanks to sponsorship from Nick Baker there is a modest fund to support travel to the event, particularly for anyone attending from overseas; if you are interested in this support, please say so in your application.


Finally, please note the quick turnaround for this call: the deadline for proposals is Wednesday 13 December 2017, 1200 GMT and decisions will be made later that week.