Centennial Reflections on Women’s Suffrage and the Arts


Local : National : Transnational

An international, multi-disciplinary public conference

University of Surrey, UK, 29–30 June 2018

Keynote Speakers:

  • Irene Cockroft, author of Women in the Arts & Crafts and Suffrage Movements at the Dawn of the 20th Century
  • Elizabeth Crawford, author of The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland

CFP: deadline for submissions 26 January 2018

Conference website: www.suffragecentennial.wordpress.com

The 2018 centenary of the Representation of the People Act (6 February 1918), which granted the vote to many women in the UK, yields an ideal opportunity for sustained critical reflection on women’s suffrage. This conference seeks to explore the artistic activities nurtured within the movement, their range and legacy, as well as the relationships between politics and art. In striving for an inclusive, transnational reach, it will at the same time seek to move beyond traditional emphases on white middle-class feminism and explore the intersections between the regional, national, and global contexts for women’s suffrage with specific respect to the arts.

While proposals addressing any aspects of women’s suffrage will be welcomed, this conference will focus upon three strands:

  1. Women’s suffrage in/and the arts
  2. Women’s suffrage in Surrey and the surrounds
  3. Transnational networks and flows of texts in relation to women’s suffrage

20-minute papers are invited on any aspect of these strands, including but not limited to:

  • Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century women’s writing on suffrage;
  • Political reflections on the arts and the cultural sphere, e.g. in music;
  • Transnational networks and mobilities of political texts and ideas, incorporating suffrage movements in other countries;
  • Politically active individuals with strong links to Surrey (particularly in relation to the arts) e.g. Mary Watts, Dame Ethel Smyth, Gertrude Jekyll, Marion Wallace Dunlop;
  • Networks such as Ferguson’s Gang, Surrey Hills Group, Surrey Pilgrimage Group, and women who organised suffrage marches;
  • Sociological theories of women’s suffrage;
  • Contributions of women of colour to suffrage movements in Britain and globally;
  • Art (both historical and contemporary) inspired by women’s suffrage.

Proposals for panels of 3–4 papers (1.5–2 hours) are also warmly welcomed, as are proposals for one-hour roundtables of 3–5 participants. We encourage proposals from postgraduate students and independent scholars in addition to institutionally-affiliated established academics.

Planned activities include a panel discussion featuring artists who have been active in performing and creating works based on women’s suffrage and some of its key figures; and a recital of music and readings. We envisage that an edited publication will be developed from papers presented at the conference.

Abstracts of not more than 300 words should be e-mailed by 26 January 2018 to suffragecentennial@surrey.ac.uk. Decisions will be communicated to speakers by 23 February 2018. A limited number of student bursaries may be offered to offset costs of attendance.

Conference Committee: Christopher Wiley, Charlotte Mathieson, Lucy Ella Rose (co-chairs)

Enquiries: suffragecentennial@surrey.ac.uk

Music History and Cosmopolitanism

Fourth Sibelius Academy Symposium on Music History, http://www.uniarts.fi/en/cosmopol2016

June 1–3, 2016 at Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland

Keynote Speakers (see below for abstracts)

Brigid Cohen, New York University, USA
Mark Everist, University of Southampton, GB
Franco Fabbri, University of Turin, IT

Conference Outline

The Third Sibelius Academy Symposium (2014) took as its theme the questioning of methodological nationalism in music historiography: the kind of historiography that, according to Beck and Sznaider, equates society with national society (“Unpacking Cosmopolitanism for the Social Sciences,” 2006: 2). They called, instead, for a methodological cosmopolitanism, an alternative that has gained momentum within musicology, often alongside related concepts: the last two decades have seen increased attention to the conspicuous mobility of works and musicians; to cities as sites of cosmopolitan encounter; and to the transnational and global connections created and exploited by musicians.

The Fourth Sibelius Academy Symposium takes cosmopolitanism as its theme in order to contribute to and clarify this cosmopolitan turn, which raises as many questions as it answers. The label “cosmopolitan” is easily attached to instances of diversity in performance and consumption, for example, but it has been more broadly reinterpreted as an ethical standpoint transcending the local and national. Clearly, the meaning of the cosmopolitan remains hard to define, both theoretically and in relation to particular times and places. The danger of naïve universalism is obvious enough, but how, in musicological practice, can the discourse on cosmopolitanism engage with the post-colonial experience of musicians, with diaspora and migration, or with the complexities of Creolization and métissage? Without losing sight (or sound) of nuanced case studies, we might also ask, more broadly, after the relationship between the cosmopolitan and the transnational as analytical categories. Moreover, how can the study of music and musicians contribute to our understanding of the intersection of cosmopolitanism and social class?

This international symposium will offer a forum for debate about how we might build a post-national understanding of the social in the musical past. The aim is to pursue a better understanding of the kinds of social interweaving and mutual dependence that set cosmopolitan musical processes in motion well before the mass migrations and technological changes that characterized the twentieth century, and to begin to identify features that might signal the emergence of a cosmopolitan society. We therefore invite proposals for papers and group sessions under the following themes:

  • The transnationalization of music, its import and export, its cultural transfer and exchange
  • Music and transnational mobility, migrancy and nomadism.
  • Music and belonging: the exiled musician and the stateless musician
  • Music and urban culture; cosmopolitan musical genres
  • Music and international networks of digital communication
  • Diasporic communities, music and border crossing
  • Music and non-state politics (e.g. human rights and ecological issues)
  • Music and non-state affiliations: religion, ethnicity, pan-nationalism, (Communist) Internationalism

The Conference Committee welcomes individual papers and proposals for panels and roundtable discussions. For individual papers, abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted, with a short biography of the presenter. Panels and roundtable proposals should include a session overview, participant biographies and descriptions of individual contributions.

Please send abstracts and proposals to the conference secretary, Dr. Kaarina Kilpiö, at kaarina.kilpio@uniarts.fi by Wednesday 30 September 2015. Notices of acceptance will be sent by Friday 30 October 2015.

Conference Committee

Vesa Kurkela (chair) / Sibelius Academy
Philip Bohlman / University of Chicago, USA
Katherine Hambridge / University of Warwick, GB
Markus Mantere / Sibelius Academy & The Finnish Musicological Society
Tomi Mäkelä / Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
Derek Scott / University of Leeds, GB
Anne Sivuoja-Kauppala / Sibelius Academy
Kaarina Kilpiö (conference secretary) / Sibelius Academy

Keynote Abstracts

Brigid Cohen: Musical Cosmopolitics in Cold War New York

New York crystallized as an archetypal “global city” under the pressure of the early Cold War, when the U.S. asserted heightened economic and military dominance, while absorbing unprecedented levels of immigration in the wake of the Holocaust, decolonization movements, and the internal Great Migration.  During this period, the city built a cultural infrastructure that benefitted from, and sought to match, the nation’s enhanced geopolitical and economic power.  This talk examines the role of musical “migrant mediators” who navigated new patronage opportunities that arose in this setting, helping to reinforce transnational art and music networks for generations to come.  With attention to concert music, jazz, electronic music, and performance art—and figures ranging from Yoko Ono to Vladimir Ussachevsky—I highlight creators’ wildly disparate enactments of national citizenship and world belonging in the arts of the Cold War “global city,” their different cosmopolitanisms in counterpoint and contestation with one another.

Mark Everist: Stage Music and Cultural Transfer in Europe, 1814–1870

The history of stage music in the nineteenth century trades largely in the commodities of named composer and opera in the early 21st century canon. This serves our understanding of the nineteenth century badly, and in ways in which colleagues in other disciplines would find strange. Examining stage music on a European scale, from Lisbon to St Petersburg and from Dublin to Odessa, in pursuit of an understanding of the cultures that supported opera in the long nineteenth century begins to uncover networks of activity that span the entire continent, and that engage the reception of French and Italian stage music in the farthest flung regions.

Setting forth an understanding of nineteenth-century stage music that attempts to grasp the complex reality of ‘opera’ in Seville, Klausenberg or Copenhagen, opens up the possibility not only of going beyond tired notions of national identity, or even of the ‘imagined community’ but also of beginning to understand the cultural contest in terms of urban encounter or melee.

Franco Fabbri: An ‘Intricate Fabric of Influences and Coincidences in the History of Popular Music’: Reflections on the Challenging Work of Popular Music Historians

What we now call ‘popular music’ isn’t simply the Anglo-American mainstream from the Tin Pan Alley era (or even the 1950s) onward, with the optional addition of a handful of local genres, styles, and scenes: it’s an extremely varied set of music events that became visible and audible almost simultaneously in many places around the world since the early decades of the Nineteenth century (the ‘third type’ of music, according to Derek B. Scott, emerging in the void created by the invention of ‘classical’ and ‘folk’ music). If we accept this idea, then a popular music historian has to face a number of challenging questions.

Which sources (sheet music, paintings, photographs, movies, recordings, memories and ethnographic research, ads, posters, reviews, demographic and economic data, objects, instruments, technologies, places, up to web-based documents, etc.) are available? How reliable are they? In which languages were they conceived, written or recorded? Within which theoretical framework can they be studied? It’s a huge work, but it must also produce a manageable output, in the form of handbooks, audio-visual products, web pages, and other material suitable for teaching and dissemination. The paper will address some of these questions and challenges, with the aim to avoid the sheer transferral of concepts from the study of the current mainstream to a cosmopolitan history of popular music(s).

Opera’s second life: beyond the European context

International Conference, 12-14 June 2014, University of Sydney


The global nature of today’s opera world is as well established as its European ancestry. Originating in seventeenth-century Italy, opera quickly migrated to more distant lands as part of the European colonial project. Iconic figures such as Fitzcarraldo epitomize the passion with which this art form has been pursued at the farthest frontiers of European expansion. The aims of this conference are two-fold: (1) to explore the processes by which Western opera was disseminated and cultivated outside the main European centres; and (2) to examine offshoot traditions of opera from non-European countries. In doing so, we hope to interrogate and problematize notions of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ which still tacitly obtain in much discourse about opera, and to explore transnational operatic exchanges of all kinds.

Conference participants are invited to explore some of the following themes, although proposals on other topics are also welcomed:

• Operatic activities in colonial societies
• Opera and post-colonial identities
• Cultural boomerangs: outside influences on the European mainstream
• Homogenisation and diversity in global opera production today
• Fusions and fissions in contemporary opera composition
• Australian opera history
• Opera at Europe’s peripheries: from Iceland to Istanbul
• Opera touring companies: missionaries or multi-national outposts?
• The outsider’s take: reimagining early opera from beyond Europe

Keynote addresses will be given by Simon Williams (UC Santa Barbara) and Michael Halliwell (Sydney).

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to David Larkin (david.larkin@sydney.edu.au) by Wednesday 31 July 2013. Notices of acceptance from the program committee will be sent by the end of August. Those selected for the program will be asked for firm commitments to attend by February 2014. The program committee is comprised of Michael Halliwell (Sydney), David Larkin (Sydney), Michael Ewans (Newcastle, NSW), and Benjamin Walton (Cambridge).

The conference will take place at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, a faculty of the University of Sydney. Located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, beside the Botanic Gardens and within a few minutes’ walk of Circular Quay and the city’s famous Opera House, the Conservatorium’s idyllic situation is matched by the calibre of its facilities.