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Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium 2012

Pedagogy & Praxis: Improvisation as Social Justice and Social Responsibility

University of Guelph, September 5-7, 2012

How can improvisation create spaces of praxis that operate as socially responsible and social justice-oriented practices for human life? Do theoretical analyses of improvisation’s pedagogic possibilities present us with socially responsible tasks as scholars, performers, and citizens? How can improvisation inform our social polity, and how are the poetics of improvisation applicable to our social present?

Investigating these and other questions, this year’s colloquium explores the relationships between musical improvisation, pedagogy, social justice and social activism.

The Colloquium is presented by the Guelph Jazz Festival, in conjunction with the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice project, the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, and the University of Guelph.

See bottom of page for links to the 2012 Abstracts & Bios and the original Call For Papers.


All events at Macdonald Stewart Art Centre.

All events are free and open to the public.

UPDATE (September 4, 2012) - Change in Colloquium schedule: Due to illness, Gwen Ansell has had to cancel her keynote talk at this year's Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium. We wish Gwen a speedy recovery and hope that we'll have an opportunity to bring her to Guelph on another occasion. In her place, Dr. Jesse Stewart will open this year's colloquium with a keynote presentation entitled " "Comprovisation or imposition? An improvised composition on a life of improvisation."

Wednesday, September 5

Introductory Remarks and Welcome

Keynote: 9:15-10:30

"Comprovisation or imposition? An improvised composition on a life of improvisation."
Jesse Stewart (School for Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University)

Panel 1A: 10:45-12:00 IS THAT JAZZ? GIL SCOTT-HERON NOW AND THEN

  • Moderator: TBA
  • Carter Mathes (English, Rutgers University), “Free Will”
  • Michael New (English, Pennsylvania State University), “Bluesology: Gil Scott-Heron's “Black History””
  • Aldon Lynn Nielsen (American Literature, Pennsylvania State University), “Professing the Blues: Gil Scott-Heron”

Panel and Workshop 1B: 10:30-noon RNRG: THE RAW NERVE RESEARCH GROUP: EMBODIED COGNITION PEDAGOGY

  • Moderator: TBA
  • Sarah Tolmie (English, University of Waterloo), “Embodied Cognition: Language”
  • Adam Euerby (Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo), "Embodied Cognition: Participatory Pedagogy"
  • Mark Hancock (Management Sciences, University of Waterloo), “Embodied Cognition: Designing Technology”

    Lunch 12:00-1:00

    Workshop 1:00-2:00

    Reflections on Search and Reflect: A John Stevens Improvisation Workshop
    Joe Sorbara (University of Guelph) and Rob Wallace (Bowling Green State University), with Alan Stanbridge (University of Toronto)

    Panel 2A: 2:15-3:30 HIP HOP AND YOUTH CULTURE

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Mark V. Campbell (Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, University of Guelph), “Hip Hop’s Improvisatory Core as Praxis in a Neoliberal Era”
    • Gustavo Souza Marques (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil), “Taking Rap Serious: Musical Analysis and Political Aspects in Duelo de MCs”
    • Mopelolade Ogunbowale (History and International Development, University of Guelph), ““Nothing dey par Inna the Ghetto”: The Improvisation of Reggae and Hip Hop in Ajegunle Raga”

    Panel 2B: 2:15-3:30 IN THESE PAGES: TEXTS, CANONS, NARRATIVES

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Brian Lefresne (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph), “Sun Ra in the Pages of Johnson Publishing”
    • Ana Voncina (Musicology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia), “Conversation with Conrad Paumann’s Approach to Improvisation”
    • Lara Frisch (Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany), “The Creation of Narratives and Assessment in Improvisation”

    Panel 3A: 3:45-5:00 PHILOSOPHY AND THE LAW

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Sara Ramshaw (School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland), “Towards an Improvisionary Pedagogy of Adjudication: Child Protection Law”
    • Marcel Swiboda (Cultural Studies, University of Leeds, UK), “What is Improvisational Thinking? Collaborative Conceptual Wayfaring as Cultural Critique”
    • Sandra Vreugdenhil (Philosophy, University of Windsor), “Social Jazz: On Love and the Voices of Others”

    Panel 3B: 3:45-5:00 BORDERLANDS (Part 1): CROSSING GENRES AND CROSSING CULTURES

    • Moderator: TBA
    • David Lee (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph), “Ironic Detachment: The Jazz Musician as Borderland Figure”
    • Mehrenegar Rostami (School of Music, Memorial University of Newfoundland), “Improvisational Strategies Among Persian Musicians in their Cross-Cultural Encounters”
    • Dr. Catherine Lee “Improvisation of Sound and Movement
    • Greg Fenton(School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph), “Improvising Personal Rights beyond the National: Chen Guangcheng and a Study of Dissidence”

    8:00 Performance: BEAUTIFUL TOOL

    Mary Margaret O’Hara and Peggy Lee with J.P. Carter, Ron Samworth, and Dylan van der Schyff (British Columbia / Ontario)

    Thursday, September 6

    Keynote: 9:15-10:30

    “On the Ethics of Teaching “Jazz” (and “America's Classical Music,” and “BAM,” and “Creative Music,” and…)”
    David Ake (Department of Music, University of Nevada, Reno)

    Panel 4A: 10:45-noon SCHOOLS WITHOUT WALLS: CAN IMPROVISATION BE TAUGHT?

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Ken Prouty (Music, Michigan State University), “”I’d Rather Play with an Aebersold”: Improvisation, Community and the Play-Along Record”
    • Megan Giacomelli (Petawawa, Ontario), “Commitment, Community, Classroom - An Investigation of the Interplay between the Ethics of Teaching and the Ethics of Improvisation”
    • Pete Johnston (Ethnomusicology, York University), “Teaching Improvisation and the Pedagogical History of the Jimmy Giuffre 3”
    • Joe Sorbara(School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph), “Re-thinking the CME: Interrogating an Improvised Pedagogy”

    Panel 4B: 10:45-noon JAZZ ACTIVISM: IMPROVISING SOCIAL ACTION AND POLICY

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Dana Reason Myers (Music, York University), (Popular Music Studies, Oregon State University), “Battles of Agency in Hip Hop and Improvised Music”
    • Barry Long (Music at Bucknell University), Black Blowers of the Now: Jazz and Activism from King’s
    • Alex Pelchat (Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University), “Education, Music, and Sociopolitical Change”

    Noon-1:00 Lunch

    Workshop 1:00-2:00 ONE MAN BANDS (Quebec and Ontario)

    Colin Stetson, Ben Grossman (host), Debashis Sinha

    Panel 5A: 2:15-3:30 CURATING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVENESS

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Rebekah Steele (The Conference Board European Diversity and Inclusion Academy), “Breaking Free of Tradition to Break Through to Innovation: Intersections of Jazz Improvisation, Neuroscience, and Diversity and Inclusion”
    • charles c. smith (Cultural Pluralism in the Arts, University of Toronto Scarborough), “Improvisation in Pedagogy and Praxis: Opening Spaces to Critical Engagement And Social Justice”
    • Sara Villa (Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, Université de Montréal), “Women Beat Poets and Improvised Jazz Poetry: A Feminist Poetic Pedagogy in the Now”

    Panel 5B: 2:15-3:30 LISTENING

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Aaron Kaplan (Ethnomusicology, University of California Riverside), “From Free Jazz to Pedagogy: a Phenomenological and Ritualistic Approach to Improvisation and Social Justice”
    • Gayle Young (Publisher, Musicworks Magazine), “Pattern Recognition in Acoustic Space”
    • Paul Watkins (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph), “Listening on Lower Frequencies: Ellison, Coleman, Ra, and l’écouteur engage” ft. David Lee on bass (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph)

    Panel 6A: 3:45-5:00 IMPROVISED PLACEMAKING: COMMUNITIES IN ACTION

    • Moderator: TBA
    • David Jackson (Media Studies, University of Western Ontario), “Controlled Burn: Re-imagining Place in Bill Dixon's 17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur
    • Michael Kaler (Ethnomusicology, York University), “Improvisation, Community, and Somewhere There”
    • Kyle Mackie (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph), “Improvised Placemaking: Running and the City”

    Panel 6B: 3:45-5:00 BORDERLANDS (Part 2): CROSSING GENRES AND CROSSING CULTURES

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Vanessa Blais-Tremblay (Musicology, McGill University), “Don’t Pocahontas Me: Modernity, Transnational Politics, and Autoeroticism in the Performance of Inuit Throat Games on Southern Stages”
    • Hanna Burgé Luviano (York University), “The Body in the Soul’s Keeping: Considerations of the Vocalese Style”
    • Paul Malott (Marianopolis College), “Taxonomic Turmoil: The Social Politics of Musical Genres”

    5:00 Performance MUSKOX (Ontario)

    Friday September 7

    Onstage Interview 9:15-10:30

    Fred Frith (Mills College)
    Interviewed by Scott Thomson (Improviser in Residence, Improvisation, Community and Social Practice/Musagetes)

    Panel 7A: 10:45-noon SOCIAL JUSTICE, SOCIAL MOVEMENT, SOCIAL PRACTICE

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Rebecca Caines (University of Regina), “Art Pedagogies: Improvising Towards Community-Based Social Justice”
    • Mark Laver (Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice, University of Guelph), “Improvise! ™: Improvisation as a Corporate Ethic”
    • Ann Westbere (Department of Political Science, University of Guelph), “Politics and Music: Looking at the Role of Music as a Communication Tool in Social Movements”

    Panel 7B: 10:45-noon ARTS PRESENTATION AS PEDAGOGY

    • Moderator: TBA
    • Derek Andrews (Global Café/Mundial Montreal), “World Music 2.0”
    • Thomas Zlabinger (Music, York College, The City University of New York), “Towards a Literature of Improvised Music and its Pedagogy”
    • Andrew Raffo Dewar (Interdisciplinary Arts, New College, University of Alabama), “Improvising Alabama: Pedagogy and Praxis Beyond the Centers”
    • Alex W. Rodriguez (Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles), “Creating Space for Creative Music at LA’s Blue Whale”

    Noon-1:00 Lunch

    Workshop 1:00-2:00

    Drones and Tones, Trance and Dance: Improvising Worlds of Sound (Norway, Austria, Mozambique, Ontario)
    Ivar Grydeland, Tonny Kluften, Ingar Zach, Werner Puntigam, Matchume Zango, Matt Brubeck (host)

    Book Launch and Poster Session 2:00-3:00

    • Alain Derbez (Mexico)
    • Xiang Li (Faculty of Education, University of Calgary), “Cultural Embeddedness of Christotainment and its Effects in China”
    • Jennifer El Gammal (School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Brussels, Belgium), “Alterglobalisation and Artivism - The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination”
    • Gretchen Schwarz (Montreal, Quebec), “Relating, Communicating, Connecting, Becoming, Belonging: Examining an Improvising Music Community in Montreal”
    • Ariel Swan
    • Sam Golter

    Onstage Interview 3:00-4:00

    Abdullah Ibrahim (South Africa)
    Interviewed by Winston Smith (School of Liberal Arts, Seneca College)

    5:00 Performance COLTRANE’S ASCENSION: JEREMY STRACHAN AND ENSEMBLE (Ontario)


    This colloquium is generously sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Lloyd Carr-Harris Foundation, the Chawkers Foundation, the SOCAN Foundation, Canadian Heritage/Patrimoine canadien, OX, the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-President (Research), the Office of the Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs), the School of English and Theatre Studies, the School of Fine Art and Music, the School of Languages and Literatures, Hospitality Services, and the Central Student Association at the University of Guelph, and Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico.

    Archived Abstracts and Bios

    Please click here to download an archived copy of the 2012 Colloquium abstracts and bios in PDF form.

    Archived Call For Papers

    Please click here to download an archived copy of the 2012 Colloquium Call For Papers in PDF form.

    Improvisation is a human right

    – Muhal Richard Abrams