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2009 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium issues call for papers

A call for papers on the theme Improvisation, the Arts, and Social Policy has been issued for the 2009 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium. This year's colloquium will take place September 9-11 as part of the 16th annual Guelph Jazz Festival (September 9-13). It is presented by the Guelph Jazz Festival, in conjunction with the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice project, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, and the University of Guelph.

The program will bring together a diverse range of scholars, creative practitioners, arts presenters, policy-makers, and members of the general public. Featuring workshops, panel discussions, keynote lectures, performances, and dialogues among researchers, artists, and audiences, the annual colloquium cuts across a range of social and institutional locations and promotes a dynamic international exchange of cultural forms.

Interdisciplinary research in the arts and humanities can and should actively participate in the development of public social policies. The Colloquium therefore invites presentations that will help integrate an enriched understanding of improvisation into the decisions and matrices of policy-makers.

Questions to be addressed include:

  • What would it mean to place the civic function of improvised artistic practices firmly at the centre of both broad public debate and informed policy decisions about the role of arts in society?
  • How might it effect government policies and programs in the arts, immigration, citizenship, indigenous affairs, tax, or social justice?
  • How might such studies provide strategic advice to relevant stakeholders to build greater public understanding of improvisation’s social role?

Topics may include an analysis of government commissioned reports on arts funding; a consideration of how musical improvisation might help us approach policies of citizenship and participation; and case studies in which musical improvisation has been used in both Western and non-Western communities in order to facilitate reconciliation and forgiveness, or to bring about social change. The Colloquium welcome and encourage the input of practicing improvising musicians.

Of particular interest is interdisciplinary work that speaks to both an academic audience and a general public. Presenters are invited to submit completed versions of their papers to the peer-reviewed journal, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation ( for consideration.

Please send (500 word) proposals or completed papers (for 15 minute delivery) and a short bio by May 31, 2009 to:
2009 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium
c/o Dr. Ajay Heble, Artistic Director
The Guelph Jazz Festival
123 Woolwich Street, second floor
Guelph, ON
Fax: 519-763-3155

If people talked the way they drummed in improvisation, then I think the world would be a lot nicer…

– Youth participant, ICASP improvisation workshop