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CALL FOR PAPERS: 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium

2012 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium

University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
September 5-7, 2012


The Guelph Jazz Festival, in conjunction with the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the University of Guelph, and the SSHRC MCRI research project on “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice,” invites proposals for papers to be presented at our annual three‐day international interdisciplinary conference. This year's colloquium will take place September 5th to 7th as part of the 19th annual Guelph Jazz Festival (September 5-9). It 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 and knowledges.

The 2012 edition of the colloquium will focus on the relationships between social responsibility, social justice, and improvisation as reflected through various musical genres. Beginning with the notion of the paradigmatic possibilities of jazz improvisation, the colloquium will explore how improvisation, as pedagogy and as paradigm, create spaces of praxis that operate as socially responsible and social justice-oriented practices for human life. How might we envision a social praxis indebted to the poetics of improvisation that operates as an emancipatory form of human knowledge and life? Acknowledging that a deep social engagement with the paradigmatic possibilities of improvisation might dramatically alter our present knowledge system, do theoretical analyses of improvisation’s pedagogic possibilities present us with socially responsible tasks as scholars, performers, and citizens? We seek to probe the multiple ways in which improvisation, both as part of formal education and as a vital form of creative practice, can inform our social polity. We know that in formal settings there is much work to be done around the teaching of improvisation. Similarly, there is a rich history of improvisatory musics and musicians that illuminate the assets and centrality of marginalized populations and communities. We encourage participants to think broadly about the applicability of the poetics of improvisation to our social present.

Points of focus may include: teacher education and improvisation; hip hop culture and improvisation; the improvising musician as troubadour or diplomat; soundsystems and improvisatory poetics; improvisation as education / education as improvisation; jazz education and community development; autodidactic methods of learning jazz and improvisation; the pros and cons of institutionalized forms of jazz education; educating for social change through jazz; critical pedagogy and jazz education; pedagogies of the oppressed/pedagogies of the privileged; learning by doing: the bandstand as classroom.

We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary work that speaks to both an academic audience and a general public. We also invite presenters to submit completed versions of their papers to our peer‐reviewed journal, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation ( for consideration.

Please send (500 word) proposals (for 15 minute delivery) and a short bio by 
May 31, 2012 to:
The 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium
c/o Dr. Ajay Heble, Artistic Director, The Guelph Jazz Festival

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

– Youth participant, ICASP improvisation workshop