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Diaspora, Dispersal, Improvisation, and Imagination theme of Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium

The Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium will explore the ways that people use improvisation and imagination to create community and to turn exile into art. This is one of the few events in North America that combines a scholarly colloquium with a music festival; it offers a stimulating mix of panels, workshops and keynote addresses to engage scholars, music aficionados, and the general public in discussions of the creative, political, and social impacts of improvised music. The Colloquium, which is free and open to the public, runs September 3 to 5 at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre in Guelph.

Keynote speakers and their topics are:
• “Improvisation and Diaspora: Why New Orleans Matters”, by George Lipsitz, Wed., Sept. 3, 9:15-10:30 a.m. Dr. Lipsitz is a cultural theorist and professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
• “Jazz/Opera and the Staging of Race”, by Linda and Michael Hutcheon, Thurs., Sept. 4, 3:45-4:45 p.m. Linda Hutcheon is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and is one of the world’s most important theorists of contemporary culture. Michael Hutcheon is an author, professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and deputy physician in chief for Education at the Toronto Health Network. Together, this husband-and-wife duo has published numerous articles and three books on the intersection of medical and cultural history.
• “Improvisations in America Taiko”, by Deborah Wong, Fri., Sept. 4, 9:00-10:00 a.m. Dr. Wong is an ethnomusicologist, respected author, professor of Music at the University of California, Riverside, and a performer specializing in the musics of Asian America and Thailand.

Talks and workshops by Festival artists are a popular feature of the Colloquium. This year we will feature, among others, musician and theorist D.J. Spooky, Village Voice columnist and band leader Greg Tate, and venerable New Orleans saxophonist Kidd Jordan.

The Colloquium has run for the past 12 years of the Guelph Jazz Festival’s 15-year history. It is co-presented by the Guelph Jazz Festival and the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP) research project. New this year are presentations and a poster session by participants in ICASP’s inaugural Summer Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

The “Colloquium at a Glance” schedule is available at ; more details on the Colloquium itself are available at

Listening itself, an improvisative act engaged in by everyone, announces a practice of active engagement with the world, where we sift, interpret, store and forget, in parallel with action and fundamentally articulated with it ("Mobilitas Animi" 113).

– George E. Lewis