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"Envisioning Improvisation as Social Practice" theme of inaugural Summer Institute

The University of Guelph is hosting the inaugural edition of its biennial Summer Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. Over the course of two weeks, an international group of scholars and graduate students will come together to attend lectures and develop their research in the field of Improvisation Studies. The Institute will present a series of keynote lectures by internationally respected scholars Robert O’Meally and Deborah Wong exploring this year’s theme, “Envisioning Improvisation as Social Practice.”

Robert G. O’Meally is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he founded The Center for Jazz Studies. Ethnomusicologist Deborah Wong teaches at the University of California, Riverside, and specializes in the musics of Asian America and Thailand.

Summer Institute participants will also be presenting their research at the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium (September 3-5). The keynote lectures and colloquium panels and performances are open to the general public. Please check the Institute website for further information, www.improvcommunity.ca/summerinstitute

Sponsored by the Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (SSHRC-MCRI) Project, the Institute is part of a larger organization that includes the University of Guelph, McGill University and The University of British Columbia. The project considers improvisational performance practices as innovative working models for the dynamic exchange of cultural forms.

Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.