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Social Aesthetics Conference: Improvisation & Social Research Group

From March 12 - 14, 2010, ICASP will host a Social Aesthetics Conference at McGill University.

This conference explores the question of the extent to which the social and dialogical practices which are foregrounded in improvisation are themselves bearers of aesthetic effects. At the same time, speakers will consider how social, cultural, economic and political forces condition the aesthetic practices and values of improvised performance. In this way the conference is concerned with re-theorising the nature of the aesthetic in improvisational and related creative practices. A feature of the conference is to debate these issues with reference not only to improvisation in music, but across a variety of other arts and media – film, dance, theatre, literature and new media. The idea of social aesthetics has been a topic of renewed interest in recent years, as evident in curatorial work that foregrounds the social relations of art and new strands of theoretical writing on the ways in which artworks and creative practices can themselves be conceived as immanently social. The conference will therefore move between the specific practice of musical improvisation and larger debates in the realm of social aesthetics.

The aim of the conference is nothing less than to move on the conceptual and theoretical basis of the notion of social aesthetics through the insights afforded by the improvisational arts.

For more information including schedule, paper abstracts, and travel information, please see the 2010 McGill Improvisation Colloquium


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

– Youth participant, ICASP improvisation workshop