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Summer Institute 2008

August 25 – September 7, 2008

Intended for students and scholars who have an interest in musical improvisation and its potential for dynamic forms of community building, the biennial Summer Institute marks the emergence of a new field of interdisciplinary inquiry that promotes vibrant exchange and encourages new, socially responsive forms of community building across national, cultural and artistic boundaries. The 2008 theme, “Envisioning Improvisation as Social Practice,” explored the terrain and critical questions relating to transcultural understanding and social aesthetics. It considered the possibility of improvised artistic practices to inform community-building models and to shape public debate and policy decisions regarding the role of the arts in society.

The Summer Institute provides an unparalleled opportunity for graduate and post-graduate students from various disciplines to come together and, over the course of two weeks, attend lectures and explore their research interests with top scholars in the field of Improvisation Studies. Two keynote lecturers and two workshop facilitators bring different disciplinary viewpoints to the Institute, allowing for truly interdisciplinary work to take place.

The Institute, being a site of innovative alliances, exposes participants to excellent training and networking opportunities. Two courses are offered at the Institute, each of which awards certificates of attendance. In some cases university credit is possible. Participants will also be given the opportunity to present their work at special sessions of the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium (September 3 - 5, 2008) and will be encouraged to submit their papers to the peer-reviewed journal Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation.

Sponsored by the Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (SSHRC-MCRI) Project, the Institute is part of a larger organisation 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.

Watch a video of keynote Deborah Wong from the 2008 Summer Institute here

Watch a video of keynote Robert O'Meally from the 2008 Summer Institute here

We’ll all be more innovative if we participate in collaborative webs and share more openly. Creativity is always a collaboration and it’s always a form of improvisation, written large in the social world.

– Keith Sawyer