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Summer Institute 2012

August 27 - September 9, 2012

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 work that promotes vibrant exchange and encourages new, socially responsive forms of community building across national, cultural and artistic boundaries. This year’s graduate level courses will explore the material effects that critical studies in improvisation can have on North American society, with an emphasis on the research themes: law and justice, pedagogy, and social policy.

The Summer Institute provides an unparalleled opportunity for graduate and post-graduate students from various disciplines, along with other interested participants, to come together and, over the course of two weeks, attend lectures and workshop their research interests with top scholars and artists in the field of Improvisation Studies. Each lecturer will 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 5th-7th, 2012) and will be encouraged to submit their papers to the peer-reviewed journal Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation (

The Summer Institute is sponsored by the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (SSHRC-MCRI) Research Project.


Courses are offered as graduate credit.

Improvisation and Pedagogy

Course instructor: Shirley Steinberg, University of Calgary

Improvisation, Law, and Justice

Course instructor: Imani Perry, Princeton University

Workshop Facilitators

  • Frederique Arroyas, School of Languages and Literatures, University of Guelph
  • Ajay Heble, School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph
  • George E. Lewis, Department of Music, Columbia University
  • Mark Campbell, ICASP Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Guelph
  • Mark Laver, ICASP Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Guelph
  • David Lametti, Faculty of Law, McGill University
  • Patrick Case, Director of the Human Rights and Equity Office, University of Guelph
  • Sara Villa, ICASP Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre de recherche en éthique de l'Université de Montréal
  • Jesse Stewart, School for Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University


Cost: $300*

* fee waived for University of Guelph graduate students registered in their program for the summer semester and for Ontario University graduate students attending under the Visiting Graduate Student Plan (

Assessment of applications will begin May 1, 2012

Travel and accommodation bursaries are available.

Full Schedule

Course Description UNIV6040

Application Documents

Summer Institute Application (pdf)
Summer Institute Application (word)

Summer Institute Fees (pdf)
Summer Institute Fees (word)

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

– Youth participant, ICASP improvisation workshop