Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Music in Canada 2017 Seminar
Dylan Robinson (Queen’s University) and Mary Ingraham (University of Alberta)

Place, Politics, and Cultural Exchange:
Indigenous-Settler Collaborations in Canadian Art Music

May 28, 2017
Canadian Music Centre, Toronto

We are pleased to announce an upcoming seminar of the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Music in Canada Research Group (IPMC), held in conjunction with MusCan, Congress, and Canada’s 150th anniversary. As a combined venture between the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, the Institute for Canadian Music, and the Canadian Music Centre, this seminar grows out of a three year SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (Mary Ingraham, Dylan Robinson, Robin Elliott; see which played a part in the production or study of three works with three different collaborative teams across Canada. Following on those projects, this year’s theme, Place, Politics, and Cultural Exchange: Indigenous-Settler Collaboration in Canadian Art Music, explores the social efficacy of cross-cultural creative partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous sonic practitioners in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s “Calls to Action.”

Scholars like Glen Coulthard and Dylan Robinson have been critical of discourses of “reconciliation” and “recognition,” and David Garneau recently warned that settlers eager to be Indigenous allies “must be cautious not to replace a Truth and Reconciliation model or models of quality framed by standards of colonialism and whiteness” (Garneau 2016). Developing these critiques and concerns from a musicological perspective, we propose that it is important to consider collaboration not purely as a model of social harmony, but as an opportunity for productive critique of Indigenous-settler methods and epistemologies—that is, to consider musicological and art musical methods of “conciliation” rather than reconciliation (Garneau). As such, we invite proposals for presentation at this IPMC seminar that offer interdisciplinary commentary on the potential and pitfalls of Indigenous-settler collaboration in musical and sonic arts, centered on, but not limited to:

  • Social and political efficacy of collaborations between Indigenous and settler art music creators and communities in Canada;
  • Conflicts or resonances between Indigenous and settler epistemologies and ontologies of art, genre, performance, place and location, “works”, etc;
  • Considerations of the dialogic and multivalent nature of collaboration as a pressing issue in Canadian culture in the twenty-first century;
  • Reflections on the (non)viability of art music as a medium for addressing contemporary issues of Indigenous-settler relations in Canada in the wake of the TRC and Idle No More;
  • Questions of settler/colonial alliance, solidarity, and conflict
  • Reflections on the TRC’s arts engagement: What forms can (re)conciliation take in the arts, and specifically in “art music”?;
  • Successes and failures—as well as conceptions—of “collaborative” relationships historically (concepts of “Treaty,” for example) and contemporaneously (the possibility and value of artistic collaboration);
  • Reevaluating problematic historical relationships between Canadian composers and Indigenous people and representations of Indigenous people or sounds in Canadian music.

We invite 500-word proposals for essays (up to 7500 words). Contributions in other formats—poetry, manifestos, dialogues, interviews—are also encouraged. The final format of this one-day event will be determined by the nature of the projects considered for inclusion.

Please submit proposals by December 15, 2016 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jeremy Strachan (Cornell University) and Patrick Nickleson (University of Toronto),organizers

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