TaPRA 2021, 6-10 Sept, online & co-hosted by Liverpool Hope University, Sound, Voice and Music CfP: Research and Communication Methods

Deadline: Friday 9 April 2021

As is often noted (e.g., Kendrick 2017, Bennett 2019), there has been a boom in research into theatre sound and aurality in recent years. Contemporaneously, voice studies has emerged and flourished as a research field (Thomaidis 2017). Theatre music remains a fertile terrain for scholarship, with research on this topic conducted by theatre scholars and musicologists (e.g., Hibberd 2012, Hambridge & Hicks 2018). We propose to tune into this buzz of activity by focusing our attention on how topics relating to sound, voice, and music in performance are researched and, subsequently, communicated. What research methods are we using and what are our rationales for using them? Are there research methods that are peculiar to our sub-fields or our disciplines? What new methods are being developed? What can specialists in theatre sound, voice studies, and music learn from one another in relation to methodology in particular? Our other major proposed focus of investigation is on how we communicate our findings to scholarly and non-scholarly readers and audiences. How do we articulate research into sonic phenomena that do not necessarily involve verbal language? What is altered in acts of translation? What terminological challenges exist? Do we need to invent or modify vocabulary or use a different register to communicate effectively with other members of our discipline, with other disciplines, and with non-specialist audiences? We invite proposals on the following indicative topics:

  • Theoretical considerations of one or more research methods suitable for researching sound, voice, and/or music in performance
  • Consideration of how historical context and/or subject positionality can inform research methods and modes of communication
  • The transposition or repurposing of a research method between a sub-field or discipline (e.g., a musicological analysis of a theatre performance)
  • Consideration of the efficacy of a research methodology associated with a particular case-study analysis
  • Practice-led research methods (e.g., sounding, voicing, musicking)
  • Issues relating to archives and archiving, and to historiography more generally
  • Research methods appropriate for the analysis of textually inscribed sounds and written music (e.g., plays and scores)
  • Research methods that engage with inter-sensoriality (e.g., the visual aspects of sound-making, aurality, scores, etc.) and spatiality
  • Convergence and contrast in discipline-specific vocabularies and transdisciplinary exploration of terminology
  • Consideration of issues relating to language, discourse, articulation, register, format, audience, and delivery – in other words, of communication as method
In response to the above areas, we invite expressions of interest for:
  • formal papers (up to 20 minutes)*
  • provocations or position statements (up to 10 minutes)
  • practice research (up to 20 minutes) (this could be, for example, in recorded format – but we particularly invite work that can be experienced away from a computer screen, e.g. sound walks)
Additionally, you are welcome to make a proposal for an optional (online) social activity for WG members, which you would organize, lasting between 30-90 minutes. One or more of these activities might take place during the conference. *Papers (2500 words maximum) will be circulated two weeks before the conference. Presenters will give a 5-10 minute synopsis of their paper, which will then be opened up for discussion with panel members (who will be asked to read the papers for each panel in advance) and by the audience for the remainder of each presenter’s 20-minute time-slot.

Process for submitting a proposal

Proposals must be submitted to soundvoicemusic@tapra.org by 23.59 on 9th April 2021.

Please email all abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), an additional few sentences of biographical information and precise details of the audio-visual technology you will need to make your presentation.

Please include an optional 2nd choice of Working Group (this can also include the TaPRA Gallery, where appropriate). If we are unable to accept your proposal, we will then pass it on to your 2nd choice for consideration. Your proposal will not be less likely to be accepted by our Working Group if you indicate a 2nd choice.

Please note: You may only submit a proposal to one working group (or else the PaR Gallery) for this conference, proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.  


We will inform you whether or not your proposal has been accepted as quickly as possible, and will offer brief summary feedback to all proposals that could not be accommodated. If we have passed your proposal on to your 2nd choice of Working Group, we will let you know this as well. Please note that putting together a full draft schedule for the conference is a complex process, and therefore your patience while this process is ongoing, and prompt responses to acceptances are much appreciated. Convenors will have completed their draft schedules by 17th May 2021.

TaPRA Conference 2021 Registration Prices

Full Price Early Bird: £65 + £35 (TaPRA membership) = £100

Concession Early Bird: £33 + £17 (TaPRA membership) = £50

Full Price Standard: £85 + £35 (TaPRA membership) = £120

Concession Standard: £43 + £17 (TaPRA membership) = £60

The registration costs above will pay for digital infrastructure and administrative support for the conference, alongside fees for the keynote speaker and artists contributing to the programme.

Please note: All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event.

Concession definition:

Concession rates apply to all postgraduate researchers, unwaged, unaffiliated, and retired researchers, and staff on contracts of either less than .6FTE or else fixed for less than 12 months. These categories apply to the attendee’s circumstances on the first day of the conference.


There will be up to 10 bursaries available for postgraduate researchers and unaffiliated presenters/contingent faculty. These are highly competitive and so we would encourage everyone who is able to secure institutional support where possible. Each bursary includes a conference fee waiver and one year of TaPRA membership. There is also a separate discretionary fund towards access costs such as digital access, key materials, childcare and so forth. You must submit your application for a bursary at the same time as your proposal to the Working Group (within the same document as your abstract/bio) If applying for a bursary, please include the following:
  • Whether you are applying as a postgraduate researcher OR unaffiliated presenter/contingent faculty
  • A statement of up to 100 words explaining why you are applying for the bursary
  • An indication of any access needs for which you would like to apply to the discretionary fund: what they are and an indication of costs
Decisions about bursaries will be made by Friday 7th May and notifications will be issued by this group shortly after. The criteria for awarding bursaries are:
  1. Quality and strength of submitted abstract.
  2. Strategic case made by the WG conveners outlining the significance of the applicant’s contribution to the WG sessions (connection to advertised theme, methodological approach, expected outcomes).

Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for a TaPRA event. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Participation. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.

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