TaPRA 2022, 12–14 September, University of Essex, Sound, Voice and Music Working Group CfP: Shifting Subjectivities

Deadline: Friday 1 April 2022

Building on the working group’s most recent conference explorations (research and communication methods in 2020 and 2021; listening across in 2019), and responding to the global context of the past two years, we invite colleagues to wonder with us about digital and technologically mediated approaches to sounding, voicing, music-making and listening. In particular, we are interested in the models and experiences of subjectivities and intersubjectivities made possible by online and digital performance and archiving of sound, voice and music. How do digital and online spaces offer particular sonic/vocal/musical performances of identities? How can sound/voice/music offer different modes, flows and models of sociality, interactivity and agency? (Leeker, Schipper and Beyes, 2017). How might we attend to Susan Kozel’s observation that ‘if bodies and technology are seen…as flows of energy or intensity or as fluid dynamics, then there is ground for collaboration’? (Kozel, 2008). Forms of ‘intra-action’ (Barad, 2003) between humans and non-humans have been accelerated by a global health pandemic. Lives were further enmeshed in wider processes of techno-social production and control (McKenzie, 2001), enmeshed in algorithms and data. Yet many were reconnected with experiences of the natural world and its rhythms. In these times, how did practices of sound, voice and music allay fears/anxieties, express hope or beauty, help us to grieve? What forms of protest and dissent were afforded by digital modes of sound, music and voice? How has our participation in and reception of digital and technologically-mediated sound, voice and music changed over the past two years? How are our aural/sonic identities shifting as a result of the increased emphasis on domestic and everyday transmission (in bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms) and reception (through laptop and phone speakers) of sound necessitated by lockdown and home-working? Equally, we are thinking about ways in which the blooming of digital connectivities and inclusions has yielded new ways of listening and interacting which are now finding form offline and in public space. How might these formal shifts in authorship and collectivity be remaking or reconfiguring theatre and performance in new ways? How does the porosity of the digital encourage crossovers between audience and participant? Are such shifts and crossovers articulating a re-consideration of the boundaries of performance and embodiment in relation to consent, immersion and the senses? In this call, we are keen to respond to the current plans for a mixed mode (online/in-person) conference in Essex, and to think with and into potential sharpenings, disruptions or distortions of presence and proximity, absence, distance and mediation. With this in mind, we encourage colleagues to consider digital practices as forms and methodologies for the sharing of work, as well as in terms of the opportunities on offer in relation to digital qualities of sounding, voicing, music-making and listening. Finally, while we acknowledge the wide-ranging area of digital performance, we simultaneously seek to engage with a range of historical lenses, contexts, approaches and/or methodologies in relation to this topic, thinking through how sound, voice and music have been mediated differently by technologies preceding the digital, and/or how these are re-mediated through digitisation. We invite proposals on the following indicative topics:

  • Performances of subjectivities/intersubjectivities through sound, voice, music and/or listening
  • Relationship between digital and earlier forms of technologically mediated sound and music
  • Theoretical and/or historical and/or practical considerations of the digital in relation to sound, voice and/or music in performance
  • Digital approaches to sounding, voicing, music-making and/or listening (e.g. digital musicology; ASMR)
  • Pandemic-specific relationships between or approaches to the digital and sound/voice/music/listening (e.g. online communication)
  • Online professional and amateur music-making in households during the pandemic
  • Online audiences, digital participation and reception, togetherness and isolation
  • Digital or technologically mediated pedagogy for voice, sound-making, music-making
  • Digital accessibilities and/or exclusions
  • Digital intersectionalities
  • Sounding, voicing and listening to/with/through digital, posthuman and cyborgian bodies
In response to the above areas, we invite proposals from researchers and practitioners across disciplines (for example, theatre and performance studies, musicology, music technology, sound art, design, performance and dance). Possible forms/formats include:
  • formal papers (up to 20 minutes)*
  • provocations or position statements (up to 10 minutes)
  • practice research (up to 20 minutes)
Additionally, you are welcome to make a proposal for an optional (online, in-person, hybrid) social or workshop activity for WG members, which you would organize, lasting between 30 and 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.

Conference structure

The 2022 annual TaPRA conference at the University of Essex will be a hybrid event, facilitating participation by online delegates alongside those attending in-person. The 2021 TaPRA conference demonstrated the many benefits of online conferencing; increased opportunity for international presenters, lower financial costs to participate, greater accessibility for those with caring responsibilities etc. The 2022 conference at Essex aims to retain the wider opportunities for engagement that online platforms offer, whilst also creating a space for in-person engagement and social interaction. In the event of a cancellation of in-person conference activities due to, for instance, COVID restrictions, the event would run entirely online and all registered in person delegates would be offered the opportunity to attend as online delegates, with the difference between in-person and online registration fees refunded.

Process for submitting a proposal

Please email abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), and an additional few sentences of biographical information to the Working Group Convenors (soundvoicemusic@tapra.org) by 23.59 on 1 April 2022. IMPORTANT: Please indicate at the point of submission if you intend to attend the conference in person or online. This information is vital so that the conference organisers can effectively plan the infrastructure for the event and Working Group Convenors can schedule panel sessions effectively. You should also indicate if you have any specific requirements relating to space or AV technology as part of this submission. 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.

Timescale

Working Group Convenors will inform you whether or not your proposal has been accepted as quickly as possible and by no later than 22nd April 2022. Convenors will offer brief summary feedback to all proposals that could not be accommodated. ​​Please note that putting together a full draft schedule for the conference is a complex process, particularly as all sessions will need to be accessible to delegates attending in person and online. Therefore your patience while this process is ongoing, and prompt responses to acceptances, are much appreciated. Convenors will have completed their draft schedules by the end of May 2022.

Conference costs

The early bird registration fee will be: £220 – standard in person attendance £120 – concession in person attendance £88 – online attendance £48 – online concession attendance Prices will increase to the following after 24th June 2022: £250 – standard in person attendance £150 – concession in person attendance £100 – online attendance £60 – online concession attendance All of the above conference fees include TaPRA membership for one year (£35 standard / £17 concession) starting 12th September 2022. ​On-campus ​conference accommodation will cost no more than £55 per night. The conference dinner will cost £45. There will also be an opportunity to donate towards a conference dinner fund for unwaged/unaffiliated colleagues and postgraduate researchers. Please note: All presenters must be registered for the conference by 15th July 2022; this includes those presenting online. Numbers for in-person attendance will be more limited in 2022 than previous years so we advise early booking. If you have registered for in person attendance and find yourself unable to attend you will be able to access the conference as an online delegate but will not be eligible for a refund. Concession definition: Concession rates apply to all postgraduate researchers, unwaged, unaffiliated, and retired researchers, and staff on contracts of either less than 0.6FTE or else fixed for less than 12 months. These categories apply to the attendee’s circumstances on the first day of the conference.

Bursaries

There will be up to 14 bursaries (one per working group) 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 expenses and access costs such as travel, accommodation, digital access, childcare and so forth up to a maximum of £300 (justified and costed) per applicant. 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 outline of any expenses/access needs for which you would like to apply to the discretionary fund: what they are and costs
Decisions about bursaries will be made by 6th May and notifications will be issued 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). Conveners in each working group will consider applications according to the criteria above and will nominate one applicant to put forward for a bursary. Final decisions about awards, including requests for expenses and access costs, will be made by the TaPRA Executive Committee.

TaPRA at the University of Essex

For the 2022 conference, the Working Group sessions and Keynote talks will be located in the Essex Business School (EBS) on the Colchester campus; the UK’s first zero-carbon business school building, which features an indoor winter garden (https://www.eventessex.co.uk/portfolio/the-essex-business-school/). Working Group sessions will take place in Zoom-enabled lecture-room and classroom spaces in EBS, with live-streamed keynotes delivered from two large cutting edge Lecture Auditoriums. Live performance will be hosted at Essex’s on-campus Lakeside Theatre (https://lakesidetheatre.org.uk), which also has facilities to stream performances for those attending online. While the Practice-as-Research Gallery will be hosted in Essex’s iconic brutalist building, The Hexagon (https://www.eventessex.co.uk/portfolio/the-hexagon/), which sits in the heart of the University’s Green Flag Award-winning campus (https://www.essex.ac.uk/news/2021/10/13/green-flag-award-2021). The conference will have technical support from Essex’s AVS team, with training sessions provided for Working Group convenors in advance of the conference to support the delivery of blended WG sessions to mixed rooms of in-person/online delegates. For those in-person delegates who wish to attend the conference meal, food will be served in the Garden Suite of Wivenhoe House, a beautiful 18th Century four-star hotel on campus (in walking distance of the Essex Business School). This hotel/restaurant is near the quayside village of Wivenhoe, and minutes away from Britain’s oldest recorded town, Colchester (https://www.wivenhoehouse.co.uk). The meal will be followed by a live DJ set after dinner.

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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