Music, Mediation, and Disability: Representation and Access

21–22 November 2020
Proposals due 31 August 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the centrality of mediation—the representation and communication of images and sounds via technology—at the intersections of music and disability. Whether at work behind new technologies of access in a time of crisis or portraying people with disabilities on screen, mediation plays a critical role in the social construction of disability. The current pandemic-driven mediation of music on digitized platforms draws increased attention to access, as demarcations between public and private musical experience are navigated and/or redrawn. 

This renewed focus on mediating modes of musical experience resonates with ongoing scholarly conversations about liveness in performance, space and sonic environments, and qualities of aurality, especially in relation to audiences with diverse perceptual capacities and dis/abilities. It thus raises questions about how mediation shapes musical performance creation and reception, about the effects of live and digitized sonic practices on embodiment, and about the role of new technologies in shaping our social spheres.

With these concerns in mind, we invite a range of proposals for the online symposium “Music, Mediation, and Disability: Representation and Access.” The symposium will feature keynote presentations from Joy Elan and Xuan Thuy Nguyen. Elan is an award-winning author and spoken word artist, who uses her writing to advocate for civil rights for Blacks/people of color, women, and people with disabilities. Nguyen is an Assistant Professor at Carleton University, whose research focuses on women, children, and disability in the Global South. The organizing committee is committed to ensuring accessibility and inclusivity in our symposium programming, and therefore we welcome submissions in multiple formats. Selected contributions will be considered for inclusion in an edited volume. Please submit proposals by 31 August 2020 by visiting our website at

Hosted and sponsored by Carleton University, the symposium is a joint initiative of the AMS Music and Disability Study Group, the SMT Interest Group on Music and Disability, and the SEM Disability and Deaf Studies Special Interest Group.

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