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CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Opera and/as Activism, Dept of Music, University of York (UK), 12 June 2020

Where opera scholarship has dealt with political issues and cultural critique, it has tended to do so at a temporal distance, thereby insulating itself from the messiness and volatility of the present. Opera practice, on the other hand, has in recent years shown a willingness to engage directly with movements for social justice, broadening inclusion and ameliorating inequalities. With increasing pressure to demonstrate relevance and impact, scholarship and practice are beginning to cooperate on an intersectoral basis, creating an impetus for opera scholarship to engage more boldly with the political here and now.

The Department of Music at the University of York invites papers, position papers, and provocations on the topic of opera and/as activism understood broadly. We are delighted to welcome Professor Naomi André, from the Dept of Afroamerican and African Studies and Dept of Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, as keynote speaker. Naomi is inaugural Scholar-in-Residence at Seattle Opera, where her role ‘involves a series of free, public community conversations that invite audiences to question problematic social themes and portrayals of marginalized communities in opera while appreciating the artistic elements that continue to hold up’ (Gemma Alexander, Seattle Times, 12 February 2020). 

We welcome panel and individual proposals for 15-minute contributions from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, and particularly encourage contributions from opera practitioners and companies. Please send abstracts of up to 200 words as an attachment in Microsoft Word (not containing the author or author’s name) to rachel.cowgill -at- york.ac.uk by 13 March 2020. Proposers will be contacted by 20 March 2020. 

This conference is hosted under the Northern Opera Research Network (NORN), and we encourage delegates to consider combining it with attending the conference entitled ‘“Don't mention the C Word”: Re-assessing the Meaning and Impact of Censorship in Opera', University of Leeds, 11 June 2020 – see separate CFP. 

There will be no registration fee for the conference. Accommodation can be booked on campus at delegates’ own expense: https://yorkconferences.com/franklin-house/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_bOpu-PO5wIVFeDtCh1IRgNPEAAYASAAEgKWnPD_BwE

Travel information – https://www.york.ac.uk/about/maps/

Rachel Cowgill Áine Sheil
Music, University of York
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