International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

26th ICTM Colloquium: Songs and Stories of Migration and Encounter (9-12 October 2019 – Cape Breton Island, Canada)

Songs and musical practices are often part of the experiences of migration whether through narrativizing, memorializing, or as a mode of expression, social interaction, knowledge-sharing, or otherwise. In this ICTM Colloquium, we aim to learn about the roles and experiences of indigenous groups as part of a broader context of mobility and migration and recent transnational movements of people and music cultures. The Colloquium is hosted by the Centre for Sound Communities, an arts-led social innovation lab at Cape Breton University. It builds upon ongoing intergenerational community-engaged, practice-based research that explores local histories and experiences of migration and encounter – extending the local place-based project by creating a space for scholarly dialogue on the musical dynamics of migration and encounter in communities around the world.

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Caption: Photos of “Songs and Stories of Migration and Encounter” collaborative research activities in Membertou First Nation, Canada where some of our ICTM Colloquium sessions will also be held in Oct. 2019 (M. Ostashewski)

Some questions we will engage in the Colloquium include: To what extent are musical subjectivities constituted by and constitutive of creative worlds in motion? In what ways does migration shape compositional strategies and musical senses of place? How do mobility systems––from pathways, to waterways, to railways, to roadways––enable or constrain musical agency? What are the influences of migration on musical imaginaries, relations, practices and lived experience? How does musical (or sound) praxis/life/activity shape the social life and experience of migration? In which ways music affects relationships between those who move and those who are left, or choose to remain, behind? In the process of problematizing the interplay of mobilities and musical life (and livelihoods), we also aim to bring intersections of post-colonial and globalization theory into focus.

Performances, receptions, ceremonial and recreational events and activities will include an official welcome and dialogue with local indigenous leaders and culture-bearers in Membertou First Nation, and participatory cultural events. These events will take place in community centres and public libraries around Cape Breton Island as well as in the Centre for Sound Communities on the Cape Breton University campus. Sessions will be hosted at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s and in the Acadian town of Cheticamp, where a public concert featuring Acadian, Gaelic and Ukrainian music will also be held. An evening in Menelik Hall in the small city of Sydney, a cultural centre for Nova Scotians of African ancestry, includes a special presentation by Jamaican-born historian and dub poet, Dr. Afua Cooper.

ICTM defines its Colloquia as "small scholarly meetings typically involving 20 to 30 invited ICTM members who have conducted research on the Colloquium's theme." This Colloquium brings together 17 scholars speaking about musics in as many communities around the world, including those in virtual spaces. Programme Committee members include Svanibor Pettan, Kaley Mason and Marcia Ostashewski. Local Arrangements are led by Marcia Ostashewski (Director, Centre for Sound Communities) and facilitated by community partners. Keynote addresses at the Colloquium will be delivered by Tina Ramnarine, Alex Chavez and Christina Leza. Colloquium participants include: Gage Averill, Melissa Bilal, Julia Byl, Stephanie Conn, Meghan Forsyth, Alisha Jones, Rehanna Kheshgi, Kaley Mason, Ameera Nimjee, Marcia Ostashewski, Svanibor Pettan, Huib Schippers, Gabriel Solis, Yoshitaka Terada. A sister symposium on the same theme will be held at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada on 25 October 2019. It will include a keynote by John Carlos-Perea, presentations by faculty from a number of disciplines all of whom are engaged in research on immigration, graduate students in ethnomusicology, and a public concert featuring three local African music bands. 

For updates on this ICTM Colloquium, check the Centre for Sound Communities website and the colloquium's websiteIf you are interested in participating as an observer at the Colloquium, or have other questions pertaining to the event, please contact us via email at