International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

2nd Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Performing Arts of Southeast Asia


14 - 19 June 2012

National Commission for Culture and Arts

Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

The 2nd Symposium of the ICTM-PASEA study group will take place at the National Ccommission for Culture and Arts, which is housed in the Intramuros --- the 16th century walled city in Manila.  The papers, panels, lightning presentations by young researchers and video presentations will be based on the themes --- 


In the modern world, local traditions are reconstructed in new and myriad ways that are more intelligible when seen in the context of intense international movements of peoples, ideas, images, technology, and money.  The influx of tourists and foreign workers of all types, the infusion of multi-national capital, and the diffusion of peoples away from the region have all worked to situate Southeast Asia as an important nexus in an increasingly intricate network of global exchange.

In this symposium, we seek to understand the complex pragmatics behind the reconstructions and re-contextualizations of Southeast Asian performing arts traditions vis-a-vis the "here and now". In particular, we aim to interpret the meanings and motivations behind the initiatives of various agencies – from local grassroots communities to formal ideological apparatuses such as government and market institutions – to (re)produce "traditions" at specific times and in particular places in Southeast Asia and the Southeast Asian diaspora.  In this context, we consider the following issues:

Local Identity Formation

How do Southeast Asian communities (re)construct their identity through the performing arts, considering the impact of globalization and new contexts? How do performing artists or culture-bearers mark their distinctiveness amidst change in their environment?

Tourism and Commodification

The influx of tourists and the cultural performances designed for this clientele pose a number of questions relative to the music and dance found throughout the region.  What is the impact of tourism on Southeast Asian performing arts? What are the specific effects of tourism on the culture-bearers and their performing arts traditions? What kinds of subjectivities and identities are forged when folk traditions are "staged" into cultural presentations for tourists?  What is the impact of global production modes and employment patterns on cultural recreation? What is the role of mass media in the process of promoting tourism?  Is there a reduction or re-definition of ritual or religious justification of performances put on for tourists?

Institutionalizing Southeast Asian Performing Arts Traditions in Modern Multi-Cultural Music Education

What political dynamics in Southeast Asia propel the inclusion of local musics into mainstream, often Western-based — or otherwise “modern”— music education? What is the role of governmental and non-governmental cultural initiatives such as the "School for Living Traditions", the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) program and other educational initiatives vis a vis Southeast Asian performing arts?


Focusing on movement arts and their relation to music, dance and theatre, individual papers and panels will focus on ---

Movement arts and the Southeast Asian body, as well as Movement arts, Music, Ritual and Theatre.


Please see our preliminary program and local arrangements at this Study Group’s online site at: under Study Group Symposia click on ‘Symposium 2012’.  We will hear evening performances by a Kalingga group, Madrigal Singers, an Acehnese Saman demonstration, and other concerts. An excursion outside of Manila will take us to Tagaytay & Alfonso to see Tagalog Firewalkers You are invited to join us for a stimulating and enjoyable Symposium.

See you in Manila!