CFP: AMS Music and Disability Study Group, Boston 2019

An embossed grand stave superimposed over Braille notation

The AMS Music & Disability Study Group invites proposals for a special evening panel session at AMS Boston 2019 on “Musicology and Universal Design: Claiming the Consonant, the Dissonant, and the Resonant.”

The concept of “Universal Design” (UD), first coined by architect Ron Mace in 1996, figures prominently in current public discourse on disability as designers, architects, urban planners, and engineers aspire to create more inclusive spaces and objects that better anticipate and accommodate the needs of all bodies. UD avoids stigmatizing and segregating bodies by striving for equity and flexibility of use, and integrates accessibility into all stages of the design process, thereby obviating the need for retrofits. Familiar examples include curb cuts, tactile paving, wheelchair ramps, and beeping crosswalk lights which render the built environment more accessible to those with physical  and sensory disabilities, while Braille and closed-captioning facilitate greater access to visual and aural media. In higher education, “the goals of universal design [sometimes called ‘universal design for learning’] stand in direct contrast to the often nostalgic (and ultimately hierarchical) expression of normativity we see in the repeated calls to re-embrace physical books, pens, and paper,” particularly when combined with the digital humanities, writes scholar and disability advocate Rick Godden.

The musical realm also benefits from the goals of UD. Indeed, Western music encodes what Blake Howe has described as a “corporeal finitude” through everything from scores to instrument design in ways that “enable some bodies, while disabling others.” As such, initiatives like the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a software interface and iOS music App designed for people “with very limited control over voluntary movement to independently engage in music making” integrate the principles of UD to the benefit of musicians with disabilities. Furthermore, the central objective of “public musicology” to “engage general audiences in intellectually-oriented considerations of music… in a way that is approachable and understandable by non-specialists” arguably resonates with some of the objects of UD (Colorado College 2016), evident in resources like The Avid Listener blog, the Trax on the Trail project, or the Vox podcast series, Switched on Pop.

The Universal Design movement is not without its drawbacks, however. As designer-scholar Graham Pullin argues, the types of multimodal interfaces, spaces, and multifunctional platforms sometimes designed to “accommodate as broad a range of uses as possible” risk further excluding by virtue of their complexity. “Different people ultimately have different needs and desires irrespective of their abilities,” writes Pullin (2015). Others lament that UD often masquerades as a totalizing embrace of human diversity, overshadowing the ways accessibility is also race- and class-bound, and constructed along gendered lines as much as it is contingent upon ability. Godden contends, furthermore, that ultimately, “eccentric and extraordinary bodies have the potential to puncture the illusion of the universal that UD champions, disorienting and, more importantly, reorienting how we conceive of access and equality” (2016).

Our session will thus both probe the merits and limits of Universal Design in both theory and praxis at the level of our scholarship, pedagogy, professional outputs, and institutional structures. We invite proposals for presentations that engage with the consonances, dissonances, and resonances of the universal as it is mobilized aurally, visually, and through the multiple ways we feel music. Possible topics might include but are not limited to: instrument and venue design; institutional, pedagogical, and legal frameworks for UD; musical literacy and language (i.e. Braille notation, the Black vernacular, trans rights and gender neutral pronouns, etc.); and the future of publishing. Alternative, creative presentation formats are very welcome!

Abstracts of no more than 350 words should be submitted to disability.and.music@gmail.com by Friday, May 10 Friday, May 31. Please send your proposal as a .pdf with identifying information removed. In the body of the email, please include your name, contact information, and requests for A/V and musical equipment.

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AMS Study Group Election

The AMS Music and Disability Study Group is pleased to introduce the following slate of candidates for election:

Candidates for Chair

Please note: Jeannette D. Jones and Stefan Sunandan Honisch have agreed to run together and serve jointly as co-chairs.

Jeannette D. Jones is graduating this spring from Boston University with her PhD in historical musicology. Her primary research is in music, poetry, and networks in late fifteenth-century France, but she is also active in music and disability studies. She published an essay on music and Deaf culture in the Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies. Jeannette regularly teaches courses on music and disability studies, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, at College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) and Brandeis University (Waltham, MA). Jeannette has been involved with the study group since 2011 and served as a chair of the ad hoc Committee on Accessibility, which served to rewrite the AMS standards of Accessibility. She works as advocate for Accessibility within the AMS, serving on a panel for gender and accessibility at the 2018 national AMS meeting. Jeannette maintains connections with her local Deaf community and with the Deaf musician community.

Stefan Sunandan Honisch is an Associate Fellow at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society. He holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, where he wrote a dissertation examining the critical and popular reception of pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii. Stefan provided the following the candidate statement:

I am excited by the opportunity to put my name forward for the Chair of the AMS Music and Disability Study Group. I bring perspectives shaped by my lived experiences as a disabled musician, researcher, and educator, connecting scholarship to its application in the classroom, teaching studio, and concert hall. Through my multi-faceted engagement with music, education, and disability spanning more than a decade, I have come to recognize that inclusion and access are open-ended processes, neither recipes, nor checklists, but instead, participatory and dialogical.

I look forward to bringing this combination of lived experience and engaged scholarship to addressing cross-disability accessibility in the work of our Study Group, and in the AMS more broadly. It would be a privilege to provide leadership and collaborate with colleagues to submit annual and semiannual reports, facilitate the annual meeting, organize scholarly initiatives, including the evening session at the annual AMS meetings, and find new ways of advocating for inclusion and access for scholars and students with disabilities.

My public scholarship contributions include blog posts for the AMS Music and Disability Study Group, for W.W. Norton’s Avid Listener, and for Public Disability History. I am active on social media platforms that advance Disability Studies pedagogy and scholarship, serving as co-moderator of the Teaching Disability Studies Facebook Group. In addition, I am a member of the Editorial Board of Public Disability History, and a member of the Journal of Teaching Disability Studies Review Board. Connecting scholarship to teaching is central to my work, as demonstrated in the graduate seminar I developed at Uppsala University, and the guest lectures I deliver for undergraduate and graduate seminars, and for survey-style courses.

As Chair of the Study Group, I would include explore possible synergies between the Public Philosophy Journal, for which I serve as a Field Editor on Disability Issues. Building on the Study Group’s previous work, I am interested in supporting capacity-building around the ongoing expansion of the Pedagogy page, drawing on Universal Design for Learning frameworks to promote accessible and inclusive documents for course syllabi, and at conferences. Going further, I would take an active role in providing expanded options for virtual participation in meetings and conferences, to ensure that our colleagues who manage chronic illness, disability, and complex health needs can participate fully in meetings, conferences, and can take up opportunities to serve in AMS in various roles. I would look forward to working with the Editor on developing topical blog series including disability in the academic job market, and technology in the classroom.

I would work with fellow Study Group officers including the Webmaster and Editor to ensure that multimedia posts on the Study group website, as well as links to external content are provided with textual descriptions, are compatible with screen readers, and that the website works towards becoming more neurodiversity inclusive. Toward that end, I would reach out to Study Group members via email to explore internal capacity for launching a supplementary resources page specifically for improving web content accessibility.

I have been actively involved with the Study Group since its inception, and I welcome the chance to build on its exciting and path-breaking interdisciplinary scholarship and pedagogy in serving as Chair.

Candidate for Secretary

Elizabeth McLain is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, where she is writing her dissertation on Olivier Messiaen’s intellectual world and aesthetic agenda in the 1930s under the guidance of Jane F. Fulcher. Her most recent publication, “Messiaen’s L’Ascension: Musical Illumination of Spiritual Texts after the Model of Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystique,” appears in Mystic Modern: The Music, Thought, and Legacy of Charles Tournemire, the most complete volume of Tournemire scholarship to date. McLain has presented conference papers on the subject of Messiaen’s early period, most notably “Dreams of the Soul: Olivier Messiaen’s Nonconformist Catholic Surrealism in Chants de terre et de ciel (1939)” at the Royal Music Association’s Crosscurrents of Music & Theology conference in 2013 and “Resurrection as Transcendence: Nonconformist Ideology in Olivier Messiaen’s Les Corps glorieux (1939)” at the Visions of the Beyond conference at the Southbank Centre in London in 2014.

Candidate for Blog Editor

James Deaville (School for Studies in Art & Culture: Music, Carleton University) is a Musicologist specializing in music, composers and musical practices and institutions of the 19th and 20th centuries, having published and spoken about such diverse topics as Franz Liszt, music criticism, television news music, African-American entertainers in turn-of-the-century Vienna and “fascist” Nordic composers during the Third Reich. He has published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of the Society for American Music, 19th Century Music Review, Echo, Current Musicology, Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft and Canadian University Music Review (among others).

Please cast your votes by March 29!

Call for Officer Nominations

The AMS Music and Disability Study Group is currently accepting nominations for the following officer positions:

Chair: Manages the Study Group; submits annual reports to the AMS Board and semiannual reports to the AMS newsletter; presides over the annual business meeting; organizes the Study Group’s evening session at AMS annual meetings.

Secretary: Records the minutes of the annual business meeting and assists the Chair as needed.

Webmaster: Maintains the Study Group’s webpage, social media accounts, and listserv. Experience with WordPress is desirable.

Blog Editor: Solicits and edits post for the Study Group’s blog. The Blog Editor may also serve as the Webmaster.

Officers serve three­-year, overlapping terms. In the first year, the incoming officer serves jointly with the outgoing officer; in the second year, the officer serves alone; and in the third year, the outgoing officer serves jointly with the incoming officer.

Please submit nominations and self-nominations to disability.and.music@gmail.com no later than Friday, March 8.

P.S. If you are a graduate student working in the area of music and disability studies, we’d like to hear about you! Please send a brief description of your research and/or activist work to disability.and.music@gmail.com.

Events at AMS/SMT 2018

Dear Colleagues,

We are looking forward to connecting with many of you at our joint 2018 AMS/SMT meeting in San Antonio, Texas in a few short days! Below you will find information about our panel session on Thursday, November 1 (8:00-10:00 pm – Texas F), and our joint business meeting on Saturday, November 3 (12:30-2:00 – Travis C/D). Note that our Thursday evening panel session will be streamed live via our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/musicanddisability/.

We would also encourage those interested to attend the Friday morning special session on “Gestural Politics,” which features a presentation by Mel Chen (UC Berkeley) on agitation at the intersection of music, affect, animal studies, disability, and environmentalism (10:45-12:15 – Texas F).

Safe travels and until soon,

Jessica Holmes,
Chair, AMS Music & Disability Study Group

Anabel Maler
Chair, SMT Music & Disability Special Interest Group

Panel at AMS/SMT 2018

Music, Disability, and the Environment:
Bridging Scholarship with Activism

AMS/SMT in San Antonio
Thursday November, 1 – 8:00–10:00 p.m. (Texas F)

Sponsors:
SMT Interest Group on Music & Disability
AMS Music & Disability Study Group
AMS Ecocriticism Study Group

Session Chairs:
Anabel Maler (Indiana University Bloomington)
Chair of the SMT Interest Group on Music and Disability
&
Jessica Holmes (UCLA)
Chair of the AMS Music and Disability Study Group
&
Jacob A. Cohen (Macaulay Honors College, CUNY)
Co-Chair of the AMS Ecocriticism Study Group

Participants:
Chantal Lemire (Western University)
Jessica Schwartz (University of California, Los Angeles)
Ailsa Lipscombe (University of Chicago)
William Robin (University of Maryland)
James Deaville (Carleton University)
Rachel Mundy (Rutgers University-Newark)

Since its inception, disability studies has had strong ties to activism. In her groundbreaking study of the field, Simi Linton situates disability studies as a “juncture that can serve both academic discourse and social change,” a means of holding the academy accountable for the social consequences of our research and teaching (Linton 1998). Similarly, scholars of ecocriticism have insisted that “the urgency of the moment suggests that ecocritics must reflect upon, when it comes to the effectuality of their product, the character and quality of their ecological engagement” (Major and McMurry 2012). Disability studies and ecocriticism also share a critical attention to the built environment, whether as a structure that disables and enables human bodies, or as one that interacts with and integrates into existing ecosystems. Over the last decade, music scholarship on both disability and environmentalism has flourished, contributing to a greater understanding of embodiment, subjectivity, intersectionality, sustainability, and technological mediation in music: disability studies’ and ecocriticism’s common emphasis on activism, inclusive language, and accessibility grounds music scholarship in the social, wedding theory to praxis. Yet rarely have these sub-fields been put into dialogue.

By bringing disability studies, ecocriticism, and music research into new dialogue, this session aims to define our relationship to activism as music scholars involved in personal and/or professional engagement with disability and/or the environment. What are our moral obligations as representatives of “disability and music studies” or “ecomusicology,” and what are the ethical implications of writing about these topics? What tactics can we adopt from on-the-ground grassroots activism? How might we assume the role of public performers as we engage new audiences and new venues beyond academia? How can ecocriticism and disability studies generate new thinking around the human and environmental impact of music’s built-in infrastructures?

In the spirit of public scholarship, we will interrogate how activism can transform the intellectual, methodological, pedagogical, and institutional scope of our disciplines as a matter of un-disciplining. The session will begin with ten-minute lightning talks from our panelists. The session’s panelists represent a diverse range of music specializations and ways of engaging in activism both inside and outside the academy that will enrich existing discourse in musicology and music theory.

Ailsa Lipscombe will discuss how, within medical environments, attentive listening to conversations between the interlocking forces of human, machine, and architecture reveals ways of being and knowing; Jessica Schwartz will present on the role of activism and creative dissent in her research and pedagogy, including a recent course she designed titled “anarcho-musicology: music & anarchism”; William Robin will speak on how Twitter can function as an effective platform for musicologists to amplify activist work; Chantal Lemire will explore the relationship between music pedagogy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with reference to her own experience and others who live with ADHD; James Deaville will discuss his ongoing activism over disability rights on campus; and Rachel Mundy will discuss music’s place in the posthuman and material turn, an intervention in today’s discourse of ethics she calls “the animanities.”

Business Meeting

Saturday, November 3, 12:30-2:00 p.m. (Travis C/D)

SMT Interest Group on Music & Disability
AMS Music & Disability Study Group

1. Introductions (Anabel Maler & Jessica Holmes) (12:30-12:35)

2. Ongoing Projects of the Study Groups (12:35–1:00)

  • Panel “Music, Disability, and the Environment: Bridging Scholarship with Activism” (Jessica & Anabel)
  • Guest Blog update
  • Online bibliography update
  • Accessibility committee
  • Recent & forthcoming publications
  • Pedagogy
  • New AMS Leadership

3. New Business (1:00-1:20)

4. Goals for 2019 (1:20-1:30)

Meeting officially adjourns at 1:30

 

Message from the Chair

Dear MDSG members and followers,

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the summer. I want to take the opportunity to introduce myself as the incoming Chair of the AMS Music and Disability Study Group (MDSG) by way of highlighting upcoming Study Group initiatives ahead of our November 2018 society meeting in San Antonio, Texas. As a scholar of music and disability, I have long benefited from the generous mentorship of the pioneering scholars involved with our Study Group. I am thus honoured to give back through my leadership, and excited to see what the future holds for our group!

First, I want to say a special thank you to my predecessor and outgoing Co-Chair, Samantha Bassler, whose inimitable leadership of our Study Group over many years helped raise the profile of the MDSG within the discipline. I am forever indebted to her for having groomed me for the Chairship, and for her creativity, diligence, shrewd insights, camaraderie, and compassion. We are all grateful to you, Samantha, for your invaluable service, and I am determined to carry out your legacy as I take over the Study Group leadership. We wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and are excited for your continued involvement with our community.

During my tenure as Chair, I am especially keen to forge collaborative ties with other AMS Study Groups. My primary motivation stems from a desire to strengthen the interdisciplinary strands of our collective and individual research expertise in music and disability; fuel the intellectual curiosities of our Study Group’s existing membership; and generate new political and scholarly interest in disability among society members beyond the MDSG core. By way of example, last year’s AMS meeting in Rochester, NY featured a record number of concurrent panel sessions addressing intersectionality vis-à-vis myriad subaltern perspectives including race, gender, sexuality, religion, ecocriticism, and disability. I was encouraged by this timely common attention to intersectionality and diversity. However, I was also concerned that such scheduling conflicts, while often unavoidable, sometimes cause our Study Groups and scholarship to become siloed, despite our shared values and mutual interests. Creating opportunities to explore these points of convergence is all the more vital given what many scholars have observed is disability’s symbolic status relative to other positions of marginality and categories of identity: Tobin Siebers contends (drawing on the work of David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder) that “disability is the master trope of human disqualification, not because disability theory is superior to race, class, or sex/gender theory, but because all oppressive systems function by reducing human variation to deviancy and inferiority defined on the mental and physical plane” (Siebers 2010; Mitchell & Snyder 2000). Disability thus needs to figure equally in discussions on diversity within our society. I am confident that establishing relationships with the other Study Groups will help centralize our scholarship within the discipline, while providing new opportunities for us to grow in our collective understanding of disability and music.

As part of our efforts to foster these connections, I am excited to report that our meeting in San Antonio will feature a special evening panel session on “Music, Disability, and the Environment: Bridging Scholarship with Activism,” co-hosted by the AMS and SMT Music and Disability Study Groups, and the AMS Ecocriticism Study Group. Since its inception, disability studies has had strong ties to activism. In her groundbreaking study of the field, Simi Linton describes disability studies as a “juncture that can serve both academic discourse and social change,” a means of holding the academy accountable for the social consequences of our research and teaching (Linton 1998). Similarly, scholars of ecocriticism have long recognized the need to “reflect upon, when it comes to the effectuality of their product, the character and quality of their ecological engagement” (Major and McMurry 2012). Disability studies and ecocriticism also share a critical attention to the built environment, whether as a structure that disables and enables human bodies, or as one that interacts with and integrates into existing ecosystems. By bringing disability studies, ecocriticism, and music research into new dialogue, the session aims to explore our relationship to activism as music scholars involved in personal and professional engagements with disability and/or the environment, and to generate new thinking around the human and environmental impact of music’s built-in infrastructures. In the coming weeks, I will write a separate post announcing the panel, along with our list of speakers and their presentation topics.

In recent years, our Study Group WordPress site has featured a series of guest blog posts written by members of our community. The blog has been a valuable means through which to learn about the breadth of scholarly and creative work being conducted on music and disability, and has facilitated numerous networking and mentorship opportunities for junior and senior scholars alike. I am pleased to report that we will resume our blog series in the coming weeks, and have several engaging pieces planned for the summer months. The enlisted writers and topics of the upcoming posts reflect a desire on a part of the MDSG leadership to broaden our geographical horizons by liaising with and learning from musicians and scholars undertaking disability-related work beyond Canada, the US, and the UK. I look forward to sharing their exciting work with you in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, please feel free to write me with your ideas, feedback, and/or questions. We are eager to learn about your work, and to know how we can better support you.

With my warmest wishes,
Jessica

Chair,
American Musicological Society Music and Disability Study Group (MDSG)

Jessica HolmesJessica Holmes is a Postdoctoral Fellow of Musicology at the University of California,LosAngeles (UCLA) in the Herb Alpert School of Music. She specializes in music, disability, and embodiment, with notable expertise in deafness and the senses. Her published work on music and disability appears in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Ethnomusicology Review, and Sound Studies. Her book project, Music at the Margins of Sense – under contract with the University of Michigan press for their newly-established “Music & Social Justice” series – engages the misconceptions and stereotypes associated with deafness through the first-hand musical accounts of d/Deaf musicians and listeners in an effort to pluralize existing conceptions of musical expertise. She is currently co-editing a special issue on “Music, Voice, and Disability” for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies (forthcoming 2019). As part of her academic appointment at UCLA, Jessica also teaches methodology courses in musicology, as well as topical courses in music & disability at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

 

CFP: “Music and Physical Disability: From Instrument to Performance”

Web

A Call for Papers and Presentations

​Music & Physical Disability:
From Instrument to Performance


A Conference and Performance Event

On September 7th and 8th 2018, the OHMI Trust, in collaboration with Birmingham City University and Queen Mary University of London, will host a major conference exploring the barriers to music-making faced by people with physical disabilities. The event will also encompass the annual OHMI Competition awards.
 
The conference will bring together current multi-disciplinary research with, among others, the experiences of disabled musicians, teachers, charities, funders, and government agencies. Recently developed instrument designs will also be demonstrated.
 
​The challenge to enable full and undifferentiated participation in music for people with physical impairments is a subject only recently receiving attention. It is hoped that sharing knowledge through this conference will stimulate further and more rapid developments in the coming years.
Venue: The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire – www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire
Dates: September 7th and 8th 2018

Submissions:
 
The conference will interleave research papers with demonstrations and talks from instrument makers, teachers, students and other practitioners. We solicit three types of submission: (i) research presentations, (ii) practitioner presentations (which may include disabled musicians, parents, teachers, and professionals working in the field), and (iii) posters.
 
The conference subject necessarily involves a range of technical, musical, aesthetic, pedagogic, social and medical issues. Submissions may be on any subject that is directly relevant to the conference topic. Reflecting this, it is expected that submissions might address:

  • The adaptation of traditional instruments
  • Accessible digital musical instruments
  • The quality and form of electronic instruments, and their potential for virtuosity
  • Range, types and advances in sensor technologies
  • Human-computer interaction studies
  • Performance studies, and how they relate to people with physical disabilities
  • Pedagogical approaches to working with young people with a disability
  • Pedagogical practices and related issues in musical learning in different age groups
  • Assessment of learning processes, and forms of accreditation
  • Musical learning issues for young people with a physical impairment
  • Early experiences with music, and their consequences
  • Principles of social justice with respect to the barriers and opportunities for musical performance by people with physical disabilities.
  • Inclusion issues for disabled career musicians


Submission Process:

  • Using the forms available at www.ohmi.org.uk/submissions.html,  abstracts of maximum 500 words should be submitted by March 31st 2018
  • As requested on the form, it is essential that each submission state the name of author, contact details, and affiliation (if any).
  • Research papers and posters will be selected through a single blind peer review process
  • Practitioner presentations and posters will be selected by a review panel
  • The programme committee reserves the right to make final decisions about presentation format (talk or poster)
  • Review criteria will be: relevance to the conference subject, originality, clarity, academic rigour (for research papers), and coherence.
  • Each presentation should be no longer than 20 minutes.

Submissions must be received by March 31st 2018. 
Acceptance notifications will be on May 31st.

All selected abstracts will be published in the conference programme. Authors confirm their agreement by submitting their abstract. Following the conference, accepted authors and presenters may be invited to submit papers for publication in an edited book.
 
Registration

Registration date will be announced very soon.

Queries should be sent to admin@ohmi.org.uk