Just P(l)ay! Music as Labour
University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Anton-von-Webern-Platz, Vienna
The history of music as labour and music labour markets in particular is characterised by manifold processes of institutionalisation, globalisation, digitalisation and collaborations. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, these processes have steadily increased, involving a range of different actors and institutions such as the music and media industries, music conservatories or community music initiatives that are guided by distinct conventions and shared beliefs (“art worlds”) as well as by frequently conflicting (economic) interests that have also resulted in resistance and power struggles as well as divergent practices. The “production of culture” perspective has been helpful to study these processes with respect to the changing roles of professions and educational institutions, to gatekeepers and to mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.
However, the history of music as labour is also shaped by stark social inequalities based on gender, sexuality, race, class or dis/ability. Subsequently, numerous initiatives such as “Help Musicians UK”, #MeToo or “We Have Voice” have been initiated, fighting discrimination and misconduct and aiming to bring about social change in music labour markets and in broader society. Nonetheless, music remains key for human interactions, often carrying traits of emotional and affective labour. The “affective turn” has drawn attention to the significance of emotions, affect and the body vital for our understanding of music as social and cultural phenomena. In this respect, music can act as e.g. “labour of love”, a technology of identity or enactment of emotion and care, always relying on the human body and its gendered, sexualised and racialized concepts of corporeality.
The conference seeks to address the following three thematic streams and welcomes proposals from any perspective, using any methodology and addressing any kind of music and dance, including the spheres of film and theatre. Topic proposals include but are not limited to: