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Music, Mobility and Migration: exhibiting the life and movement of migrant musicians.

Updated: Dec 14, 2022


Artwork by Giada Peterle, 2022 (Instagram@narrativegeographies)


We invite academic researchers and practitioners to attend a workshop ‘study day’ on the theme of Music, Mobility and Migration: exhibiting the life and movement of migrant musicians. The workshop will take place in person at the Royal College of Music on January 27th 2023.


This workshop centres around the new Music, Migration and Mobility exhibition which will launch at the Royal College of Music from January 2023. The exhibition follows from an AHRC-funded project on the musical lives of mobile and migrant musicians who escaped Nazi occupied Europe to Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. These individuals navigated musical culture and institutions in Britain, and at times faced prejudice, exclusion and even detention (find out more about the project here: https://www.rcm.ac.uk/singingasong/). The workshop goes behind the scenes of the exhibition and explores its narrative, spatial and material construction. It will raise crucial ethical, political and social issues around how we tell stories of migration and mobility, especially how memory, objects, narrative and audience come together. We will discuss the tensions of design, intent and narrative authority, and we will examine how the materials and spatial organisation of museum and digital spaces can be used and experimented with in order to explore the tensions and politics of mobility, migration and music.


The workshop will be structured around talks, informal discussions, visiting and interpreting the museum, and a special panel with museum and collections curators on the topic of music and migration. Panellists include representatives from the Horniman Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Museum of London, the Royal College of Music and the Museum of Geography at the University of Padua.


We invite academics in fields such as musicology, cultural geography, mobility and migration studies, and museum studies, as well as museum, collections and heritage practitioners to attend.


We will prioritise applications from early career, fixed term and postgraduate researchers whose travel costs can be met by funding from a UKRI Connecting Mobilities research grant which has funded a programme of events and activities between the Royal Holloway Centre for the Geohumanities, the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University, the Centre for Transport and Mobility at Aberystwyth University, and the Academy of Mobility Humanities at Konkuk University, Seoul. For reasons of capacity and in order to be conducive to dialogue, the workshop will be small in scale, and we expect to accept a maximum of 20 attendees. Funded places will be offered first to UK researchers. Lunch and refreshments will also be provided.


Applicants are asked to apply to Peter Adey (peter.adey@rhul.ac.uk) with a very short biography (no more than 150 words) or a link to their webpage, an indication as to how their interests align with the aims of the day (in a few sentences), and an estimation of travel costs. The deadline for applications is Friday 6th January.

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