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Materiality and the Meaning of Musical Instruments

27-30 June 2024, Oxford
Call for Papers
Bate Collection/Galpin Society conference

The Organising Committee invites proposals for presentations based on original research in any field and discoveries relating to the history, design, construction, function, and use of musical instruments in any culture and from any period. Papers on topics related to the theme of the conference, Materiality and the Meaning of Musical Instruments, will be especially welcome, but offers of papers on other musical instrument topics are also acceptable.

Our theme encompasses instruments, the people who interact with them, and the contexts of their use. We want to explore the stories that surround the physical objects, and the entanglement between people and things in different cultures. Through presentations in various formats we aim to provide a platform for discussing the many and varied ways in which societies invest these instruments with meaning, and how these meanings might be drawn from and reflected in their material forms.

Within this 4-day conference, panels on Friday 28th June will be organised in partnership with the Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels as part of their Mahillon centenary conference, Mahillon and his Time. Likewise, on Saturday 29th June a panel will be organised in partnership with the Musical Instruments Resources Network. Please see their respective calls for papers if you would like to propose a paper for one of these strands.

How to submit a proposal

We are willing to support a range of possible formats, please mention any preferences or technical requirements in your proposal. Please complete the form at to submit your proposal by Monday 15 January 2024. You will need to submit a title, an abstract (300 words), and a biography (100 words). You will be notified of the outcome by 29 February 2024.

Please subscribe to our email list for general updates about the conference by sending a blank email

Enquiries may be addressed to but please submit proposals via the form linked above.


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Mercredi 29 Novembre, 2023