bandeau_actu musicologie

Musical Nationbuilding and Cultural Exchange in Interwar France and Australia

2-3 August 2024, Melbourne
Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne

The interwar period in both Europe and Australia was a fascinating and crucial time for the re-building and reconsideration of national identity. Reeling from the trauma of the Great War, negotiating postwar transitions, surviving the Depression of the 1930s, and hurtling towards yet another world war, all had an impact on cultural life and, in particular, the development of national identity through musical means.

Musical nationalism and musical nationbuilding, however, have often been examined within the boundaries of national paradigms. This symposium aims to treat musical nationbuilding (and re-building) processes as the result of contact and tension with other nations rather than phenomena that emerge and develop in isolation. The focus on France and Australia offers the opportunity to examine differing modes of national identity formation, contrasting a nation with an established identity under threat, with a young nation in the process of developing an independent identity. Our intention is to solicit papers that consider cultural exchange between:

France and Australia; OR

France and other nations; OR

Australia and other nations

We want to consider the central question: How did transnational musical exchange affect attempts at national identity formation in France and/or Australia?

Possible themes include (but are not limited to):

Exchange of performers, musical objects (eg. scores, recordings), musical ideas, musical instruments and how this might interact with nationbuilding processes

How musical exchange processes might have been impacted by shifting international relations post-WWI.

How the musical world dealt with tensions between internationalist efforts and nationalist aims, and the conflicting ideas of music as a national/universal art.

Attempts (successful or not) to rebuild pre-war musical cultures in postwar societies

The effect of the impending World War II on musical exchange and musical encounters

Musical networks and their interaction with the development of national musical identities

The contribution of the press to discussions and debates around music, cultural exchange and national identity

Keynote speaker: Barbara Kelly, University of Leeds

Dates: 2-3 August, 2024

Location: Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne

Proposals: Proposals should be in the form of a 250-word abstract emailed to. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2024. Presentation format is a 20-minute paper with 10-minute Q&A.

Conference Committee: Rachel Orzech, Kerry Murphy, Madeline Roycroft.


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