Music, Hope and Reimagining Society: the role of music in thinking around Utopia
BFE-RMA-SMI Study Day
Friday 16th June 2023
School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
Whether it be in response to the climate and ecological crisis, geopolitical instability, the pandemic, societal inequalities and injustices, attempts to reimagine society emerge as ever urgent, stirring respective currents in public discourses. There are a growing number of public-funded initiatives or grassroots collaborative movements that orientate their activities towards making room for re-imagining society, aspiring to realize people’s hopes for a better present and future. Two such projects within the UK are, for instance, the National Lottery Community Fund’s ‘Growing Great Ideas’ or ‘Civic Square’ in Birmingham’s ‘Department of Dreams.’
Focusing on musicking, studies have highlighted the decisive role that music can play in imagining utopias (see Levitas, 2010), in fostering social change by means of disrupting established ways of being (see Turino 2016), or in constituting alternative modes of (political) belonging (see Stokes 2018). However, there is much more to be explored regarding the modes in which musicking fosters reinvention. Scholars across diverse disciplines, practitioners, sound-artists and composers all engaging with music in so many different ways, need more insights into the explicit and tacit ways in which musicking contributes to envisioning utopias. Sharing each one’s specific knowledge based on their practice and discipline-scope will enable a broader understanding of the topic.
This study day will explore and expand the field of scholarship concerning the study of music and the imaginary reconstitution of society.