Agency in Jazz and Improvisation Conference

Registrations are now open for the Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network‘s conference ‘Agency in Jazz and Improvisation’ hosted in partnership with The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.

When: Friday 2nd June to Sunday 4th June, 2017
Where: Paris Cat Jazz Club, Melbourne, Australia


The Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network (AJIRN) is pleased to announce a call for papers/presentations for a 3-day research conference on jazz and improvised music in association with the 2017 Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF).

Discussion around agency has accumulated in significant research and commentary about jazz and improvisation – particularly in terms of aesthetics, culture and cognition. The thrust of the discussion seems to have moved from assuming the musician has singular agency in his or her work to a more distributed agency where other agents collaborate to create music.

In this conference, we encourage a cross-section of researchers from the field to explore the notion of agency in jazz from multiple perspectives, including:

  • the consequential and inter-related impact of diverse and dynamic agents on creativity and innovation in improvised and experimental jazz;
  • how agency is articulated in the analysis of performance/composition, including for example, identifying methods of analysis appropriate to a particular modality;
  • articulating and accommodating sociological concepts of agency, such as maintaining allegiance to localities in globalised, post-diasporic jazz;
  • How agents and agencies are characterised in performance experimentation;
  • The utilisation of agents and agencies external to the composer, performer and performance; and
  • The contrasting frameworks of musicologists and experimental performers/composers in relation to agency.

The list is by no means either exhaustive or exclusive.

Papers and proposal for presentations that could include live performances are welcome from researchers.

There will be two formats offered:

  1. Presentations/papers of 20 minute followed by 10mins discussion.
  2. Post Graduate presentations/papers of 10 minutes followed by 10 minutes of panel discussion. These papers can be on the topic specific to their research with expert feedback by a panel.

300 word abstracts/proposals and 150 word bios to be submitted by: 3rd April 2017 to before 11:59 pm

Applicants will be informed of their acceptance by 15th April, 2017.

Costs: (Incudes 1 year membership to AJIRN)

Full: $250
Student: $150
(Lunch, morning and afternoon tea are included in registration)


Conference Convener: Associate Professor Robert Burke
Conference Contact, Program Chair: Fiona Burnett

Please contact Fiona Burnett:

AJIRN Executive Committee

Robert Burke (convener) Associate Professor – Monash University, Co-ordinator of Jazz and Popular Music

Fiona Burnett (secretary) University of Melbourne

Christopher Coady  Lecturer in Musicology, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney

Roger Dean  ProfessoraustraLYSIS, MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University

Nick Haywood – Senior Lecturer UTAS

Bruce Johnson  Adjunct Professor, Communications, University of Technology Sydney,  Docent and Visiting Professor, Cultural History, University of Turku Finland,  Visiting Professor, Music, University of Glasgow Scotland

Robert Vincs – Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne