Call for Papers: International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education 2021 Online

We look forward to meeting you all in June 2021, on our digital conference campus! 

As we are all experiencing, albeit in different ways around the world, we live in turbulent—some might say disturbing—times. Economic inequalities, social polarization, cultural diversities, (identity-)political conflicts, and/or illegitimate exercise of power, profoundly affect personal and professional lives, as well as the fields of education and research that the members of our community attend on a daily basis. And, on top of that, the global coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the conditions for and the ways we interact and communicate with our students and colleagues. While the former issues may well be addressed in ISSME papers, the latter has had a direct impact on the framework for the 2021 symposium itself. The current situation means that we have to conduct ISSME 2021 as an online conference. Taking the event online has entailed a certain rethinking of the symposium format, in order to make use of available and accessible digital solutions for presenting, discussing, experiencing, socializing, commenting, exploring, and sharing. The different possibilities are explained below, but regardless of format, we welcome proposals from a broad range of perspectives related to music education and sociology. We encourage presenters to address macro-oriented perspectives as indicated above, at the same time as we are just as happy to welcome proposals that address educators’ and musicians’ everyday reflections on their place in the world at this time of uncertainty and global unrest with the help of sociological theories, constructs, and/or concepts. Not least, it would be of particular interest to shed light on sociological aspects of music education under circumstances characterized by enforced digitalization and home quarantine. 

The ISSME 2021 Online will be held June 21-23, 2021. Information regarding proposal submission, conference registration, and scheduling may soon be obtained from the  ISSME 2021 website. Any immediate questions regarding the conference can be directed to  Petter Dyndahl or  Live Weider Ellefsen. For enquiries about your proposal submission please contact the Review Managers  Anne Jordhus-Lier or  Jennifer Lang

Conference fee: 

Due to the special circumstances, the ISSME 2021 Online will be free of charge for all participants.

Session formats include the following (described in more detail below). 

  • Plenaries: keynote speakers
  • Paper presentations 
  • Lightning talks 
  • Symposia of three to five presenters
  • Roundtable sessions 


Abstracts should be submitted by January 15, 2021. Conference presenters will be notified by March 1, 2021. Once accepted, presenters must commit to submitting their paper/talk by June 1, 2021. 

General information on formats and submission:

ISSME 2021 Online will take place on a digital conference platform that enables both session streaming and video replay, as well as various forms of digital interacting, academically and socially. While Plenaries, Discussions, and Roundtable Sessions are streamed events, Symposia, Paper Presentations, and Lightning Talks should be given in the format of video recordings (for more information on the various formats, see below). The ISSME 2021 Online organizing committee will provide you with instructions and recommendations for user-friendly & free online tools to help you create and submit your presentation.

Presenters should submit abstracts of 300-350 words in length maximum (excluding references) and indicate a preference for session format. Abstracts should be accompanied by a 150-word biography for each presenter. Submissions will be reviewed by a committee of international scholars in the sociology of Music Education. Criteria for acceptance include a clear connection to sociological theory as well as relevance to the fields of music, the arts, and/or education.

  • Plenaries/keynote speakers: In order to achieve common meeting points throughout the symposium, a keynote speaker will be invited every day.
  • Paper presentations: We welcome paper presentations in the format of 20-minute video recordings. The video papers will be made available for participants on the conference website a week before conference opening. All papers will also be assigned a place in the conference program schedule, as with a regular conference. Based on research topics, the papers will be organized in strands of 2-3 videos, all followed by real-time Discussions led by a designated chair. 
  • Lightning talks: For the ISSME 2021 Online, we invite you to make your contribution in the form of a pre-recorded, concise video presentation no longer than 5 minutes. The Lightning talks will be made available for participants on the conference website a week before conference opening. All talks will also be assigned a place in the conference program schedule, as with a regular conference. Presenters and participants will have the opportunity to engage in online discussions about the talks given. 
  • Symposia: Symposia facilitate the presentation and discussion of larger research projects. A Symposium should be a 45-minute pre-recorded presentation, which will be made available for participants on the conference website a week before conference opening. All symposia will also be assigned a place in the conference program schedule, as with a regular conference, and will be followed by a real-time discussion of approximately 30 minutes led by a designated chair. The Symposia participants are responsible for appointing the chair. 
  • Roundtable sessions: presenters will be invited to a real-time round-table discussion with other researchers whose abstracts suggest similar interests. A designated chair will facilitate the conversation. Once accepted, roundtable participants must commit to share with each other an extended abstract/written paper of no more than 5000 words. Each roundtable session is tentatively scheduled for a 45-minute time slot. 

In addition, we will facilitate social and academic interaction: meet-ups, online cafés, “live” music, discussion communities, and chats. We look forward to inviting attendees to online cafés, performances, informal meet-ups, and social events during the conference! Furthermore, we aim to facilitate for participants to establish chat-groups and digital communities dedicated to discussing any topic of their choosing, as well as arranging video meet-ups. 

With a warm welcome,

ISSME 2021 Chair: Professor Petter Dyndahl

ISSME 2021 Conveners: Dr. Live Weider Ellefsen & Dr. Anne Jordhus-Lier

Head of the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences: Professor Ingeborg Lunde Vestad

The local ISSME 2021 committee also consists of the other members of the research group  DYNAMUS – The social dynamics of musical upbringing and schooling in the Norwegian welfare state, as well as support staff from the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Education.