Call for Proposals to Participate in the Symposium:

Klang in der Stadt: Music in middle-European Cities

17-18 November 2022 – Palais Meran Kunst Universität Graz.

Abstract submission page:

The word ‘folk’ is most often used to describe the traditional art or culture of a community, or more recently, a nation. A folk culture is associated with particular ground - the culture of a community of people in a specific place, the beginnings of which likely reaches back beyond living memory. In many places the term folk is associated with the rural.
            Cities, however, are primarily filled with people who have come from elsewhere, even if they have crossed no national borders to get there. This means that the musics associated with the ‘ground’ of a city inevitably include (transplanted and re-imagined) the ‘folk’ cultures of many different places. At the same time, the urban ‘folk’ musics heard in the city gradually become part of the city - integral to its culture and an essential part of what gives the city life.
            This symposium takes as its primary focus the musical worlds of Central European urban areas, places that have long been sites of cultural intersection and where recent migration and refugee flows have generated significant and rapid change in urban demographics, community composition, and identities. One of the keynote addresses will be delivered by ethnomusicologist Kay Kaufmann Shelemay (Harvard University). A Stammtisch event with musicians from around Graz will be held on 17 November, and on 18 November the Canorum Styriae prizes, awarded by the Steirisches Volksliedwerk, will be awarded for outstanding scientific research in the field of musical folk culture in the Alpine region.
            This symposium is one in the biennial series of events co-hosted by the Steirisches Volksliedwerk and the Institute for Ethnomusicology at Kunstuniversität Graz. This year the Symposium has a third sponsoring institution, the Private Pädagogische Hochschule Augustinum. The academic symposium will take place concurrently with workshops and training opportunities for primary and middle school teachers. (Information for teachers interested in participating in workshops can be found here:

We propose the following questions as themes for the symposium:

  • How do rural music cultures change when they move to urban areas?
  • Do music communities become more or less open in urban contexts?
  • Is it still ‘folk’ music if it is played or sung in a city such as Graz?
  • Is it still (insert country or region here) music, if it is played in in a city such as Graz?
  • Is interaction with other music communities in urban areas helpful for sustainability of either?
  • Do, or how do, urban music communities stay in contact with communities ‘back home’ whether ‘home’ is a rural area nearby or in another country.
  • How do urban music communities contribute to developing a sense of being at ‘home’?
  • Does the urban context generate opportunities for cross-cultural engagement? 
  • How do children with a migration background experience (and sing) the sounds and songs of their (grand)parents' homeland?
  • Similarly, how do those same children perceive the music of their new homeland?
  • What part do/can folk musics have today in schools?
  • What is the place of folk music in teacher education in the 21st century?
  • How can the teaching of music employing songs and sounds from all over the world succeed in schools in inclusive and cosmopolitan lessons in a polycultural exchange?

Your abstract, in either English or German, should be no more than 300 words long. Please submit the title of your proposed talk, your name, a short bio, and your email address to our EasyChair conference site located here:  Please contact Sarah Weiss sarah.weiss(at)  for questions in English or Florian Wimmer Florian.Wimmer(at) for questions in German.

19 April 2022 – Call for proposals issued
24 June 2022 – Submission deadline
Early July 2022 – Notification
17-18 November 2022 – Symposium and Workshops/Training Programs (concurrent)
18 November 2022 – Presentation of the Canorum Styriae prizes.

Download the Call for Papers as PDF.