International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Minutes of the 1st Assembly of ICTM Study Group Chairs

Held at the Kazakh National University of the Arts, Astana, Kazakhstan, on 17 July 2015.

Chair: Svanibor Pettan, Secretary General.

In attendance: Ardian Ahmedaja (Multipart Music), Mohd Anis Md Nor (Performing Arts of Southeast Asia), Samuel Araújo (Applied Ethnomusicology), Zdravko Blažeković (Iconography of the Performing Arts, Music Archaeology), Salwa El-Shawan Castelo‐Branco (ICTM President) Leonardo D’Amico (Audiovisual Ethnomusicology), Ruth Davis (Mediterranean Music Studies), Catherine Foley (Ethnochoreology), Michael Frishkopf (Music in the Arab World), Susanne Fürniss (Historical Sources of Traditional Music), Kirsty Gillespie (Music and Dance of Oceania), Barbara L. Hampton (Music and Gender), Patricia Opondo (African Musics), Svanibor Pettan (Secretary General), Velika Stojkova Serafimovska (Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe), Razia Sultanova (Music of the Turkic‐speaking World), J. Lawrence Witzleben (Musics of East Asia), Don Niles (Chair of Executive Board Committee for Study Groups) Carlos Yoder (Executive Assistant).

Opening of the meeting

  1. The Chair opened the Assembly at 17:07, welcomed the Study Group Chairs (or their appointed representatives), and explained the significance of the meeting.
  2. He outlined the genesis of Study Groups within the International Folk Music Council, observing that the first Study Groups had started from the dissatisfaction felt by some members when IFMC conferences would dedicate too little time to discuss their particular research interests.

Minutes of previous meeting

  1. As it was the inaugural meeting of Study Group Chairs, there were no minutes to discuss, or business arising.


  1. The Chair briefly introduced the participants. The only Study Groups which were not represented at the meeting were those on Maqām, Music and Minorities, Musical Instruments, and Musics of the Slavic World.

Oral reports by representatives

[Editor’s note: the following reports were abridged and sorted by Study Group name, for space and readability reasons, respectively. To learn more about the activities of ICTM Study Groups, see their respective webpages and the Reports section of past, present, and future issues of the Bulletin of the ICTM]

  1. African Musics: Opondo reported on the history of the Study Group since its foundation in 2009. She outlined the challenges they’ve experienced in terms of funding, coordination, and publishing of proceedings. She thanked the Secretariat for the assistance in running their recent elections.
  2. Applied Ethnomusicology: Araújo summarized the history of the Study Group, and announced that their next symposium would be in Cape Breton, Canada, in 2016. He added that Secretary Britta Sweers had started a bibliographical compilation which would be displayed at the Study Group’s webpage.
  3. Audiovisual Ethnomusicology: D’Amico summarized the origins of the Study Group, and his recent appointment as Chair. The Study Group’s first symposium would take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in August 2016.
  4. Ethnochoreology: Foley discussed the organization of the Study Group (e.g., members, symposia, Sub-Study Groups, committees, publications), highlighting that members constituted a close-knit community. The next symposium would take place on 9-16 July 2016 in Graz, Austria.
  5. Historical Sources of Traditional Music: Fürniss summarized the history of the Study Group, and described its present situation and challenges. She considered that the most important task for the future would be to recruit members from outside Europe, to hold a symposium outside Europe, and to hold a joint symposium with another Study Group.
  6. Iconography of Performing Arts: Blažeković explained the Study Group’s policy of organizing alternating large- and small-scale symposia. He announced that they were already planning the next four symposia.
  7. Mediterranean Music Studies: Davis introduced the history of the Study Group. She announced that their next symposium would probably be jointly held with the Mediterranean Section of the International Musicological Society.
  8. Multipart Music: Ahmedaja summarized the history of the Study Group. He announced that proceedings for two of its three past symposia had been published, and that their next symposium would be in 2016 in Singapore, highlighting the importance of holding a meeting outside Europe.
  9. Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe: Stojkova Serafimovska explained that the Study Group was of great importance to the region, because it had managed to re-establish scholarly bonds severed during the war in the 1990s. Their next symposium would be in 2016 in Bulgaria. She added that their symposium themes have been conducive to the organization of joint symposia.
  10. Music and Dance of Oceania: Gillespie discussed the origins of the Study Group, and how changes in its object of study had been reflected in the Study Group’s name. She announced that their next symposium would be in Guam in 2016, and that options to publish electronically, to minimize expenses, were being explored.
  11. Music and Gender: Hampton summarized the establishment of the Study Group, which was initially to be on “Women in Music”. She announced that their next symposium would held in Bern, Switzlernd, in July 2016.
  12. Music Archaeology: Blažeković commented that the Study Group Chair (Adje Both, who was not present in Astana and had named Blažeković as his representative at the meeting) had started a new publishing house, Ekho Verlag, which had been releasing the Study Group’s publications.
  13. Music in the Arab World: Frishkopf announced that the possibility to hold joint symposia with related SEM interest groups was being explored.
  14. Music of the Turkic-speaking World: Sultanova reported that their next symposium would be held in Almaty in 2016, where they will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Study Group’s foundation.
  15. Musics of East Asia. Witzleben, one of the founders of the Study Group, explained its origins, development, and current situation. He expressed that requiring symposium presenters to be ICTM members in good standing had been a controversial issue, and asked whether ICTM could subsidize the activities of Study Groups.
  16. Performing Arts of Southeast Asia: Anis explained the origins of the Study Group, the organization of their biennial symposia, and how they aim to release symposium proceedings in time to be presented at World Conferences. He added that the Study Group is willing to organize joint symposia with other Study Groups, and to coordinate joint publications.

Business arising from Executive Board meetings of interest to the attendees

  1. Niles communicated the work of the Executive Board Committee on Study Groups, which he chairs. He mentioned the revision of the Memorandum on Study Groups Memo, and encouraged all present to study it well and ask questions, if needed.
  2. In reference to the 70th anniversary of the Council, Niles communicated the Executive Board’s wish to have a complete list of ICTM publications available online, also including publications by Study Groups.
  3. The Chair informed that a new electronic, open-access publication series had been recently approved by the Executive Board. The peer-reviewed series would have a strong focus on the work done by Study Groups. A special‐purpose committee was created, chaired by Stephen Wild.

Discussion of issues of operations

  1. Pettan stated that different levels of formality exist within ICTM Study Groups, largely depending on the managerial style of each Chair.
  2. In regards to the coordination of symposia, the Secretary General asked the attendees to consult with both the Secretariat and each other (using the private Study Groups’ mailing list) to avoid as much as possible the organization of multiple symposia at the same time.
  3. The availability of a document defining terminology was discussed, and it was agreed that scholarly meetings of ICTM Study Groups are to be called “symposia”, and that non-topical sub‐divisions of Study Groups should be called “branches”.
  4. Finally, the attendees agreed in principle to standardize the look and contents of Study Group websites. The Secretariat would produce a template which would be distributed later on to all Study Group chairs.

Discussion of issues of governance

  1. In the past year the Secretariat assisted the Study Groups on African Musics, Applied Ethnomusicology, and Music of the Turkic‐speaking World with the running of their elections. The experience was considered positive in terms of confidentiality, transparency, and speed.
  2. Pettan encouraged all present to send updated lists of Study Group members to the Secretariat, to better manage their activities. He also mentioned that the Secretariat had the ability to create dedicated mailing lists for Study Groups, allowing members an efficient way to communicate with each other.
  3. Finally, Pettan and Castelo-Branco stated that every ICTM member in good standing should be allowed to join any number of Study Groups.

Other business

  1. The attendees agreed that having special Study Group booths at the Exhibition Room had been a positive initiative, and that the practice should be continued in future conferences.
  2. The Secretary General  mentioned that many countries (especially in Africa and Oceania) were lacking official ICTM representation, and he encouraged all to propose good candidates to continue expanding the Council’s representation.
  3. A question sent to the Secretariat by Klisala Harrison (Chair of the Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology) was read: she wondered whether the Council would be in a position to financially support the activities of Study Groups, and if so, how. Pettan replied that new special-purpose funds had been recently created, and that the needs of Study Groups would be accommodated as much as possible.
  4. Discussion continued regarding whether Study Groups should collect their own membership fees, and it was agreed that it would not be advisable. However, a consensus was reached that charging fees for attending symposia (and in that way supporting the publication of proceedings) was a practice which should be encouraged.
  5. Finally, Anis asked every Study Group to make one to two theme suggestions for the next World Conference.


  1. The meeting was adjourned at 18:45.