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CFP: Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives Conference

Call for Papers

The fourth biennial Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives Conference

Conference dates: 18-21 July 2017

Deadline for proposals: 15 December 2016

Conference website:

Venue: Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, United Kingdom

Congregational music-making is a vital and vibrant practice within Christian communities worldwide. It reflects, informs, and articulates convictions and concerns that are irreducibly local even as it flows along global networks. The goal of the Christian Congregational Music conference is to expand the avenues of scholarly inquiry into congregational music-making by bringing together world-class scholars and practitioners to explore the varying cultural, social, and spiritual roles music plays in the life of various Christian communities around the world.

Paper proposals on any topic related to the study of congregational music-making will be considered, but we especially welcome papers that explore one or more of the following: 

  • Gender, Sexuality, and the Worshipping Body In what ways do gender and sexuality condition the production and experience of congregational music?  How are these differences constructed, perpetuated, or challenged in musical performance? In what ways does social anxiety around sex and gender condition who is involved in congregational music and how they participate?
  • Soundscapes and Resonant Spaces  How have particular built environments (e.g., concert halls, theatres, public spaces) shaped the sounds of Christian congregations? What do these spaces afford sonically and what do they preclude?  How might considering the broader landscape or soundscape enhance our understanding of congregational music and sound? Perspectives from architecture, cultural geography, and ecomusicology are particularly encouraged.
  • Congregational Music in and as Prayer In congregational worship, music exists alongside a range of other sonic, spoken, internal, textual, material and visual forms through which congregations engage in personal and communal prayer. What role does music play within the wider activity of corporate prayer? How does music facilitate prayer, and in what ways can textless music be considered prayer?
  • Ecumenical and Interfaith Dialogues How does music erect or challenge the boundaries among different Christian traditions, and among Christian music and music of other faiths? How can music promote ecumenical and interfaith relationships and conversations? What insights and approaches can scholars studying Christian communities draw from scholars of other faith traditions?
  • Music and Reformation In marking 500 years since the start of the Protestant Reformation, we welcome new perspectives on the role of music in the Protestant Reformation and counter-Reformation, as well as continuing effects of the Reformation in discourse and practice on music in the present-day. How can studying music challenge or nuance received narratives and historiographical models? What new perspectives can be brought to bear on this much-considered historical moment?
  • Rethinking “Congregation” How have new transportation and communications technologies changed the way Christians gather and understand themselves as congregations? How does gathering in spaces outside local church congregations—from festivals to concerts to online worship environments—influence the production and experience of Christian music-making? How does music work within these spaces to facilitate new modes of congregating?

We are now accepting proposals (maximum 250 words) for individual papers and for organised panels consisting of three papers. The online proposal form can be found on the conference website at Proposals must be received by 15 December 2016. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 31 January 2017, and conference registration will begin on 15 February 2017. Further instructions and information will be made available on the conference website at



Most conference sessions will be held at Ripon College Cuddesdon, a theological college affiliated with the University of Oxford. The college is located seven miles south-east of the Oxford city centre and is accessible by car or bus. This year, we will also take an afternoon excursion to Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.


Fees for conference registration, room and board will be posted in January. Ripon College Cuddesdon has extended reasonable rates to make this conference affordable for domestic and international scholars in various career stages. There are a small number of bursaries available for graduate student presenters. Students interested in being considered for a bursary should tick the box on the paper proposal form.

Conference schedule:

The schedule for the four-day conference maintains a unique balance of presentations from featured speakers, traditional conference panel presentations, and roundtable discussions. A draft conference programme will be available in February 2017 on the conference website.

Featured speakers:

  • Prof. Nancy Ammerman Professor of Sociology Boston University
  • Prof. Jeremy Begbie Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology Duke Divinity School
  • Dr. Sylvia A. Nannyonga-Tamusuza Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology Makerere University
  • Dr. Bettina Varwig Senior Lecturer in Music King’s College London
  • Prof. John Witvliet Professor of Worship, Theology, & Congregational and Ministry Studies Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
  • Dr. Abigail Wood Senior Lecturer, Department of Music University of Haifa

For all programme-related queries, please contact: