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Accessing jazz and improvised music

Presented by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network
Join Australia’s leading scholars and practitioners of jazz and improvised music to discuss the latest research in the field.

Conference details

Date: 5-6 June 2021
Venue: Online
Registrations: coming soon

Key Information

The 2021 AJIRN conference theme Accessing Jazz and Improvised Music invites participants to consider the networks, infrastructure, physical and ideological barriers, creative problems, privileges, and prejudices musicians and audiences routinely negotiate as they make their way to and through jazz and other improvised music. Inspired in part by the new platforms audiences and musicians have used to connect during the COVID-19 pandemic, this conference seeks to interrogate a spectrum of both physical and metaphorical barriers that have created space between artists, audiences, and researchers, and the bridges that have been built to span these gaps. We encourage participants to consider accessibility in broad terms and from various angles when grappling with the fundamental question of how jazz and other improvised music scenes might better cultivate cultures of inclusivity and respect. 

We welcome proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, and lecture-demonstrations that address this theme. Other topics may also be suitable for inclusion in the conference program. Proposals that fit with the sub-themes presented below are encouraged.


  • New and repurposed technology as a resource for improvisation
  • New media networks and online communities of practice
  • Technologically assisted jazz/improvisation skills development
  • Apps, platforms and websites
  • Developing as a musician in a global online context
  • Utilising online environments as performance spaces
  • Disability and music performance
  • Venue development and sustainability
  • The recording industry, recording as product, and the circulation of recordings
  • Jazz and improvisation in our schools
  • The influence of performance spaces on improvisation and composition
  • Engaging with the natural environment as a performer and composer
  • Practice based methodologies for developing artistry
  • Communities of practice and compositional/improvisational language
  • Arts infrastructure and artistic output
  • Historical and contemporary barriers to inclusion
  • Racialized and/or gendered frames in the analysis of jazz and improvisation
  • Social and political dynamics in diasporic jazz communities
  • Jazz institutions and their biases


This conference will take place entirely online. All papers and lecture recitals need to be recorded in advance. Video files must be sent to by the deadline set out below. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music will stream conference sessions on June 5 and June 6, 2021. Zoom discussion rooms will be utilised for question and answer exchanges with conference presenters immediately following the streaming of their pre-recorded videos. Links to both the conference session streams and Zoom discussion rooms will be provided in the conference program.

Submission Process

We are accepting proposals for the following formats:

  • 20-minute research papers (10-minute Q&A)
  • 20-minute lecture recitals (10-minute Q&A)
  • 10-minute research papers (5-minute Q&A)  Note: We encourage post-graduate students in the early years of their candidature to nominate this format
  • Panel discussions (format can be negotiated with the Program Committee)

If you are interested in submitting a proposal for one of the formats outlined above, please submit as separate word.doc or .docx files, a 250-word abstract (with title) and a 100-word bio to We ask that you use the subject line “AJIRN 2021 Proposal” for this correspondence. Be sure to include in the body of your email a nominated presentation format (selected from the list above), a nominated sub-theme, and, if you are a postgraduate student, a note about the degree in which you are currently enrolled and your current candidature phase (new enrolment, mid-candidature, near completion etc.)

Proposals must be received by 7 February 2021. Consideration of proposals will be completed by 6 March 2021.

If you are accepted to present, we ask that you pre-record your presentation and submit your video file to by 15 May 2021. We cannot guarantee space in the program for any videos submitted after this date.

Concert Proposals

This year AJIRN will be curating a collection of 15-minute pre-recorded concerts that we will stream as part of our conference program. This concert stream will allow participants to collectively watch, applaud, and comment on the musical work taking place across our diverse communities of practice. If you are interested in having a pre-recorded performance streamed as part of the conference program, please submit a Vimeo or YouTube link of your performance to the curation team to Associate Professor Rob Burke and Dr Louise Denson via email: Please include with your link as separate Word .doc or.docx files a 200-word contextualisation of your performance that speaks to its musical innovations and a 100-word bio.

Concert proposals must be received by 7 February 2021.
Consideration of proposals will be completed by 6 March 2021.

Please visit the AJIRN webpage for more information on the Network.

Program Committee

  • Associate Professor Robert Burke, Monash University (AJIRN President)
  • Dr Christopher Coady, University of Sydney (Conference Convenor and Program Committee Chair)
  • Professor Roger Dean, Western Sydney University
  • Dr Louise Denson, Griffith University
  • Dr Joseph Toltz, University of Sydney
  • Dr Aleisha Ward, National Library of New Zealand