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Call for Articles: Special Collection of the Open Library of Humanities

Representing Classical Music in the Twenty-First Century

Questions concerning representation are currently at the forefront of public and scholarly debate about classical music. What, and whom, does classical music represent in the twenty-first century? How is it represented in the arts and media? How does representation operate in the classical music industry?

There have been many forward-thinking initiatives in recent years that have cultivated new audiences, diversified programming and ensembles, and experimented with new performance formats and technologies. And yet, perceptions of elitism and archaism in classical music persist (encouraged, perhaps, by the word ‘classical’). Representations in the arts and media help to shape ideas about classical music among its devotees and, more broadly, in the popular imagination, although these representations may not be accurate. To what extent are artistic and media representations of classical music helping or hindering efforts to change industry practices?

This special collection of the Open Library of Humanities will consider contemporary artistic and media representation of classical music (e.g., plays and films depicting classical musicians) as well as representation in the classical music industry. The latter includes representation of classical musicians by agents and record companies; musicians’ self-representations (e.g., on social media); and the demographics of the classical music profession vis-à-vis gender, class, (dis)ability, and ethnicity. Contributors are welcome to focus on one or more aspects of representation. Articles that combine consideration of representation of classical music in the arts or media with consideration of representation in the classical music sector are especially welcome.

Research articles should be approximately 8000 words in length, including references and a short bibliography. Submissions should include:

• Abstract (250 words)

• Full-length article (8000 words)

• Author information (short biographical statement of 200 words)

The deadline for abstract submission is April 15, 2020. Authors of accepted abstracts should submit their articles by October 30, 2020.

The special collection, edited by Dr. Adrian Curtin (University of Exeter) and Dr. Adam Whittaker (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (OLH) (ISSN 2056-6700). The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.

Submissions should be made online at in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as “Representing Classical Music in the Twenty-First Century,” SPECIAL COLLECTION. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received. To learn more about the Open Library of Humanities please visit:

Update, May 2020: The deadline has now passed and we are no longer accepting submissions of abstracts. 

Presenters at the first network event

The first network event will be a one-day symposium for network participants held at the University of Exeter on September 2. The focus of this symposium will be on contemporary representation of classical music in the arts and media.

The following network participants will give presentations:

  • Emilie Capulet, concert pianist, lecturer, musicologist, and writer
  • Carlo Cenciarelli, Lecturer in the School of Music at the University of Cardiff
  • James Cook, Lecturer at the Reid School of Music at the University of Edinburgh
  • Martin Cullingford, Editor of Gramophone magazine
  • Adrian Curtin, Senior Lecturer in the Drama department at the University of Exeter
  • William Gibbons, Associate Professor of Musicology at Texas Christian University
  • Douglas Knight, PhD student in the Music department at Royal Holloway
  • Annabelle Lee, marketing professional, blogger, and podcaster

The participants will prepare short, written previews of their presentations, which will be posted on this blog.

Creative Writer Selected

Dzifa Benson has been selected as the creative writer associated with the research network. Dzifa will develop a script with the working title of Black Mozart and will receive mentorship from playwright Kaite O’Reilly. A reading of Dzifa’s script will be given at a public event in Birmingham in April 2020. Further details to follow.

Find out more about Dzifa here.

Call Out

An emerging BAME and/or disabled creative writer based in the UK is sought to participate in this research network and to write a new script for theatre, radio, television, or film about some aspect of classical music. The purpose of this network is to bring together scholars, industry professionals, and a creative writer to discuss (a) how classical music is currently represented in the arts and media and (b) how the classical music industry is being re-shaped by efforts to diversify its participants and working practices.

The successful applicant will attend a one-day symposium in Exeter in September 2019 and in London in December 2019. S/he will then write a script of about 30 minutes duration that is inspired by one or more of the network’s main themes and, ideally, informed by network discussions. The script does not have to include music and should be written for a small number of actors. The writer will receive professional mentorship from playwright Kaite O’Reilly, who will read a draft of the script and have two Skype or face-to-face meetings with the writer. The script will be given a rehearsed reading, using student actors, during a public network event in Birmingham in April 2020. The writer’s UK travel and accommodation expenses will be covered for the three network events, and they will receive a fee of £1000 (paid in two instalments).

Please include the following elements in your application:

  • A short statement (of no more than 200 words) explaining why you are interested in this project and why you are suitable for it
  • A short pitch (of no more than 200 words) about the script you might write for this project
  • An example of recent work or a link to a website containing examples of previous work
  • Your CV

The successful applicant will be chosen on the basis of the quality of the proposed script idea and their suitability for the project.

Applications should be emailed to Dr. Adrian Curtin () by July 3, 2019