isaScience 2019

Interdisciplinary Conference of mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna


isaScience is mdw's international conference for interdisciplinary research on music and performing arts. We invite scholars, artists, and activists from various disciplinary and cultural backgrounds and academic levels to join our scholarly discourse(s) on isa's annual thematic focus. Since 2013 isaScience is part of isa, the international summer academy of mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria. From 2013 to 2017 Ursula Hemetek and Cornelia Szabó-Knotik organised the conference program.

Organisers of isaScience 2019:
Dagmar Abfalter, Marko Kölbl, Rosa Reitsamer, Fritz Trümpi

Conference date: 7-11 August 2019
Conference venue: Hotel Marienhof,
Hauptstraße 71-73, 2651  Reichenau an der Rax, Austria

Keynote speakers:

William Cheng
Department of Music, Dartmouth College (USA)

Sally-Anne Gross
Music Business Management, Westminster School of Arts (UK)

Rumya S. Putcha
Department of Performance Studies, Texas A&M University (USA)

William Weber
Department of History, California State University Long Beach (USA)



Call for Papers 2019

Just P(l)ay!

Music as Labour

The history of music as labour and music labour markets in particular is characterised by manifold processes of institutionalisation, globalisation, digitalisation and collaborations. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, these processes have steadily increased, involving a range of different actors and institutions such as the music and media industries, music conservatories or community music initiatives that are guided by distinct conventions and shared beliefs (“art worlds”) as well as by frequently conflicting (economic) interests that have also resulted in resistance and power struggles as well as divergent practices. The “production of culture” perspective has been helpful to study these processes with respect to the changing roles of professions and educational institutions, to gatekeepers and to mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.


However, the history of music as labour is also shaped by stark social inequalities based on gender, sexuality, race, class or dis/ability. Subsequently, numerous initiatives such as “Help Musicians UK”, #MeToo or “We Have Voice” have been initiated, fighting discrimination and misconduct and aiming to bring about social change in music labour markets and in broader society. Nonetheless, music remains key for human interactions, often carrying traits of emotional and affective labour. The “affective turn” has drawn attention to the significance of emotions, affect and the body vital for our understanding of music as social and cultural phenomena. In this respect, music can act as e.g. “labour of love”, a technology of identity or enactment of emotion and care, always relying on the human body and its gendered, sexualised and racialized concepts of corporeality.


The conference seeks to address the following three thematic streams and welcomes proposals from any perspective, using any methodology and addressing any kind of music and dance, including the spheres of film and theatre. Topic proposals include but are not limited to:


Music Labour Markets

  • Institutionalisation of musical labour (e.g. laws and regulations; funding; professions; gatekeepers; musicians’ unions; entrepreneurship; etc.)
  • Labour migration/mobility of musicians
  • Music competitions and casting shows in the context of neoliberal changes in society
  • Music education and class in institutionalised settings
  • Labouring in the do-it-yourself music industry
  • Tourism-induced commercialisation of music (e.g. traditional music and dance as paid labour)
  • Non-commercial musical labour and community music


Power Struggles & Political Activism

  • Gendered, racialized and age-related concepts of musical labour
  • Political struggles against precarious working conditions of musicians (e.g. strikes)
  • Queer practices of musical labour
  • Feminist*queer activism fighting gender inequalities, sexual harassment and racism in the music industry (e.g. #MeToo, “We Have Voice”)
  • Musical labour in post-colonial contexts
  • Refugees, migration, diaspora and musical labour


Emotional & Affective Musical Labour

  • Music as “labour of love”
  • Musicians as mood managers
  • Musical labour, sexual availability and sex work
  • Enactments of anger and rebellion in musical performance
  • Corporeality and the embodiment of gender, sexuality and race in musical labour
  • Music as care work (e.g. mourning rituals)
  • Occupational hazards in dancers and for musicians


Abstracts should include (theoretical) background, conceptualisations, methodology and show reference to the conference topic. Please also include a “key word” line.

Please submit your abstracts (max. 300 words) for papers and panels as well as workshops and innovative formats, and a short biography (max. 100 words) and institutional affiliation, in English language until 17 March 2019 to .

Decisions on the acceptance of your proposal will be announced by mid-April 2019.


Marienhof Photo: Stephan Polzer

isaScience Team (l. to r.): Fritz Trümpi, Rosa Reitsamer, Marko Kölbl, Dagmar Abfalter Photo: isaScience Team


isaScience Team 2018, Dagmar Abfalter, Marko Kölbl, Rosa Reitsamer, Fritz Trümpi with Rector Ulrike Sych, Artistic Director of isa Johannes Meissl, and Therese Kaufmann (Research Support) Photo: Julia Kordina


isaScience Book of Abstracts 2018


Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Opening by Rector Mag.a Ulrike Sych, isaScience 2018. Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Chair: phil. Ursula Hemetek Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Chair: ao. Univ.-Prof. Cornelia Szabó-Knotik Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


In discussion (l. to r.): Marko Kölbl, Deborah Wong, Ursula Hemetek Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


In discussion Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Keynote: David Hesmondhalgh Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Keynote: Marsha Siefert Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Keynote: Deborah Wong Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Panel, ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Gerold Gruber. Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Chair: Deborah Wong Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Panelists Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Last day at Schloss Reichenau Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


Our technician Robert Hofmann Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


View from Marienhof Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


View from the Loos Haus Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


View from the Loos Haus Photo: Ferdinand Raditsch


CfP isaScience 2019

Please note:
Extended Deadline 31 March 2019!


Participation in all events of isaScience is open to the public.
For organisational reasons, registration is obligatory. 

Registration fee:
€ 50,-

For a fee waiver please contact the coordination office!

The mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna will cover lunch and coffee breaks. A shuttle service from the train station at Reichenau/Rax to the conference venue will be available free of charge.

Complimentary funding will be available to students and scholars in academic precarity after acceptance of the proposal.

Please email your completed  application form to


Please download the hotel list here: List of recommended hotels

Don't hestitate to contact us for any questions or further information!



mdw - University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
Anton-von-Webern Platz 1
1030 Vienna, Austria

Coordination: Karoline Feyertag


Cell phone: +43 664 88790872                                                                                                  

isaScience since 2013

isaScience18: Participatory Approaches to Music & Democracy Report

isaScience17: Motion - Emotion - Movement, Report, PhD-Day

isaScience16: Drama - Ritual - Cultic Acts

isaScience15: JUBILEE! Music and Cultural Memory

isaScience14:  Zeitenwenden

isaScience13: Skandal!?

How to get to the isaScience 2019?


  • by train from Vienna Central Station (Hauptbahnhof Wien): Trains serve approx. every 30 minutes the destination of Payerbach-Reichenau, travelling time is approx. 1 hour; find your train and ticket here: ÖBB Austrian Railways
  • by car: Highway S6 (arriving from Vienna on the highway A2 or from Graz on the highway A9), take the exit n°17 - Gloggnitz, direction Gloggnitz, then on B27 to Reichenau/Rax
  • by airplane arriving at Vienna International Airport: Trains run from VIE airport to Vienna Central Station or Wiener Neustadt where you have to change the train for Payerbach-Reichenau

The train station for reaching Reichenau/Rax is in Payerbach, both villages ar next to each other and our shuttle busses will connect Payerbach and Reichenau!