From 25 to 27 April 2024, the mdw will be hosting an international event centred on “Critiques of Power in the Arts” initiated by the Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies in collaboration with numerous organisations and individuals. The individual topics to be covered include epistemic violence, hierarchies in the arts, power in cultural policy and management, global asymmetries, identity in crisis, and gender-specific and social inequalities in the world of music and the performing arts at large. The formats included in this event go beyond those typical of academic conferences to encompass co-creation, workshops, artistic research, and experimentation with “unproductive” time, with spaces, and with challenging hierarchies.

Independent of whether one moderates and/or participates in some official capacity, this event represents a valuable opportunity to network, learn, and listen as well as to meet colleagues from various countries, organisations, academic disciplines, artistic fields, and perspectives in a somewhat different context than otherwise, to discuss, and to engage in musical exchange in a collaborative, non-competitive, and genre-crossing jam session.

© Master1305/shutterstock, bearb. mdw

Prior to the conference itself, 22–24 April will see students from the mdw, the University of Michigan, the Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, and further (arts) universities on various continents around the world come together with international teachers to discuss new possibilities of artistic engagement, critical thinking, and networking for social change in the global cultural realm.

In both the seminar and the ensuing conference, special attention will be paid to the needs of young researchers as well as to making available support for artists from marginalised communities. These individuals, who are typically unable to take part in such international events due to the various processes of exclusion that are in place worldwide, will be taking part thanks to scholarships made available by the mdw, the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna, the Vienna Meeting Fund, and the Anna Lindh Foundation with co-funding from the EU and fundraising services provided by EDUCULT Wien. A contribution will also come from higher registration fees paid by those capable of paying more than the cost of their own participation; after all, it is well known how we are living in times where radical global inequalities and exclusionary processes are as severe as ever and, in fact, growing even more severe. In the cultural realm, as elsewhere, the structural gap that exists in line with discrimination, sexism, racism, classism, ableism, etc. has grown even more clear and more drastic. But at the same time, we are also experiencing a phenomenon of growing solidarity that, with a critical eye towards power, is putting up resistance to these drastic and growing inequalities and searching for different ways in which to handle established practices.

This aspiration to “do things differently” also inhabits the present encounter’s formatting. In order to pluralise decision-making power, the event’s programme was co-curated together with a network of critical friends from the realms of research and practice in order to challenge the constructed yet firmly established boundaries between areas such as theory and practice, research and art, the Global North and the Global South, etc. from inter-, trans-, and multidisciplinary perspectives. Over the past 18 months, various contributions have been made to the quality, diversity, and relevance of this conference’s content and form by the programme committee’s approximately 40 members—many of whom, alongside individuals from various mdw organisational units and departments (Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies, Department of Music Education Research and Practice, Artistic Research Center, Administrative Department for Equality, Gender Studies and Diversity, Department of Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology, Max Reinhardt Seminar – Department of Drama), are teachers at various (arts) universities in Europe and farther afield, individuals, and/or members of various Austrian cultural organisations.

Co-curation as such does not, of course, mean that all of these perspectives match those of the IKM team but instead offers possible ways of driving forward that decolonial project which is so urgently needed in this world of increasing social inequalities, doing so on the basis of a plurality of differing and sometimes contradictory, opposing, and ambiguous ideas in the programme.

Further Infos

  • on the program
  • registration
  • Those interested in taking part in the international and interdisciplinary seminar from 22-24 April are asked to indicate their interest in an e-mail to

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