View of the Trent Building across Highfields Lake

RMA 59th Annual Conference

Call for Proposals



Thursday 14-Saturday 16 September 2023




University of Nottingham, University Park campus




Call for Proposals

Deadline: midnight (GMT), Thursday 15th December 2022

The 59th Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Association will be hosted by the University of Nottingham’s Department of Music between Thursday 14th and Saturday 16th September 2023. The conference seeks to promote all aspects of music research, whether expressed in words, notation or sounds. Proposals are welcome from across the spectrum of music studies, including approaches that are historical, creative, practice-based, analytical, theoretical, ethnographic and empirical, examining any genre, style, period, geography or medium. We especially encourage submissions that adopt creative approaches to discipline, methodology or thematic configuration. The Dent Medal Lecture will be given by the recipient for 2022, Professor Mark Burford (Reed College). The Peter le Huray keynote speaker will be Professor Naomi André (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). We anticipate that the conference will take place in-person, but there will also be a hybrid element for those unable to travel.

Submission details

The conference aims to represent the entire range of current musical scholarship and consequently welcomes proposals from scholars and practitioners at all career stages. Presentations are invited in the following formats: 

  • individual papers (20 minutes); 
  • themed sessions and practice-based research workshops of 3-4 papers (90 minutes); 
  • lecture-recitals (30 minutes); 
  • composition-based workshops (90 minutes); 
  • poster presentations. 

Proposals should be submitted through the online submission portal no later than midnight (GMT) on Thursday 15th December 2022.

Submissions should include the following: 

  • Individual papers: an abstract of up to 250 words, including an indication of equipment required.
  • Lecture-recitals: an abstract of up to 250 words, including an indication of equipment required, plus a short video excerpt. 
  • Themed sessions and practice-based research workshops of 3–4 papers: an abstract of up to 250 words for each of the contributions to the session. In addition, a rationale of up to 250 words, which makes clear the session’s purpose, theme and the ways in which the individual contributions relate, both thematically and in terms of organisation and timing (for example, four 15-minute position papers followed by a half-hour discussion). Please include full contact details of the convenor and indicate whether an independent chair will be required and what equipment is needed.
  • Compositions: We are pleased to host rarescale, a duo comprising Carla Rees (flutes) and Sarah Watts (clarinets), as our ensemble-in-residence for the conference. Carla and Sarah are world-leading low instrument specialists. Instruments available include: Rees on piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute or baroque flute; and Watts on clarinet, bass clarinet, basset horn or contrabass clarinet. Submissions are invited for any combination of these instruments with a maximum duration of 8 minutes. Acousmatic composers are invited to submit stereo works that are up to 10 minutes in duration. You should submit programme notes of up to 250 words for the proposed work. Note that given the logistics of the schedule, complex live electronic setups may not be possible.
  • Posters: a statement indicating the title of the project and who will be representing it at the conference, together with one or two sentences about the project, collaborators, partners and backers, as appropriate.

You can submit via the online portal. If you have any problems submitting, then please contact the programme committee at

Assessment of proposals

All proposals will be anonymised prior to assessment. The committee hopes to notify authors of its decision by 31st January 2023. Those selected will be asked to confirm their acceptance and may make revisions to their abstract and (where applicable) timings. The full programme will be announced and booking will open in April 2023. Abstracts will be published on the conference website in July. Nottingham’s Music Department and the RMA are firmly committed to the values of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Respective EDI statements can be found on our websites.


In order to secure speakers with varying academic and professional experience, the programme committee may solicit some proposals for themed sessions, particularly from sibling learned societies, its own study groups, and in significant fields of study it considers under-represented at recent annual conferences. Proposals for individual presentations will be selected on the basis of the proposal’s quality (clarity, sense of purpose, methodology, significance of research findings) and their capacity to fit with other selected individual proposals into a thematically coherent conference session. If a large number of proposals is received, then priority may be given to speakers who did not present at the RMA’s 2022 annual conference. 

All participants (save Dent and Le Huray speakers and designated conference organisers) will need to register and pay the applicable fee. Registration fees are expected to be no more than £75 for RMA members and £90 for non-RMA members, with concessions available at half-price and a discount offered for early-bird registration. You do not have to be an RMA member to propose a session or a paper, or to participate. However, you will find it well worth joining at It will entitle you to a discount on the conference registration fee, free hard-copy and online access to the Journal of the Royal Musical Association and the RMA Research Chronicle, exclusive discounts on a wide range of publishers’ books, professional news and views through RMA bulletins, and much more besides. Enquiries about exhibition space, leafleting, and advertising in the conference programme book are welcome at any time. Further details will be available on this web page in due course.

Conference essentials


Location map (PDF)

Programme Committee


Email the Programme Committee

 Visit the Royal Musical Association website





The University of Nottingham
University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151