This collective statement is the start of our work together, intended as an initial guiding framework rather than a definitive set-in-stone policy. Feedback, comments, and suggestions are welcome – please get in touch with us at lgbtqmusicsg[at]gmail[dot]com.
The LGBTQ+ Music Study Group was established in 2016 and receives support from professional bodies throughout the UK and Ireland: the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE), the Royal Musical Association (RMA), the Society for Music Analysis (SMA), and the Society for Musicology in Ireland (SMI). The Group’s mission is threefold: 1) to promote academic inquiry into issues of gender and sexuality in the study of music; 2) to create a safe space and support system for LGBTQ+ people within the scholarly community; and 3) to serve as a consulting body for wider issues of diversity and inclusion within music research, education and performance. Aspiring toward a queer politics informed by feminist and decolonizing efforts, our Study Group provides a space for cultivating and developing cutting edge academic, political and social work.
The LGBTQ+ Music Study Group is an active researcher network that encourages critical thinking, academic publications, musical performance, political engagement, outreach and inreach projects and activist interventions. Through symposia, regular reading group meetings, online networks and an active presence at international conferences, we seek to advance academic and public understanding of music in relation to issues including but not limited to those surrounding gender, sexuality, queer theory and feminism, and how they pertain to music. In addition to supporting work that helps dismantle heteronorms and subvert gender binaries, we would especially like to nurture queer scholarship in music studies addressing a broad range of concerns – including the body, geography, family, activism, environment, temporality, physical and mental health and well-being – that intersect issues of gender and sexuality in dialogue with feminist, postcolonial and critical race studies. Not only do we encourage scholars working across sub-disciplinary, disciplinary, institutional and national boundaries, but also those addressing and collaborating with non-academic institutions and wider publics.
The Study Group aspires to create and maintain safe and inclusive spaces for all members of the LGBTQ+ community and welcomes allies and those of us who may not identify as LGBTQ+. Building safe spaces is a complex and ongoing process with ethical and educational implications. Our members are well aware that safe spaces are neither simply given, nor are apparently safe spaces necessarily spaces within which all LGBTQ+ people automatically feel safe. The Study Group therefore strives in particular to create a space that is supportive of those of us who are trans (binary or otherwise) and/or POC, and those of us living with (invisible and visible) disabilities and/or (physical or mental) health issues. Furthermore, those of us who experience discrimination have often acquired much knowledge about the workings of social injustices. A fruitful exchange of such embodied knowledge requires respectful inquiry into others’ and generous sharing of our own stories. Curating safe spaces is thus continual practice informed by attentive listening, reflection on privileges, and mutually supportive building of new perspectives—all defining qualities of successful musical scholarship. Indeed, it is the Study Group’s conviction that safe spaces offer an exciting opportunity for rich learning and engaged pedagogy that can help work toward achieving social justice within musical and musicological arenas.
We look forward to welcoming you to the network and our forthcoming events!