Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice: A SSHRC MCRI Research Project
Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 2007-2008
We are pleased to launch our newly awarded MCRI research project with a postdoctoral fellowship program for 2007-2008. We invite applications of postdoctoral researchers for residential fellowships at the University of Guelph, McGill University, or Université de Montréal (in association with the Centre de recherche en éthique).
Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice
This research project plays a leading role in defining a new field of interdisciplinary inquiry. It brings together a dynamic international research team with a demonstrated track record in grant management and student training, and it fosters innovative partnerships with community-based organizations. Outcomes will range across a wide spectrum of electronic, broadcast, and print media, with a focus on policy-oriented and community-facing impacts. The project will have a significant effect on how research is done and how its results are implemented and disseminated, both within and beyond the academy. In addition to public discourse and scholarly publication, our work highlights collaboration with arts presenters, educators, and policy makers to ensure the broadest possible impact on Canadian society.
The project’s core hypothesis is that musical improvisation is a crucial model for political, cultural, and ethical dialogue and action. Taking as a point of departure performance practices from post-1960s jazz and creative improvised music that cannot readily be scripted, predicted, or compelled into orthodoxy, we argue that the innovative working models of improvisation developed by creative practitioners have helped to promote a dynamic exchange of cultural forms, and to encourage new, socially responsive forms of community building across national, cultural, and artistic boundaries. Improvisation, in short, has much to tell us about the ways in which communities based on such forms are politically and materially pertinent to envisioning and sounding alternative ways of knowing and being in the world. Improvisation demands shared responsibility for participation in community, an ability to negotiate differences, and a willingness to accept the challenges of risk and contingency. Furthermore, in an era when diverse peoples and communities of interest struggle to forge historically new forms of affiliation across cultural divides, the participatory and civic virtues of engagement, dialogue, respect, and community-building inculcated through improvisatory practices take on a particular urgency.
Our postdoctoral fellowships, funded through the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) program at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), support the most promising new scholars in the emerging interdisciplinary field of critical studies in improvisation, and assist them in establishing a research base at an important time in their research careers.
Our project seeks to contribute to interdisciplinary research and graduate training in this emerging field. We encourage applications from researchers working in the principal research areas related to our project: music, cultural studies, political studies, sociology and anthropology, English studies, theatre and performance studies, French studies, law, philosophy, and communications. We also welcome applications from different research areas, inasmuch as their research has a direct link with the social, cultural, or political implications of improvised musical practices.
We are particularly interested in critically informed interdisciplinary research proposals that are prompted by the theory and practice of contemporary improvised music and its related social implications. Our research program seeks to create a climate of genuine intellectual excitement where scholars pursue research projects and participate in collaborative research activities as part of a broader network of critical practice. Postdoctoral fellows will be expected to participate in project seminars, institutes, and annual colloquia, and will benefit from the stimulating intellectual environment provided by both our extensive and inter-institutional research network and our wide range of community partners. Postdoctoral fellows will play an active role in planning the activities and research of the project.
Our postdoctoral fellowships provide stipendiary support to recent Ph.D. graduates who are undertaking original research, publishing research findings, and developing and expanding personal research networks.
Fellowships will normally be awarded to candidates affiliated with a university other than that which awarded the Ph.D.
Value and Duration
Our SSHRC funded MCRI Postdoctoral Fellowships are valued at $31,500 CDN per year. These are non-renewable fellowships, tenable for a 12 month period beginning in September 2007.
Eligibility, Application, and Deadline
Applicants are invited to submit a research proposal focusing on the social implications (broadly construed) of improvised musical practices. Successful candidates will be chosen on the basis of a rigorous and open nation-wide process of application, with our project's management team serving as the selection committee. Criteria for selection are the quality and originality of the proposed research, the fit with our project's overall mandate and objectives, the candidate's record of scholarly achievement, and his/her ability to benefit from the activities associated with our project. Postdoctoral fellows will receive competitive research stipends, logistical assistance for relocation, office space equipped with state-of-the-art computers, access to the services of the host institution (library, etc), and administrative, placement, and research assistance as needed. In return, fellows are expected to pursue the research project submitted in their application, to participate in our project’s research activities (colloquia, seminars, institutes), and to present their work in progress in the context of our project’s seminars and workshops.
Applicants should have completed a Ph.D. at the time of application (to be conferred by 1 November 2007). The completed application package should be received by no later than April 30, 2007.
Electronic applications are welcome, provided that original hard copies of transcripts and reference letters are submitted. Notification date: June 2007.
Applicants must submit all of the following by April 30th, 2007:
One scholarly paper or publication written in the course of the last three years;
A statement (1,500 words or less) describing the proposed research project;
Two confidential letters of reference (sent directly to us before the deadline);
Postmark deadline is April 30th, 2007. Send applications to:
Dr. Ajay Heble, Project Director
Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice
School of English and Theatre Studies
University of Guelph