Music in the Psychoanalytic Ear (CFP)

Institute of Musical Research, Senate House Library, London (WC1E 7HU).

Saturday 19th May 2018

Invited speakers: Ann Sloboda, Head of Music Therapy (Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and Psychoanalyst; Dr Kenneth Smith, Musicologist (University of Liverpool); Dr Rosemary Rizq, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Chartered Psychologist and Principal Lecturer (University of Roehampton).

Organisers: Dr Rachel Darnley-Smith (University of Roehampton); Dr Samuel Wilson (Guildhall School of Music and Drama)

A number of scholars in music studies have recently drawn on psychoanalytic ideas to make sense of musical experiences and meaning. At the same time, there are long-established links between music therapy and psychoanalysis; a large number of psychoanalysts, analytic psychotherapists and others working in this ‘talking’ tradition have themselves considered what music might mean in light of their clinical practice. However, despite influencing one another, these disciplines tend to operate independently, with practitioners of each rarely directly engaging those across the disciplinary divides. Musicologists, music therapists, and psychoanalysts have talked about music, but rarely do they speak to one another about music. This IMR research day addresses the need for interdisciplinary dialogue by asking: what can we learn about music when these disciplines begin to speak and listen to one another?

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers that address this question through exploring music and psychoanalysis from musicological, therapeutic, and psychoanalytic perspectives. Please submit proposals (max. 250 words) as pdf or Word documents to s.wilson [at] by the end of Sunday 26th November.

These may address topics including, but not limited to:

  • What might music tell us about psychoanalysis, in both theory and practice?
  • What might psychoanalysis tell us about clinical practice in music?
  • What different ways of knowing music and the mind develop through these disciplines?
  • Do boundaries between these disciplines enable specialist insights? Where and in what terms?
  • Conversely, can boundaries between disciplines impede creative insights and open-ended thinking?

The day will end with a roundtable bringing together invited speakers from musicology, music therapy, and psychoanalysis.

This study day is generously supported by the Institute for Musical Research in association with the School of Advanced Studies, the ResearchWorks Programme at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the Department of Psychology at the University of Roehampton.

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