Singing and the Online World: Call for Abstracts

This call for abstracts is for an edited volume of essays we are proposing as an academic book. Please direct all queries to Brianna Robertson-Kirkland, b.rkirkland@rcs.ac.uk.

In March 2020, most countries around the world were forced into lockdowns, which instigated a change in how people communicate, interact, and even how they live and work. For many, online video-conferencing technologies such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook messenger, Skype, WhatsApp etc. became vital resources in everyday communication, and though all of these platforms had existed previously, none had been designed to cope with such a multitude of online activity. All forms of singing have been especially difficult to facilitate online. While the desire and need to continue vocal performance, teaching and research has swiftly forced the creation of new methods and practices that utilise the online space, it is also important to question issues of accessibility caused by this mass move online.

On the one hand, the online platform has opened up areas of singing practice and research to those who may not have had the means to access in-person activities or physical resources. For example, over the last ten years, there have been creative initiatives devised to help level barriers to access, allowing people with long-term physical and mental health issues, those who live far away, and those with caring responsibilities to engage in singing practice and/or research. Indeed, studies by Jeanette Tamplin (2020), Imogen N. Clark (2018), Shreena Unadkat, and Trish Vella-Burrows (2017) have turned to the online space and digital technology to facilitate singing activities. On the other hand, singing online also presents many unique challenges, arguably imposing just as many, if not more, barriers to access. These include, but are not limited to access to a computer, fast-internet connection, headphones, a recorder, and the skillset and confidence to use video-conferencing and video-editing software. Other challenges could be, engaging in online singing activities while at home, limitations posed by the space or other people, comfort and confidence to engage socially online and so forth. These are just a few of the challenges this edited collection plans to address.

As such, Singing and the Online World aims to interrogate questions of access, considering the mitigations that need to be put in place to facilitate singing practice and research online. We seek papers that discuss, evaluate, and engage with issues of access when utilising the online space for singing practice and research. Please note topics do not have to centre on the Global pandemic and can highlight singing practices and research that utilised the online space before 2020.

Topics may cover but are not limited to:

  • Perceptions of accessibility.
  • Initiatives designed to facilitate online singing activities.
  • Benefits and challenges of interacting online compared to in-person interactions. Interactions might include lessons, masterclasses, choirs, ensembles, children singing activities, singing for health activities etc.
  • Auditory experience of singing online.
  • Psychological, social, demographic and environmental impacts encourage or prevent engaging with online singing activities or research.
  • The importance of developing accessible resources to facilitate singing practice and research.
  • Understanding and interpreting historical materials and/or current research on singing.
  • Initiatives designed to bring singing events into the home via online streaming platforms.
  • Audience responses to streaming events.
  • Accessibility and the streamed event.
  • History and development of online singing

We are particularly interested in research that challenge assumptions regarding accessibility, singing and the online space.

Where did the idea for this collection emerge?

The idea for this collection emerged from the Spheres of Singing online conference held in May 2020. Several papers presented at the conference considered singing practice and research in a variety of ways, but two of the most common themes were accessibility and utilising the online space. We have already approached an academic publisher who is interested in seeing a proposal for this collection.

Abstract Deadline

Please send abstracts of 500 words (maximum) as a PDF or word doc. to b.rkirkland@rcs.ac.uk by 28th February 2021. Please also include a 250-word biography. Final chapter lengths will be between 7000-8000 words (maximum).

Timeline

We will decide on final abstracts by 31st March and these will be included in our proposal (due to be submitted mid-April). If the proposal is contracted, we will be in touch with a final submission deadline for the completed chapter. All enquiries are welcome.