Every year in the middle of summer we organize Sappyfest as a staging ground for connection, conversation, and creative brilliance. As an artist- and community-run not-for-profit festival of independent music and art we are involved in ongoing conversations about the health, history, conditions, and environment in which this creative work is made.

As artists and performers, we meet at festivals and performance venues across the country. In too many situations we are underpaid, overworked, and disorganized, often pressured into participating in cultural projects we don’t believe in. Why, at the site of beauty and creative labour, are there so many experiences of suffering, scarcity, and competition? How can we share information and help each other out? Perhaps it is time that we take ourselves seriously by meeting with this expressed purpose.


Over the course of 3 days (July 28 – July 30) preceding Sappyfest 15 we plan to converge in Sackville, NB upon the unceded ancestral lands of the Mi’kmaw people, as musicians and music labourers for a gathering of minds and music, the IRL: MUSIC LABOUR SUMMIT.

Occasion will be given for speakers to present research about the cultural, historical and/or epistemological contexts in which they make their work. Presenters and attendees will listen, discuss and strategize. There will be conversation and there will be music. By examining the context in which our cultural activity is taking place we can begin to move collectively towards more sustainable, healthy, positive and generative ways of creating and living as artists. We hope to establish a network of music and cultural workers, and begin to build a shared body of research.

This is a call for presentation proposals. Later there will be a call for registration for those interested in attending.

We are accepting proposals for presentations about anything to do with history, labour contexts, and music. Presentations can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, and should be researched. They don’t have to be academic in any way, but they should be the result of earnest inquiry into your topic.

We’re interested in things like: How are you working in your community? How do you experience your labour context and why do you think it exists in that way? How do you experience sound and music?

The following examples of topics are given as potential areas of interest and are not meant to be directly prescriptive.
– Settler Colonial structures and how they impact music making
– Racism and apartheid in Canadian music and beyond
– Beyond representation: the oversimplification of gender and racial segregation in music
– The influence of private and public funding models on the process and results of creative practices
– Funding policies and the environment: How do music funders influence our environmental practices?
– Technocracy: What’s our music working for when it’s streaming?
– Survey of the different presentations of music work, within nations or internationally

For more information, and details on how to submit a proposal, please visit http://www.sappyfest.com/summit

This project is an experiment, and our first attempt at organizing a meeting of this kind. This conference was proposed by musicians Simone Schmidt and Nick Dourado, and is being organized with the assistance of Steven Lambke (musican/Sappyfest Creative Director).

PLEASE CONTACT US if you have any questions or concerns about this submission process. We’re here for it.

In Real Life.


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