Critiques of Power in the Arts

From 25–27th of April 2024 at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna an international gathering will be held on the topic of Critiques of Power in the Arts, initiated by the Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies in partnership with numerous organizations and individuals.

The topics raised at the gathering will include gender and social inequalities in the worlds of music and performing arts and from the perspective of artistic research, epistemic violence, hierarchies in music education and performance, power in cultural policy and management, critique of decolonization, global asymmetries and identity in crisis.

Special attention will be given to the needs of young researchers, and support to the researchers, artists, and music and performing arts professionals from marginalized communities.

The formats of the event are not only standard academic conference formats, but also include co-creation, discussions, artistic research and experimenting with “unproductive” time or challenging hierarchies.


>> The Global Classroom – Students Seminar

Prior to the international convening, 22–24th of April, the international and interdisciplinary seminar “Critiques and Disruptions of Power in the Arts – A Global Classroom” will take place. This intensive seminar is a large-scale interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein, Germany, University of Michigan’s Department of Entrepreneurship & Leadership and the Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies of the mdw. It aims to offer new opportunities for arts engagement as well as critical thinking for students and the faculty of these three universities and others from different continents globally, as well as new networking possibilities towards the social change in the global cultural sector.

mdw Organizers:
Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies
Administrative Department of Equality, Gender and Diversity
Artistic Research Center
Department of Music Education Research and Practice
Department of Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology
Max Reinhardt Seminar

Programming Board:
Additionally to mdw staff, members of the Programming and Organizing Board of the gathering also come from diverse Austrian and international organizations and backgrounds: Austrian Commission for UNESCO, D/Arts, University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein, University of Michigan, EDUCULT Vienna, University of Arts in Linz, University of Vienna, Technical University Vienna, Brunnenpassage Vienna, Salam Music Vienna, vera*, University of Arts Helsinki, University of Oldenburg, Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen, Leuphana University of Lüneburg or are developing their artistic practice and/or research independently.

mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
Stadt Wien Kultur
Vienna Meeting Fund
Anna Lindh Foundation
European Union


Program of “Critiques of Power in the Arts“:

We are happy to welcome you at the event regardless if you are presenting and participating officially in the program!
This is a valuable networking, learning and listening opportunity and a chance to meet and discuss with colleagues from different countries, institutions, scientific disciplines, artistic fields, and perspectives in a bit different framework and without necessarily speaking on the stage!

Some of the participants in the conference program include:
Antonio C. Cuyler, School of Music, Theatre and Dance, University of Michigan, USA
Aude Florence Bertrand-Höttcke, Zukunftslabor Studium Fundamentale, Universität Witten/Herdecke, Germany
Ayse Kalmaz, Taranta Babu Association, Dortmund / “Third Space Academy”, Germany
Beril Sönmez, Anadolu Kültür, Istanbul, Türkiye
Ensemble Interactivo de la Habana, Cuba
Esra Özmen, Austrian rapper and the leader of the Rap-Choire in Ottakring, Vienna
Jason Otoo, Department of Music and Dance, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Julia Auer, Department of Music Education Research and Practice, mdw, Austria
Keivan Aghamohseni, Department of Music, Faculty of Arts and Architecture, Guilan University, Iran
Helena Nassif, Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy), Beirut, Lebanon
Meike Lettau, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany
Meriam Bousselmi, Institute for Media, Theatre and Popular Culture, University of Hildesheim, Germany
MICA, Music Information Center Austria
Murat Ates, University of Arts Linz, Austria
Nicola Scherer, University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein, Germany
Nuka Alice Lund, cultural practitioner, independent artist and drum dancer, Sisimiut, Greenland
Oleksandra Nenko, University of the Arts (UNIARTS) Helsinki, Finland
Özlem Canyürek, independent cultural policy researcher
Shzr Ee Tan, School of Performing and Digital Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
Tominke Christine Olaniyan, pan Africanist; independent consultant, practitioner, and researcher: migration, health, and inequalities, Nigeria
Ulli Mayer, Administrative Office for Equality, Gender and Diversity mdw, Austria
Višnja Kisić and Goran Tomka, Forest University, Fruška Gora, Serbia,

Throughout the schedule there are even “non-productive” timeslots planned just to rest, think, feel, or get to know someone new.

On the other side, as part of e conference program, a jam session as a joint activity open for all will be facilitated by Salam Music Vienna; lecture performance “Response-ability on Trial” by Epistemic ruptures. Interventions in Art and Science by Petra Sussner, Ivana Pilić, Myassa Kraitt; as well as performance “Mai Ling Soup Bath” curated by Brunnenpassage.

Please let us know during the online registration if you would like to participate in the jam session and if you would bring an instrument or need one.

The lecture performance 'Response-ability on Trial' is a transdisciplinary project which explores the idea of a (legal) Anthropocene in the in-between of academic and art. It challenges academic hierarchies and disciplines by integrating various perspectives on climate litigation, more-than-human legalities, power and hegemony. This approach fosters a collaborative discussion that challenges participants to examine the historical dis_continuities of the (legal) Anthropocene. Thereby 'Response_ability on Trial' prompts critical questions about whose interests are recognized as rights, who has access to rights, who is heard, and whose voices are marginalized. Which idea of a common world is negotiated with whom?

Sharing food has always been a place of kinship, solace, care, and tenderness. Mai Ling Soup Bath invites you to a sensorial and contemplative sound bath, deep meditation, and massage. We will collectively stir up a warm concoction of familiar senses and a brew of edible memories while embodying our past, present, and future. At the end of the session, everyone is invited to share a warm meal together.

Note: registered participants of the conference will be provided tickets for the performances.

20240425 27 Critiques Of Power In The Arts Plakat A2 hd


Useful Information:

English will be used as the main language of the event.

The conference will be held in two rooms at University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna mdw, both barrier-free: Joseph Haydn-Saal and Klangtheater, Anton-von-Webern-Platz 1, 1030 Wien.
The final evening will be organized at Brunnenpassage (barrier-free): Brunnengasse 71, 1160 Vienna.
The event will be held in person only, without livestreaming.
Please register via mdw website prior to the event. Registrations are accepted until capacity is reached.

Thursday April 25th
1pm – 9.30pm

Friday April 26th
9.30am – 9.30pm

Saturday April 27th
9.30am – 9.30

*Organizers reserve the right to introduce small changes in the program.

Book of Abstracts and Book of Proceedings:
Prior to the conference an electronic and printed book of abstracts will be prepared. After the conference, a selection of contributions will be peer-reviewed and published in open access in an international thematic collection, edited by Prof. Dr. Lisa Gaupp and Dr. Özlem Canyürek.

T +43 1 71155-3401