isaScience 2022

  • General Information

    isaScience is mdw’s international conference for interdisciplinary research on music and performing arts. We invite scholars, artists, and activists from various disciplinary backgrounds and academic levels to join the discourse on isa’s annual thematic focus. Since 2013 isaScience is part of isa, the international summer academy of mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria.

    isaScience 2022 takes place from 31 August to 4 September 2022 at Hotel Marienhof in Reichenau/Rax as well as online.

    • A shuttle service from the train station at Payerbach-Reichenau to the conference venue is available free of charge.
    • Complimentary funding is again be available for students and scholars in academic precarity upon acceptance of the proposal and application (if they are able to travel to Reichenau/Rax according to Covid-19 global travel restrictions in effect in August/September 2022). For applications please download the complimentary funding application form and send it to

    For further information please contact

    Link to facebook-page of isaScience

  • Registration

    Registration to the isaScience conference 2022 is free of charge.

    Click here to register for isaScience 2022

    • Registration for online participation is open from May to 31 August 2022.
    • Registration for on site participation is open from May to 31 July 2022.

    For further information please contact


    Data protection declaration (short version)

    If you are participating in a meeting via Zoom, you will be visible with your registered name and, in case of having enabled the camera, your picture. If you are participating in the discussion actively with a comment, under use of the microphone function, you are going to be heard and seen by all participants live. The lecture only shall be recorded, not however the discussions thereafter, which will only be available in the live stream. Video and audio recordings of the lecture will be produced for purposes of documentation and information of mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (mdw).

    The recording becomes part of the entire meeting records and is going to be permanently accessible to the general public in the media section of mdw (at present: mdwMediathek). Other possible uses include e.g. publication of a transcript or of a video documentation of the meeting series. Please consult our detailed data protection information (in German:  Please see in particular clause 1.4 Webconferencing-Tools and clause 4.5. Bild- und Tonaufnahmen).

    If you do not want to be part of the recording, please use a pseudonym for participation in the Zoom lecture and do not enable camera or microphone functions while using Zoom. Those are deactivated by default by mdw in its capacity as host. An active participation in the discussion is only possible after activation of those functionalities.

    I have read the data protection information.

  • Programme isaScience 2022

    Norms and Routines in Cultural Practice


    Please find the programme details here:



     →Download the programme folder (A4 printable)

    → Download the programme overview (A3 printable)

    →Download the Book of Abstracts (forthcoming)

    The programme is subject to change.

    Please check the technical requirements for your online-participation!

  • Call for Papers 2022

    Norms and Routines in Cultural Practice


     →Download Call for Papers


    Cultural practices rely on routines, whether consciously habituated through effortful practice or ingrained as habitual actions. These practices are shaped, perceived, and received by norms – pertaining to the bodies involved, aesthetic paradigms, locations, historical contexts, societal and economic valuation. Norms and routines thereby tend to perpetuate hegemonic structures and power relations, classifying groups and individuals within confined identities. Through the lens of “un/learning”, isaScience 2022 invites you to critically examine these dynamics and the impetus for change.

    In discourses on emancipatory and decolonising processes and in struggles against imposed forms of expression, unlearning has recently been highlighted by scholars and practitioners alike as the basis for substantial transformation. The potential of unlearning also applies to paradigm shifts and the renewal of critical frameworks in scholarship, as becomes apparent in recent reconsiderations within research on cultural practices. Calling out the colonial, racist, and gendered logics of disciplines like ethnomusicology (Brown 2020, Tan 2021), music theory (Ewell 2020, Hisama 2021), and music history (Morrison 2019) entails more than conventional canon critique. Since the foundations of music research itself are shaken, radical reinventions of disciplinary fields and epistemological traditions are in demand. But how exactly might these be achieved? What strategies, techniques, and technologies help facilitate these processes? And what might be lost in undoing established models of analytical and historiographical work?

    Such considerations are equally relevant in artistic practice. Western classical art music, for example, depends on normative standards of musical excellence as well as class-based and racialised expectations towards personas and performances. What would an unlearning of these habitual codes lead to? Globally circulating forms of popular music often sell a seemingly disruptive potential in contesting social norms while following the very logic of economic marketability. What are the dialectics between norms and the non-normative in popular music practice? Around the globe, imaginaries of routine and heritage inform practices of traditional music, often justifying “traditional” norms, such as cultural identity, religious virtue, gender behaviour, and sexual morals, while at the same time traditional musics are omitted, deemed unworthy of cultural recognition. How, then, do sonic signifiers of traditionality gain potential in countering cultural canons and geopolitical hegemonies? Performative arts and diverse musical cultures are essentially based on repeated practice and gradual training of embodiment as the foundation for constant (re)production and (re)enactment, yet many creative pursuits are compelled by the desire for change and renewal. How can we mediate between these poles?

    Established concepts are also embedded in the design of (musical) instruments and technologies (Walden 2019). Defamiliarisation might, therefore, require us to reconceive the material and immaterial interfaces of the objects that performers interact with and the normalising models that they impose onto their users. How does the (material) infrastructure of the performing arts determine inclusion and exclusion in cultural participation?

    The disruption or irritation of routines plays an essential role in various artistic practices, not least in interventions in public spaces, which aim to make prevailing norms visible, question knowledge incorporated through routines, and thus provoke social change (Klein 2012; Sachs Olsen 2020). What techniques do artists or researchers use when they aim to challenge established patterns of action and to subvert predominant norms? Which concepts of un/learning do such interventions rely upon? How might they be applied to a revisiting of familiar spaces, for instance, in listening to cities? How does the understanding of spaces themselves change when approached through different methodological and sensory perspectives, such as soundscape studies or sonic ethnographies?

    Beyond the focus on artistic practices, this conference also sheds light on the broader dynamics of un/learning in societal and cultural relations. Around the world, cultural practices are measured by reference to Eurocentric norms – often unmarked and seemingly universal. How do routines of the Global North foster implicit norms and dictate logics and aesthetics of cultural interaction? How might un/learning relate to decentring or provincializing Europe (Chakrabarty 2000) in order to break cultural norms and routines and dismantle imperialist structures?

    What is the relevance of rituals and routines in cultural practices for groups and individuals in precarious situations, for example, in the context of forced migration? How can un/learning and aesthetic agency mitigate the experience of disrupted everyday practices? The establishment of new routines of living and working in exile and diaspora evolves within the complex fields of tension between political and legal conditions and everyday racism, between cultural agency and precariousness, between (infra)structures of solidarity and restrictive border regimes (Ataç/Rygiel/Stierl 2021; Kubaczek/Mokre 2021; Picozza 2021).

    Finally, the conference seeks to scrutinise certain prevailing (symbolic) economies in the performing arts and other cultural and societal spheres, such as the ritualised awarding of prizes and publication of rankings (Buckerman 2020; Heintz 2018). These practices create a peculiar “economy of prestige” (English 2008) based on contingent normative assumptions and worldviews. What effects do these practices have? How do they shape social reality and (re)produce inequalities? And how can these routines and the related reward systems be challenged?

    We welcome proposals from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives – from Dance Research to Cultural Sociology, from Musicology to Media Studies, from Queer Theory to Ethnomusicology. Contributions can include paper presentations (20 minutes plus discussion), panels, lecture performances, workshops, and innovative formats.

    Abstracts should include theoretical framework, methodology and a “keyword” line.

    Please submit your abstract in English (max. 300 words, including literature), a short biography (max. 100 words) and your institutional affiliation or location,
    by 15 April 2022 to

    Decisions on the acceptance of proposals will be announced by May 2022.

    Complimentary funding will be available to students and scholars in academic precarity after acceptance of the proposal. Please refer here for further information regarding the application process!

    Registration is free of charge.

    mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna covers lunch and coffee breaks on-site.


    Websites: &


  • Location

    How to get to isaScience?

    isaScience 2022 will take place at Hotel Marienhof, Hauptstraße 71-73, 2651 Reichenau an der Rax.


    • by train from Vienna Central Station (Hauptbahnhof Wien): Trains serve approx. every 30 minutes the destination of Payerbach-Reichenau, travelling time is approx. 1 hour; find your train and ticket here: ÖBB Austrian Railways
    • by car: Highway S6 (arriving from Vienna on the highway A2 or from Graz on the highway A9), take the exit n°17 – Gloggnitz, direction Gloggnitz, then on B27 to Reichenau/Rax
    • by airplane arriving at Vienna International Airport: Trains run from VIE airport to Vienna Central Station or Wiener Neustadt where you have to change the train for Payerbach-Reichenau
    • by shuttle bus from the trainstation in Payerbach-Reichenau


    The train station for reaching Reichenau/Rax is in Payerbach, both villages ar next to each other and our shuttle busses will connect Payerbach and Reichenau!

  • Accomodation

    Double and single rooms have been reserved for isaScience participants in two hotels, one night’s accommodation includes breakfast and accommodation tax. Please find the hotel list here!

    On the three conference days, isaScience offers a free buffet lunch at the Hotel Marienhof for all conference participants. On the first conference day on 31 August, all conference participants are invited to a welcome dinner in Reichenau/Rax. On the last conference day on 3 September, all participants are invited to a farewell dinner at Hotel Marienhof.

    Please contact the respective hotel independently and reserve your desired date as soon as possible. In case of cancellation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no cancellation fees will be charged at these hotels.

  • Organisers & Contact

    Organisers of isaScience:

    Academic Board
    Andrea Glauser, Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies, mdw
    Marko Kölbl, Department of Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology, mdw
    Stephanie Probst, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, mdw

    Therese Kaufmann, Research Support Unit of the mdw

    Karoline Feyertag, Research Support Unit of the mdw