2020 Music and Spirituality Symposium - Call for Papers

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11-13 September 2020
Western Sydney University
Parramatta South Campus

Hosted by
Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture
School of Humanities and Communication Arts (Music)

Download the English PDF version of the Call for Papers(opens in a new window)

Download the Chinese-English Bilingual PDF version of the Call for Papers (opens in a new window)

Due to popular demand, abstracts are now due on 1 August 2020. 

This symposium may consequently be moved to a later date. 

A followup announcement will be made pending government advice regarding COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

Please continue to visit this website for updates.

Music has been an intrinsic part of human spirituality for centuries. The spiritual efficacy of music is a well-acknowledged fact in social and scholarly discourse, from songs received through dreams in northeast Arnhem Land, to the highly ritualised repertories of Confucian worship (Marrett 2005; Russell and Wilkins 2012; Steben 2012).

Music and Spirituality calls for papers and creative works expounding this age-old phenomenon with special attention to intercultural and interdisciplinary practice in the new millennium. With the ongoing development of transnationalism and further emergence of hybrid forms, what is the future of the time-honoured relationship between music and spirituality as we advance into the next decade of the digital age?

This symposium takes place at Western Sydney University (Parramatta South Campus) from Friday 11 to Saturday 12 September. It culminates in a concert at the iconic Riverside Theatre on Sunday 13 September 2020 to celebrate the tenth Anniversary of the Sydney Sacred Music Festival (SSMF) (opens in a new window), directed by Richard Petkovic.

The Sydney Sacred Music Festival is a celebration of an extensive range of spiritually inspired music, ceremony and art. With a focus on western Sydney, the festival brings together diverse artists and cultures in the creation of new work. Festival events are presented in unique spaces with the aim to showcase hidden treasures from the local community in an all-inclusive setting.

Themes (opens in a new window)

Keynote Speakers (opens in a new window)

Submission Guidelines (opens in a new window)

Key Dates

* Saturday 1 August 2020   submission of proposals

* Monday 17 August 2020   notification of accepted proposals

* Monday 31 August 2020 announcement of program

Fees (opens in a new window)

Program & Location (opens in a new window)

Organising Committee and Advisory Board (opens in a new window)


The language of communication and presentation is English. In the case of scholars from China who may need assistance, interpreting services will be provided free-of-charge by the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture (WSU).


A proposal has been made to ANU Press Music (opens in a new window) for the publication of an edited collection using double blind peer review. This collection includes both discursive text and artistic outputs (embedded hyperlinks or playlist).


For all enquiries, or to make suggestions and provide feedback, please contact:

Dr Nicholas Ng (Research Fellow) nicholas.ng@westernsydney.edu.au (opens in a new window).

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