NAFCo and Anglo/Celtic Traditional Music Symposium

Delighted that there is going to be a really fascinating NAFCo conference next year at Limerick in June 2020–and also that Simon Keegan-Phipps and I will be coordinating a special pre-conference symposium on Anglo/Celtic Music and its peripheries–call for participants now, deadline 31st January 2020.

North Atlantic Fiddle Convention 2020

Call for Participants

The Irish World Academy is delighted to announce that the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention 2020 will be held 24th to 28th June 2020 at the University of Limerick. NAFCo features traditions of fiddle music and dance from countries and communities around the North Atlantic, combining performances, workshops, and sessions, with an academic conference.  This event is a partnership between the University and Limerick City and County Council Arts Office.

As with all NAFCo Conferences, we invite contributions on current/new musical research into fiddle traditions across the world and welcome presentations on any aspect of current research into fiddle music, dance, and closely associated traditions. 

The 2020 NAFCo theme is Fiddling and its Frontiers: Transforming Practices and Rethinking Questions

Fiddling, along with its concomitant practices and its scholarship, changes throughout the many different contexts of history, the arts, culture, environment, and social life within it appears. We hope to prompt new research into the processes at work in such transformations and suggest here several areas of investigation. (These are not meant to limit the possibilities)

Rural-Urban performance practices: In the context of increasing urbanization around the North Atlantic, and the many historical migrations of fiddlers from the countryside to the town, what can we discover today about how these shifts changed fiddle performance and the social life of the fiddle? Is rural fiddling still in good health? How might it be supported in an era of increasing rural depopulation?

The Virtual and the Real: Fiddling has moved decisively into the digital sphere. New possibilities for performance, composition, publication, teaching, and learning contribute to a further breaking away from place-bound geographies and national traditions. How have fiddlers of all stripes been responding to new opportunities that cross this boundary?

Performance as Research: New modes of knowledge production variously named, Practice Research, Practice as Research, Practice Based Research and so on are increasingly being legitimized and pursued in academia. Crossing this boundary (in either direction) is not new in the context of fiddling and its folkloristic and ethnomusicological investigation. Naming this as a distinct approach in its own right is. What possibilities does this approach suggest? What challenges does it pose?

Symposium: Traditional Music and Dance of the Anglo/Celtic World and Its Peripheries

The Conference program will also incorporate a Symposium on the 23rd June 2020 focussing on the academic understanding of Anglo/Celtic traditions of music and dance. These have blossomed and diversified significantly in the last several decades, not least due to the successes of various cultural revivals and revitalizations around the world. Scholarship too has flourished, with recent work re-casting established positions on a host of issues, topics, and currents. Historiographically however, there has been both overt and subtle resistance to the study of Anglo/Celtic music and dance in a variety of scholarly circles and today, there are few spaces where ethnomusicologists and ethnochoreologists with shared interests in Anglo/Celtic music and dance can come together to debate the broad issues that now characterize this expanded field of study. Dr. Simon McKerrell (Newcastle University) and Dr Simon Keegan-Phipps (Sheffield University) will curate this special topic within the framework of the whole event, in collaboration with the academic program and event planning committees. We therefore welcome proposals for papers, roundtables, and workshops on the theme of “Traditional Music and Dance of the Anglo/Celtic World and Its Peripheries”. Lacking a satisfactory term (which we intend to address at this event), we use “Anglo/Celtic” in the broadest and most inclusive sense, including English, Scots, Gaelic, Celtic and related traditions worldwide. Moreover, we wish to encourage new research that explores how these traditions are positioned alongside other forms of music and dance wherever they might occur. More information about this symposium can be found on this page.


  • Papers
  • Panels
  • Round table discussions
  • ‘Diamond presentations’
  • Films
  • Posters

Presentations should be 20 minutes long with 5-10 minutes for questions.

Panels can involve three or four people presenting around a theme or can involve 6-12 people speaking for a shorter time around a set theme.

Round table discussions can involve shorter presentations of 10-15 minutes each followed by a chaired discussion.

‘Diamond Presentations’ – Individual ‘Diamond Presentations’ are seven minutes long and are organized around 21 slides that are set to advance automatically every 20 seconds. They are free from text and speakers should refrain from reading notes.

Films can either fit into a 20-minute presentation slot or be shown separately as part of the wider convention programming.

Deadline for submissions is 31st January 2019.

Please submit proposals of up to 300 words along with a 100-word biography and contact information by email to

If you wish to also submit a proposal for the Symposium focused on the academic understanding and historiography of Anglo/Celtic music and its peripheries, please send an abstract of up to 300 words along with a 100 word biography to by the 31st January 2019.

All proposals will be anonymously peer reviewed.

One thought on “NAFCo and Anglo/Celtic Traditional Music Symposium

  1. Pingback: The 1st Anglo/Celtic Traditional Music Symposium, at NAFCo 2020 | simon keegan-phipps

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