IMR Distinguished Lecture Series

In 2017/18 and 2018/19, the Distinguished Lecture Series has been replaced by a series of conferences, the details of which can be found on the Conference Grants Series page. Each event will be held at Senate House, University of London.

Distinguished Lecture Series 2016-17


Martin Stokes, ‘The Musical Citizen’

[Audio recordings of Professor Stokes's lectures are now available on our Media page]

The 2017 Institute of Musical Research Distinguished Lecture Series will be delivered by Martin Stokes, King Edward Professor of Music at King’s College London.

The series will be entitled ‘The Musical Citizen,’ and the lectures will take place on Thursdays 4th, 11th and 25th of May at 5.30pm in the Senate Room at Senate House, University of London. Prior to each lecture, from 2-5pm, there will be a seminar on a related topic, which will include presentations from a variety of speakers and an open debate:


Thursday May 4

Seminar (2pm - 5pm): Music, migration, and citizenship

Room 261, Senate House

Shzr Ee Tan (chair)

Luis-Manuel García

Tom Hodgson

Jasmine Hornabrook

Ian Ritchie

Merav Rosenfeld

Emma Smith

Stephen Wilford


Lecture (5.30pm - 7pm): ‘How Musical is the Citizen?’

Theresa May’s assertion that “if you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere” has put recent critical thinking and the language of today’s populism on a collision course. Questions about critical citizenship have been moving to the fore of discussions in the humanities and social sciences over the last thirty years. Populism’s efforts to anchor citizenship narratives to the nation-state must reckon with ‘flexible’ (Ong 1999) or ‘differentiated’ (Young 1986) citizenship, which has tended to see citizenship as plural, performative and decentered practices of rights-claiming, mutually defining ‘the political’, its subjects and its others on a variety of scales. It must also reckon with critiques of citizenship in totalitarian or neoliberal governmentality, critiques deriving from Foucault, Agamben, and Arendt - pressing today in proliferating states of emergency and exception and the growing ranks of non- (and post-) citizens. How to configure these debates now? And what place does music have in them? Music, I will argue, has for a long time been entangled with debates about citizenship and citizenly identities. The first lecture will concentrate on three topics that have focused recent discussions, exploring the strengths and limitations of such approaches. Firstly, ‘cultural citizenship’, and the politics of difference (race, identity, sexuality). Secondly, the fashioning of musical citizenship in NGOs, development projects and cultural policy. Thirdly, ‘intimate citizenship’ and the musical citizen in fields of public affect and emotion.



Thursday May 11

Seminar (2pm - 5pm): Public music studies and citizenship

Sponsored by BFE, IASPM-UK&I, and IMR

Room 261, Senate House

Tom Perchard (chair)

Matt Brennan

Anna Bull

Katia Chornik

David Hesmondhalgh

Angela Impey


Lecture (5.30pm - 7pm): ‘Citizens of the Night’

Nightlife has been a preoccupation of a number of political movements intent on reclaiming the 'right to the city' (Harvey 2013), from corporate capitalism, from suburbanization, from the ghettoization of migrants, from the marginalization of queer culture. In the meantime, conservative newspapers bemoan the loss of British cities’ vibrant clubbing culture, and urban planning increasingly values and preserves it as ‘heritage’. The appointment of Amy Lamé as Sadiq Khan’s London ‘Night Tsar’ last year indicates the new direction of travel. The job of nightlife, and with it the ‘provision of 24 hour culture’, is to keep cities open for business and bind commerce and leisure to new kinds of citizenship narratives – cosmopolitan, urbane, inclusive. What are the stakes of these kinds of efforts to ‘conquer the night’ (Kafadar), and what do they mean for the relationship between citizenship and today’s global city? For today’s practices of ‘insurgent citizenship’ (Holston 1999)? For social movements challenging the privatization and corporate takeover of the city’s public spaces? Who are marginalized or excluded by this new language of civic inclusiveness and cosmopolitanism? Who and what are considered to be the threats? In many cultures and historical periods, music and musicians have been specifically tasked with conquering the night, with bringing people together ‘out of hours’ to forge new solidarities and identities. What do we learn from this? What light do they shed on the broader history, and prospects, of social movements asserting ‘rights to the city’?



Thursday May 25

Seminar (2pm - 5pm): Theorising music and citizenship

Court Room, Senate House (NB room change from previous)

Frederick Moehn (chair)

Byron Dueck

Ed Emery

John Finney

Samuel Llano

Ilana Webster-Kogen


Lecture (5.30pm - 7pm): ‘The Citizen in the Crowd’

Social theory has long been preoccupied with the distinctions to be drawn between ‘crowds’ and ‘publics’, between ‘the mob’, ‘the masses’ and ‘the citizenry’. Music – and its audiences – has directly contributed to the making of such distinctions (Busch 2008). But it has also troubled them. The significance of sound in discussions of crowds, assemblies and multitudes, from Rousseau to Durkheim and Canetti to today's crowd theory suggests some ways of approaching the question of why this might be the case. The question bears on Isin’s well-known critique (Isin 2007) of the normative scaling of citizenship narratives, whereby national citizenship is conventionally understood to incorporate local, urban and provincial citizenship, and to gesture beyond. Urban and local scalings of citizenship are now often conceived in opposition to those of nation-state, for instance. And on Mazarella's observation that crowds are the "dark matter that pull on the liberal subject from its past, whereas multitudes occupy the emergent horizon of a postliberal politics" (Mazarella 2010). How are we to understand the soundscapes of today’s urban crowd – political, recreational, memorial? How are we to understand their relationship to the nation-state?  To global social movements? To changing conceptions of the public sphere and the liberal subject? To a resurgent populism, communitarianism and localism? What kinds of performance of citizenship do they constitute, or embody? What new kinds of citizenship narrative are taking shape within them?



The series is supported by Nick Baker and presented in association with the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Queries may be sent to


Distinguished Lecture Series 2015-16

The IMR has instituted a Distinguished Lecture Series, which will be delivered in its inaugural year by Professor Nicholas Cook. The lectures will focus on his current major research project, “Musical Encounters: Studies in Relational Musicology.” They will take place on May 12, 19, 26 and June 2 at 5.30pm at Senate House, and will be preceded by seminars for PhD students.

[Videos of Professor Nicholas Cook's lectures are now available on our Media page.]


Musical encounters: Studies in relational musicology

Nicholas Cook FBA
1684 Professor of Music, University of Cambridge
British Academy Wolfson Research Professor 2014-2017

May 12th, 19th, 26th, June 2nd

Senate Room, Senate House, 5.30-7pm

This lecture series borrows its title from Nicolas Bourriaud's 'relational aesthetics', the idea that some forms of art are best understood in terms of the social relationships they forge between its spectators. I see this idea as applicable to music in general, and understand such relationships as encompassing all musical events, whether face-to-face or distributed in time and space. Beginning with what I call the relational practices of music—such as its role in therapy and conflict transformation—I explore how music conditions social relationships and affords constructions of identity, in both historical and contemporary contexts and in both the real and virtual worlds. Particular areas that I explore from a relational perspective include cross-cultural interaction, examining ideas of encounter and influence from the Hindostannie air to Debussy and the gamelan; creativity, long thought of as an individual faculty but better understood as social process, whether in the real-time interactions of group performance or the symbolic interactions of compositional imagination; and the world of the Viennese classics, interpreted not in terms of the retrospective construction of individual subjectivity that gave rise to musicology as we know it, but rather from a social and relational perspective that renders even the most familiar of music unfamiliar.

May 12: 'Socialities'
May 19: 'Influences'
May 26: 'Creativities'
June 2: 'Classics'

In association with the School of Advanced Study.

Attendance by (free) registration only. Early registration is advised, as space is limited. Please go to


Seminars for Research Students with Professor Nicholas Cook

The lectures on May 19th, 26th, and June 2nd will be preceded by research seminars with Professor Nicholas Cook, in room 261, Senate House, 3-4.30pm.

These seminars will provide students with the opportunity to interact with ProfessorCook and engage more deeply with his lecture series. The sessions will focus on detailed, “behind the scenes” discussion of the previous lecture and preliminary exploration of issues to be raised in the following one, and questions will be encouraged. Due to limitations on space, the seminars are open only to current research students.

Those research who wish to participate are asked to sign up on a separate event/registration page: