Music, Place and Belonging – A Symposium

Start date

Thursday, 22 Mar 2018, 13:00

End date

Thursday, 22 Mar 2018, 16:00

Tinbergen Building
Campus Woudestein
Portrait Leonieke Bolderman (Square)

Cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam and Detroit are known, loved and visited for their various music scenes, some mainstream such as classical music and Motown, and others, such as dance and techno, more underground. The connections between music and place are present in multiple ways and influence the identity of contemporary cities; through, for example, narratives of local heritage, through networks of venues, artists, and audiences, and through phenomena such as festivals and music tourism. Music holds particular promise to city marketers and policy officers in terms of urban (re)development, while the linking of music and place also offers a way to interrogate more wide-ranging socio-cultural issues, such as questions of mobility and belonging in a globalized world and the increasing convergence of media and tourism culture.


In this symposium, three renowned scholars are invited to give a lecture on fundamental questions in current debates about music, place and belonging: how does music contribute to experiences of place, identity and belonging? What role does music play in a world characterized by mobilities in different, often unequally distributed, ways? How can music literally move people? Moreover, what research agendas can follow from these questions in the years to come? To address this last question, two current research projects on music and place are pitched and discussed.


The symposium begins at 1 pm, with two keynotes by prof. dr. Tia DeNora (University of Exeter) and dr. Michelle Duffy (University of Newcastle, Australia). After a coffee break, prof. dr. Cornel Sandvoss (University of Huddersfield) will present on his current research. The symposium is closed of with two research pitches by dr. Janna Michael and dr. Arno van der Hoeven (Erasmus University Rotterdam). The pitches are discussed by the keynote speakers, after which the debate is open to the audience. Moderator: Leonieke Bolderman (University of Groningen).

About the speakers

Tia DeNora is Professor of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology of Music at the University of Exeter (UK) and director of the SocArts Research Group. Her work examines how culture is made and how it informs activity and experience in real places and in real time, mainly researched through musical topics. She has published widely in this field, including the monographs Music in Everyday Life (2000) and Making Sense of Reality: Culture and Perception in Everyday Life (2014). Tia DeNora has been chair of the European Sociological Association Network on Sociology of the Arts, Vice President of the International Sociological Association Research Committee on Sociology of the Arts, and serves on several editorial boards.

Michelle Duffy is an Associate Professor in Human Geography in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research explores how interactions between people and place contribute to notions of community and identity, and hence to processes of belonging and alienation, paying specific attention to the significance of emotion and affect, and the role of sound, music and performance. She serves on the editorial boards of Social and Cultural Geography and Gender, Place and Culture. 

Cornel Sandvoss is Professor in Media and Journalism and head of the School of Music, Humanities and Media at the University of Huddersfield (UK). He has published widely in the fields of fandom, media reception and use, and participation, including Fans: The Mirror of Consumption (2005) and Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World (2007). He is past Chair and Vice-Chair of the Popular Communication Division of the International Communication Association and is currently the co-director, with prof. dr. Matt Hills, of the Centre for Participatory Culture.

Sign up

Attendance is free of charge and open to all. Please sign up by emailing Leonieke Bolderman:

This symposium is made possible with the generous support of the Department of Arts and Culture at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and an events grant made available by NeFCA, the Netherlands Flanders Communication Association.

More information

Musical topophilia

This symposium is organized in the wake of the doctoral defense of Leonieke Bolderman, during which she will defend the dissertation Musical topophilia. A critical analysis of contemporary music tourism. This public event takes place on Thursday 22 March, 09:30-10:30 am, in the Senaatszaal, Erasmus Building (A), Erasmus University Rotterdam.