Black Music Symposium

The University of Arkansas Black Music Symposium is the University of Arkansas' Annual conference dedicated to educating and exposing the community to the music contributions of Black Americans. The theme for our 2024 Symposium, “Celebrating Afro-Caribbean Music,” explores the rich culture of the Caribbean nations and their contributions to music genres ranging from Reggae and Salsa to Merengue, Calypso, and more.

Throughout the week, there will be lectures that support the theme exploring the ways in which Afro-Caribbean music relates to the experiences of Black musicians as well as social movements. Masterclasses and clinics will demonstrate the intricate rhythms and specialized instrumentation within Afro-Caribbean styles with students on campus. Evening concerts will include major artists, faculty and students, and daily concerts/lectures will feature presenters chosen from our call for proposals (submit below).

Supported by generous funding from the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the Alice L. Walton Foundation, this event has proven to be a major boon for the arts at the University of Arkansas and to Northwest Arkansas.

All events are open to the general public.

Call for Proposals

The Arkansas Center for Black Music at the University of Arkansas announces a Call for Proposals for the the 11th annual Black Music Symposium, to be held January 31 through February 3, 2024. The theme for this year’s symposium is Celebrating Afro-Caribbean Music. 

We invite submissions for performances and research on any aspect of Afro-Caribbean music to be presented at this year’s symposium. Presentations may take the form of a performance, paper, panel/roundtable, or masterclass/clinic––see guidelines for each format below. 

To apply, submit a proposal of no more than 300 words, a bio and CV for all presenters, and a link to a sample recording for performances, clinics, and masterclasses. Submissions are due by 11:59 PM Central on November 15, 2023.   

Guidelines for presentation formats: 

Performance: Performers will be allotted up to 20 minutes for a live performance as part of the symposium’s concerts.  In addition to the submission requirements above, performances must: (1) feature performed work(s) composed by a Black composer (2) specify the exact duration of the performance and instrumentation, and (3) include a link to a recording of the actual work(s) proposed for the performance 

Paper: research papers will be given 20 minutes for presentation plus 10 minutes for Q+A 

Panel/Roundtable: groups of two or more presenters may propose a panel of individual papers or a topic for roundtable discussion; these sessions will receive one hour to be split among the participants; panels/roundtables will be accepted or rejected in total 

Clinic/Masterclass: One or more presenters highlight aspects of performance practice, instrumental/vocal technique, or pedagogy related to the symposium theme; include a link to a sample recording  

Please note that we are unable to fund travel expenses for presenters or performers.

Submit a Proposal