Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Call for Proposals 2021 (closed)

The IAS, the European Institute and Grand Challenges are joining forces for Music Futures, a one-year cycle of activities dedicated to thinking, writing and performing music.

In the absence of a dedicated department of musicology, we want to bring together UCL academics working on and with music in a wide range of disciplines, in order to foster a new cluster of scholarship and creativity in this space. This could include research about music - be it in literature, history, philosophy, technology, law or elsewhere - as well as research qua creative or performative practice. In line with the general remit of both our Institutes, we will encourage critical interdisciplinary work on music, especially projects that aim to bridge the gap between humanistic approaches and the rapidly expanding work in cognitive science and neuroscience. Music Futures will also aim to draw in musicians, composers and performers external to UCL, in order to explore with us the epistemologies of creative practice.

We are planning three areas of activity:

  1. The call for proposals (now closed), which seeks to give support both to very small and to very big ideas, as long as they seek to explore, with a sense of sustainability, how work on music at and/or with UCL might develop in the future.
  2. A curated series of three public performance-conversations and/or short film or creative projects, bringing together musicians and academics in a joint space of exploration - live, if pandemically possible. We will explore partnering for this element with one of London’s established music and performance spaces.
  3. Community building: A preparatory roundtable was held on 24 June, and gave short glimpses into UCL research engaged with music, and creating a first community of interest at UCL. A dedicated shopfront website will feature UCL academics with an interest in music, and any face-to-face events will provide ample opportunity for networking. The year’s cycle will then be closed by a second roundtable, looking into how the project can have a lasting impact. 


We are interested in hearing about any themes related to music. Thematic clusters may include, but are not limited to, the ones discussed at the June roundtable:

  • music and space
  • music and race/imperialism
  • music, identity and memory
  • music and behaviour
  • embodiment of music
  • song, singing
  • practice and a living laboratory of music

Funding, eligibility, outputs

A total of up to £20,000 is available for the initiative. No minimum amount or range is specified for individual applications.

All UCL researchers and professional services staff are eligible to apply. We particularly encourage collaborations across units at UCL, and with external partners.

As to outputs and formats, we encourage you to be as creative and experimental as you like. They may include a range of performances, exhibitions, public conversations, virtual or face-to-face; short films; concerts with conversations; workshops; reading/discussion groups; practice sessions, and much more.


We held a virtual Sandpit on Thursday 14 October, 1-2pm

This was an opportunity to briefly pitch an idea for your involvement and find possible collaborators or interlocutors. Do also join us if you'd just like to see what others are thinking of doing!


The call for proposals closed on 1 November 2021

Project Leads