CFP: Court and Spark: An international symposium on the work of Joni Mitchell. July 3rd, 2015, University of Lincoln.

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*Call for papers*


Joni Mitchell is widely recognised as an innovative, influential, much-loved and much-imitated artist. From her debut album Song to a Seagull to her most recent Shine, Mitchell’s music: her tunings, her lyrics, her scope has drawn critical and popular acclaim. And yet, scholarly attention to her work has been relatively limited. This symposium will attend to Mitchell as a figure worthy of sustained critical thought and appreciation.

The School of English and Journalism at the University of Lincoln invites you to join us in considering all things Mitchell. Academics, music critics, fans are encouraged to attend. Paper proposals that mix personal with critical, historical, musicological, or cultural-studies analyses are welcome.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Considerations of the relationship between Mitchell’s visual art and her music.
  • Politics and political activism in Mitchell’s music [for example: Mitchell as reluctant feminist, Mitchell’s ecocriticism].
  • Race in Mitchell’s work.
  • Low affect in Mitchell’s work [disappointment, boredom, ennui, alienation].
  • High affect in Mitchell’s work [joy, desire, excitement, enchantment].
  • Commodification, stardom, the market and fame.
  • Cover versions and reworkings.
  • The politics of space and travel in Mitchell’s work.
  • Mitchell in popular culture.
  • Mitchell’s histories.
  • Queer Mitchell.

Please send paper proposals of 300 words, plus a short bio to Dr. Ruth Charnock at by 14th January, 2015


3 thoughts on “CFP: Court and Spark: An international symposium on the work of Joni Mitchell. July 3rd, 2015, University of Lincoln.

  1. Rosemary Connors says:

    Thrilling – it is good to know that something like a program exists in the world. May have to make a trip across the pond for this one! Thank you.


  2. Robert Sherman says:

    I remember reading an interview with her in the nineties in which she detailed her compositional mind vis a vis words, melody and the guitar as accompaniment. She explained that the melody is at the top of the composition and the guitar subdivides into multiple layers which underlay that; melodic note reference on the high e string, oboe or clarinet on the b and g strings, and the bass is down on the lower strings. The tunings would come from a process of hunting for and mapping out a range which compliments the sound she would hear in her head. To illustrate by way of context, she referred to Mozart and Mingus.
    “So, how did you end up in the folk music category,” asked the interviewer.
    “It was the 60’s and I was a girl with a guitar.”

    Guessing the source I’m paraphrasing from could have been Musician, downbeat or Guitar Player circa 1994.


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