International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

ICTM Statement and Activities in View of Decolonization of Music and Dance Studies

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Referring to the ICTM Statutes and the Declaration of Ethical Principles and Professional Integrity;

Further referring to ICTM’s mission to bring together music and dance scholars, as well as artists, cultural activists, policy makers, and other individuals, collectives, and institutions in pursuit of equality, social participation, human rights, and sustainability in the performing arts;

Benefiting from the wide international composition of its membership, the inclusiveness of different scholarly traditions worldwide, and specific thematic and geographic focuses of its Study Groups;

Acknowledging the need to respect languages other than English, their values, and conceptual strengths;

Further acknowledging the epistemic, ethical, and political quest for dignity and equity of humanity in difference, renewed recently by the Black Lives Matter movement;

Recognizing that organizations such as ICTM need to promote ongoing reflection and design activities aimed to overcome discriminatory and/or biased practices on the basis of nationality, race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, sexuality, age, body type, disability, socio-economic background, career hierarchy, research theories and methods, and other bases; and

Further recognizing that such practices continue to be deeply embedded in institutions and individual attitudes, reflected in academic hierarchy, the labour market, publishing practices, the operation of funding agencies, and the increasingly precarious nature of our work;

ICTM expresses its determination to further its activities on these premises, pertaining to the decolonization of music and dance studies, including within the structures of ICTM.


The activities listed below are aimed at engaging ICTM diverse members in dialogue from different perspectives:

  1. A series of online ICTM Dialogues will be organized, each focusing on a specific theme, with diverse participants, who are in various capacities involved in research, documentation, teaching, safeguarding, and sustainability of music, dance, and related performing arts. For each session, one or more relevant readings on human rights, decolonization, and/or related subjects will be made available in advance to all participants and the audience. The coordinating committee appointed by the Executive Board will invite Study Groups, National and Regional Committees, and the general membership to submit proposals to organize and chair these sessions.

  2. As a part of the ICTM 2020 Survey, members will be invited to identify, describe, and suggest how to overcome possible discriminatory and/or biased practices experienced at ICTM events or in relation to ICTM publishing, in working environments other than ICTM, and in different spheres of academic life.

  3. The Executive Board’s Internet Presence Committee will consider ways to foster the use of ICTM’s online forums to include a wider variety of content and to involve a greater diversity of actors and audiences.

  4. The Executive Board’s Committee on Maud Karpeles, Young Scholars, and Other Funds will consider ways of improving existing possibilities for participation in ICTM events by student and early career members, and by members from regions that are underrepresented in ICTM and/or face economic disparity.

  5. A President’s Roundtable on the themes addressed above will be considered for inclusion in the 2022 World Conference.

  6. The Executive Board will continue its deliberation on developing a tool for reporting instances of discrimination, abuse, or any other incidents at ICTM events.

  7. The Executive Board will continue its deliberation on how to improve ICTM governance, including the composition and operation of the Board’s committees, to better reflect ICTM’s commitment to decolonization.