Call for proposals: Imagining the Non-Present

17 January 2020

The annual Orpheus Doctoral Conference, organised by the second year docARTES PhD students, will take place on 28 and 29 May 2020. The call for proposals is now open. Proposals for presentations of any kind are welcomed: from scholarly papers to performances.


If we accept that the only temporality humans are capable of experiencing is the present, as Paul Ricoeur suggests, then both the past and the future are only accessible via the imagination. And both are equally difficult to "know," in any sense of the word. This ties contemporary composers and historically-informed performers inextricably together. What can they learn from each other about how to imagine the non-present?

Imagination is part of the practice of nearly every musician, but this act of mentally rehearsing how music might be made is often marginalized in favor of issues that deal with the actual result (the composition or performance as real experience). This conference at the Orpheus Institute seeks to uproot a hegemony of the artistic product in favor of an emphasis on the process of generating imaginary possibilities for experimentation in the real. Following Ricoeur's lead back to Aristotle's concept of fantasia, we seek to understand music's relationship to that mental capacity which allows one to see, dream or fantasize about events not directly accessible in one's immediate or close surroundings; either spatially or temporally.

Keynotes speakers:

  • Ruth Byrne, Professor of Cognitive Science, Psychology, Trinity College, Dublin
  • Jennifer Walshe, Professor of Performance, Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Stuttgart

Call for proposals

We invite proposals for presentations of any kind, from scholarly papers to performances. The conference will open at 15:30 (Central European Time) on Thursday with a keynote address by Dr. Ruth Byrne. Composer/performer Jennifer Walshe will give a second keynote address on Friday and the conference will close on Friday at 18:00. All proposals (paper proposals, artistic proposals, and performative-paper proposals) will consist of 20-minute presentations with ten minutes of discussion. A concert—or series of proposed 20-minute performances—is contemplated for Thursday evening. An open, collaborative spirit of inquiry is encouraged throughout.

The deadline for receipt of proposals is Saturday 29 February 2020, 23:59 CET. Applicants will be notified of the decisions in March 2020. Enquiries should be sent to 

Proposals can be submitted at


Related events

Imagining the Non-Present

Orpheus Doctoral Conference 2020

6 September > 4 October 2021

The Orpheus Doctoral Conference 2020, organised by the second year docARTES PhD students, was planned for 28 and 29 May 2020. The world decided otherwise, unfortunately, and this edition was postponed to September 2021. This conference is an experiment in form as much as content.