CE27 - Culture, création, patrimoine

Experiencing music in the time of COVID: resisting, adapting, innovating. – MUSICOVID

Submission summary

MUSICOVID is an interdisciplinary research project that places at its centre the analysis of the modes of adaptation, resistance and innovation of musicians and their audiences in times of Covid, when the question of a brighter tomorrow is so acute. It aims to question the new place of live music in a society in crisis, both from the point of view of restrictions and prohibitions ("non-essential" or potentially dangerous practices), and from the point of view of the factors that seem to express an irrepressible need to live and to ensure that music lives on (adaptation, resistance, innovation), thereby endowing the musical experience – declared to be "non-essential" – with essential virtues (for physical and emotional well-being, for sociability).

This study, which sheds light on the link between pandemics and music, between biopolitics and musical life, and the analysis of the stakes attached to prohibitions and practice, goes beyond a simple academic framework to open up concrete results, available to social, political and economic actors and citizens.

The team, with its strong experiential capital in terms of surveys on musical practices and cultural situations of great crisis, will mobilise partners representing the richness of the worlds of music. By articulating five areas (memory, resilience, constraint, pedagogy, representations), MUSICOVID seeks to meet a fourfold challenge:

(1) To document a crisis, to collect material (musical experiences) and to conserve/preserve the memory of the health crisis in order to analyse it in the light of several theoretical approaches; to constitute this memory as a resource;

(2) To understand which individual or collective strategies social actors adopt to get through the ordeal of a pandemic, from the threefold lens of adaptation (adjusting practices to the constraints of the situation), resistance ( to resist the repressive models of an accepted imaginary, imposed actions and political decisions) and innovation (choosing or being forced to introduce something new into something that is well established); to characterise a society's relationship to music in terms of a benefit/risk cursor; to understand how a society faced with a crisis organises and ensures the survival of its members and the maintenance of social cohesion;

(3) To supervise and organise, on the basis of these scientific results, a common reflection between researchers, the different actors of the music worlds, policy-makers and public authorities, favouring the dynamisms of collective intelligence; to provide concrete solutions and tools in the cultural and socio-economic fields aimed at solving the challenge of arbitration between bare life and social life; to strengthen the place of humanities and social sciences in the expertise serving society;

4) To equip citizens with the knowledge and tools required to imagine alternative ways to fight the pandemic and to realise that music is a cultural asset essential to life (Freiburg Declaration on Cultural Rights, 1993 and 2007) and more broadly a springboard capable of "recreating the participatory experience of democracy" (Honneth 2020);

By preserving the memory of musical experiences in times of Covid, by analysing the strategies of the actors (adaptation, resistance, innovation), by making collective intelligence a source of shared profit to prepare for the aftermath, by proposing a global model likely to be duplicated in other fields of culture, MUSICOVID aims to respond to a social need in a strong ontological reading: can we build ourselves without music?

Project coordination

Solveig Serre (Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


THALIM Théorie et histoire des arts et des littératures de la modernité
CESR Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance

Help of the ANR 363,328 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2022 - 48 Months

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