Call for Papers for Special Issue of IJTA: 'Social justice, human rights, and sustainability of traditional arts'


Authors are invited to submit manuscripts for consideration to a special issue of

International Journal of Traditional Arts ( titled “Social justice, human rights, and sustainability of traditional arts”.


Especially since UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on the Urgent Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, scholars have paid concerted attention to local and global threats to the continued practice and intergenerational transmission of traditional arts, especially those of minoritized peoples (e.g. Letts 2015, Schippers & Grant 2016). A subset of this research examines particular issues of human rights and/or social justice – such as poverty (Moisala 2013), the climate crisis (Harrison 2020), and colonisation (Treloyn & Charles 2021) – that affect the ability of artists to practice their art, and others to engage with it. While studies like these offer rich insights into specific topics and contexts, the broader relationship of sustainability to matters of human rights and social justice remains under-theorised.


This special issue of ITJA invites consideration of all aspects of this relationship: how matters of human rights and/or social justice advance or inhibit the sustainability of traditional arts practices; and how vibrant arts practices, or initiatives to sustain them, progress (or sometimes hinder) human rights / social justice efforts. Both conceptual and practical perspectives are welcome. So too are critical case studies of specific minoritized groups, socio-political circumstances, traditional arts practices, or social or artistic interventions that illuminate some aspect of the special issue theme.


Potential topics include the relationship of the sustainability of traditional arts to matters of climate justice, cultural justice, economic justice, forced migration, gender equality, (de)colonisation, conflict, freedom of expression, access to education, and health equity (including Covid19). Further possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • the effects of human rights violations or social injustices on the sustainability of traditional arts practices;
  • the potential of traditional arts sustainability initiatives to advance human rights and/or social justice;
  • the intersection of human rights instruments with efforts to sustain the traditional arts;
  • the ethics of sustaining traditional arts practices that perpetuate social injustices or inhibit human rights.


Scholarly manuscripts authored or co-authored by those working in non-academic fields, including artists, social justice / human rights activists, and members of the communities represented in the papers, are encouraged.



International Journal of Traditional Arts is a peer-reviewed online, fee-free, open-access journal. Submissions should align with the journal style, length (under 8000 words) and format. See guidelines for authors at


Expressions of interest: 27 August 2021

Full papers due:                 1 March 2022

Publication:                         Estimated early 2023


Expressions of interest should comprise a draft title and abstract of the proposed contribution.



To submit expressions of interest and for any enquiries, contact the Guest Editor:

(Dr) Catherine Grant

Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University



Harrison, K. (2020). Indigenous music sustainability during climate change. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability43, 28-34.

Letts, R. (2015). Global perspectives: The IMC report on forces affecting music sustainability. World of Music, 89-102.

Moisala, P. (2013). “Nobody should be forced to make a living by begging“: Social exclusion and cultural rights of Gāine/Gandharva musicians of Nepal. Yearbook for Traditional Music, 45, 13-27.

Schippers, H., & Grant, C. (Eds.). (2016). Sustainable futures for music cultures: An ecological perspective. Oxford University Press.

Treloyn, S., & Charles, R. G. (2021). Music endangerment, repatriation, and intercultural collaboration in an Australian discomfort zone. Transforming Ethnomusicology Vol. II, 133-147.