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DIVULGANDO - Congresso sobre Heavy Metal

Helsinki, Finland, 8-12 June 2015 | 11/7/2014

Markets, Practices and Cultures
International Academic Research Conference
June 8-12, 2015
Hosted by:
Aalto University School of Business
Co-hosted by:
University of Helsinki; University of Turku; Sibelius Academy / University of the Arts Helsinki; Åbo Akademi University in Turku; Finnish Jazz & Pop Archive
In collaboration with:
International Society for Metal Music Studies (ISMMS)
Since its birth over 40 year ago, the music genre of heavy metal and hard rock has become not only a significant sub-culture but also an acknowledged subject for academic studies in various fields, even an interdisciplinary field of study in its own right. In the last few years, we have witnessed an increasing amount of events and publications in the metal academia, addressing the multiplicity of metal cultures, practices, and markets. The “International Society for Metal Music Studies” (ISMMS) and Metal Music Studies journal have also been established. In April 2013, the members of metal academia gathered in the “Heavy Metal and Popular Culture Conference”, hosted by the Bowling Green State University, in Ohio U.S. A decision was made there to bring the next main conference to Helsinki, Finland, the renowned metal capital of the Northern hemisphere.
Metal music has suffused to multiple directions, different markets and cultural layers – remaining marginal in some while enjoying mainstream success others. It has taken many forms, created a countless number of subgenres and representations, flirted and connected with other music genres and cultural products. Global and transnational communities have come into being simultaneously with the birth and development of local scenes. Moreover, the evolution of metal, as any other music genre, is impacted by the technological and economic revolution that has radically reshaped the forms of music production, delivery, consumption and culture – let alone the role of social media in communication, community building and fandom. Altogether, metal is embracing new fans and markets, creating new practices, forming new cultures, while treasuring the strong and polymorphous legacy of the genre. This brings along plenty of new challenges and opportunities for metal music studies in different genres.

The “Modern Heavy Metal” (MHM) conference will review, explore and discuss the current standing of metal; the plethora of its forms, cultures, practices, and markets. The conference will consist of research presentations, keynote speeches, industry/artist/media panels and other metal-laden program. In addition to the academic contents, the plan is to create close connections to the metal practice: the artists, their managers and other stakeholders, media, as well as the general metal audience. The event week will most likely include other metal entertainment spread over the evenings and the weekends.


Released on March 31 2014
To build up the academic program of the conference, we invite paper (and session) proposals from different fields of academic study to this interdisciplinary event. We are particularly interested in contributions shedding light on the markets, practices and cultures, faced by the metal practitioners and fans in the current multifaceted and global expression of heavy metal and its countless forms and sub-genres. The event is open not only for academics focusing on metal studies (in business studies, cultural studies, social sciences, humanities, musicology, arts, and other fields) but also for scholars from the wide range of popular music and popular culture studies. We warmly welcome also views from “the outside” to discuss and compare metal with other genres and cultural forms and helps in positioning metal in the bigger picture of cultural production and consumption.

The suggested themes include (but are not limited to):
  • Metal music industry and markets; global and local views, formation and structure of markets, entertainment and cultural industries
  • Metal management; strategic thinking, branding, visual communication in metal, metal export/import, leadership and roles, creative management
  • Metal practices; music, production, technology, performance, delivery
  • Metal cultures; fandom and fan communities, local communities, transnational/global communities, tribalism metal and social media, mainstream and subcultures, metal generations, gender and metal, artistic identity
  •  Form and philosophy of the metal genre
  • Sound and structure of metal music
  • Metal narratives, lyrics, and storytelling
  • Metal and belief systems, metal and religion
  • Politics, ethics and moral of metal
  • Artistic and aesthetic considerations; metal (in) art, metal representations, aesthetic experience, bodily experience
  • History, present and future of metal; transformations of the genre
  • Scope and methods of metal studies
  • Metal on the borderline; positions and connections of metal within the popular music and popular culture context
  • Various topics exploring the phenomena and representations of metal and related genres.
Alongside with more traditional research papers, novel and creative approaches to research are strongly encouraged. Theoretical reviews, practical case studies, conceptual studies, methodological papers, ethnographical reports, lyrical and visual analyses, qualitative and quantitative approaches, and various other forms and approaches are supported. With the long abstract and paper process, we hope that many new studies get ignited and completed for the conference.
Please note that the paper review process comprises two stages: abstract and full paper. Final acceptance is based on the full paper. Full papers will be included in the Conference Proceedings book (electronic and/or printed version) that will be launched prior to the conference.


Subject to changes
March 31 2014 
Call for Papers out
August 31 2014 
Deadline for abstracts (sent to
  • MSWord & PDF –documents
  • Max 300 words, 1 page, single-spaced, times new roman
  •  Including: author name, affiliation, email, title, abstract body
  •  Abstract body should describe the proposed contents of the paper: background, contribution, methods, tentative results (list of references not needed)
  • Submission may also be made in the form of a session proposal, including a title page with proposed session title & short rationale for the session + abstracts of all included papers (4-5 papers per session)
September 30 2014 
Notification of acceptance & invitation to submit a full paper
  • Abstracts will be reviewed by the Local Organizing Committee; review will focus on the relevance of the theme to the conference and overall quality of the proposals. 
December 31 2014 
Deadline for full papers
  •  Specific guidelines will be given along with the notification of acceptance
  • 3000-5000 words
February 15 2015 
Notification of acceptance & comments for improving the paper
  • Papers will be subject to double blind review by an International Review Committee, review will focus on the relevance of the theme to the conference and academic quality of the papers.
  • Accepted / Conditionally accepted (revision required) / Rejected
March 31 2015
Deadline for final papers
  • Improved on the basis of reviewers’ comments
  •  The full papers received by the deadline will be included in the Conference Proceedings book, available in the conference
  • Possibilities for a post-conference publication, with more advanced papers, may be discussed with selected authors during and after the event.
June 8-12 2015 
  • More detailed program and conference venue will be announced closer to date
  • Tentatively, the conference program will extend over three days: Tuesday 9/6, Wednesday 10/6 and Thursday 11/6
  • Additional sessions and/or various pre/post-conference program may be arranged on Monday 8/6 and Friday 12/6
  • The conference week may include a variety of side program in the evenings/weekends

More information about the registration deadlines and procedures as well as the participation fees will be posted in the Autumn of 2014. We aim to keep the fee relatively low with early-bird options available. The fee will include the conference program with lunches, coffee and refreshments, proceedings book, conference materials and merchandise, and other benefits later announced. Options for accommodation in different price ranges will also be suggested.
Dr. Toni-Matti Karjalainen
Head of the Organising Committee
Aalto University School of Business