Announcement Winners IASPM Benelux VNPF Thesis Prize 2018

IASPM Benelux are pleased to announce this year’s winners for the annual IASPM Benelux VNPF Popular Music Thesis Prize. This year’s competition was adjudicated by three jury members: Dr. Leonieke Bolderman of the University of Groningen, music industry professional Marjan Wynia, and Dr. Matthias Heyman of the University of Antwerp. The winners were chosen according to the criteria of relevance and innovation of thesis topic, quality of research, argumentation, and the overall writing style and elegance of the thesis.

We are happy to award this year’s MA prize to Elisa Luengo Sampayo earning her MA from Erasmus University Rotterdam in Cultural Economics & Entrepreneurship for her thesis

The Economic Sociology of Club Culture: Valuation Logics in Electronic Dance Music

Leungo Sampayo’s thesis examines the concepts of value and evaluation of electronic dance music as manifest within contemporary club culture. Her thesis investigates club culture in relation to the lives and social organizing structures of current electronic dance music artists. Through a combined ethnographic, economic and sociological methodology, this thesis revealed how social devices and criteria such as selection, certification, and pricing mechanisms intermediated the gatekeeping choices made by venue programmers, booking agents, and artists. She found that artists built long-lasting and value-based relationships beyond profit maximization that were key to minimize the impact of radical uncertainty and information asymmetry currently characterizing the music industry. Ultimately the thesis argued that because of particular social structures, the dissemination of circuit-based conventions, a certain stability was achieved within a turbulent market.

This year’s winner for the best BA thesis is Cato de Beer earning her BA in Communication and Media from the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, for her thesis

She Said ‘Boom’: How Social Media Platforms Enable and Challenge Female Punks to Do It Themselves

Through in-depth interviews with six bands from The Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom, this study examined the experiences of female punk artists active within social media platforms. The findings of this research revealed a link between the previous DIY ideology of punk and the rise of social media platforms. Through this analysis, significant differences in contrast to prior DIY scenes were discovered in terms of the complexity of promotion and discursive engagement via social media. Her thesis explores how women in contemporary punk music attempted to overthrow proscriptive gendered boundaries of the past, in part by embracing the Do It Yourself (“DIY”) ethos. This attitude made the genre available for them as a means of creative as well as political expression as they attempted to disrupt existing hierarchies by bypassing a male-dominated industry and by promoting themselves online. Currently, she found that for punk participants, the value of gaining entrance for lesser-trained musicians was the most important factor. Further, for female musicians, the ways in which the genre enabled them to express themselves in alternative modes (e.g. wild, sweaty, angry) to dominant gendered performance expectations was also seen as a valuable characteristic of the genre. Ultimately her thesis revealed that despite these developments, it remains challenging for women to act within the music industry, a field in which expectations of female artists remain underdeveloped, and in which excessive attention is placed upon their image and gender instead of their music.

Both winners will present their research at the upcoming Research in Music Conference on May 27th at Utrecht University. For more information see the program and location here.

The official award ceremony will take place on Oct. 2nd in Amsterdam during the VNPF annual conference.

Call for Papers: Fourth Annual Student Conference – Research in Music

Monday –  27 May 2019

Department of Arts and Culture Studies, Utrecht University

Theater – grote zaal, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20


Dept. of Arts and Culture Studies (UU), Hucbald, KVNM (Royal Society for Music History of the Netherlands), the International Association for the Study of Popular Music Benelux, and VNPF.

On 27 May 2019, we will hold our fourth student conference on music research at the Utrecht University. This one-day event will offer a series of panels led and presented by students at all levels of their academic careers. At the end of the day, we will also award the prize for the winners of the BA and MA Popular Music Thesis Award, organized and presented by IASPM Benelux and VNPF and the Hélène Nothenius Prize for an outstanding master thesis on music history organized and presented by the KVNM. 

Paper presentations

We invite students of all levels from BA to PhD to participate in our conference. Each year we highlight the role that music performs in contemporary societies, in all of its diversity and breadth. We encourage presentations covering a broad range of subjects from the performance careers of practicing musicians, to the changing aesthetics of musical creativity and composition because of new media technologies, to the connection between music and social justice movements. We intentionally encourage a range of approaches as one of the primary goals of this conference is to allow students greater contact with each other across genre categories such as art music and popular music. We also encourage and welcome a number of perspectives and methodologies from sociological, musicological and ethnomusicological to music industry and practice-based learning studies. Finally, we welcome students who are particularly motivated to blur boundaries between established methodologies in their research. In this sense, we hope to strengthen the contributions which explore new ways of examining music scholarship in the Benelux academic world. Ultimately, we hope to share insights with each other to promote greater contact between our various specializations and to make visible the important role that all forms of music research perform for culture and society.

Submit your abstract

If you are interested in participating in this conference, please submit an abstract of under 350 words of under 350 words on your music related research by May 1, 2019. Your abstract should contain the following: your full name, education level, major and department, name of academic institution, email, the title of your abstract, and abstract, all in a 12-point font. Presentations will last 15-20 minutes. Please send your abstracts to

To keep the event student budget-friendly, lunch will be provided and there will be a minimal conference fee of 10 Euros.


The Arts, Culture and Media programme of the University of Groningen is looking for a highly motivated full-time Assistant Professor (Dutch: Universitair Docent) in Narrativity and (Inter)mediality in the Arts, preferably with an expertise in popular music, sound studies, theater or performing arts:

Deadline for application: March 15, 2019

IASPM Benelux has Elected a New Board for 2019/2020

IASPM Benelux is pleased to announce the election of a new board which will officially commences in September of 2019. Our new board members are Dr. Oliver Seibt (Chair), Dr. Chris Tonelli (Secretary), and Dr. Matthias Heyman (Media Liaison). Current members Pauwke Berkers (Treasurer) and Melanie Schiller (Board Member) will remain on the board in their current positions. Chair Kristin McGee, Secretary Koos Zwaan, and Media Liaison Pedro Bruyckere will step down in September of 2019. Kristin McGee will remain active as advisory board member.

New Members

To the board, we welcome Oliver Seibt, Assistant Professor of Cultural Musicology at the University of Amsterdam as our new Chair.

myprofile_imageOliver began his post as Assistant Professor of Cultural Musicology at the University of Amsterdam in 2016. He earned degrees in musicology (with a specialization in ethnomusicology), cultural anthropology, and Japanese studies at the University of Cologne and gained his Doctorate in 2010 at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media for his dissertation Der Sinn des Augenblicks: Überlegungen zu einer Musikwissenschaft des Alltäglichen. An Uchida Fellowship (The Japan Foundation) supported research for his Magister thesis on the Japanese domestication of “Western popular music” in 1996. Oliver has also worked as a freelancer for EMI Music Germany (1998-2007) and as a research and teaching associate at the Universities of Cologne (2000-2008) and Bern (2008-2009). In 2010, as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Heidelberg University (2009-2012), he conducted research in Japan on the Tokyo visual-kei scene as part of a multi-sited project on the globalization of Japanese popular music. Before taking his position at the University of Amsterdam, he worked as Interim Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Cologne (2013) and Frankfurt am Main (2013-2015), and as a guest professor at the University of Vienna (2015-16). During the past six years, he has been actively engaged in the German-speaking branch of IASPM (IASPM D-A-CH) co-founded in 2012. He acted as General Secretary from 2012-2016 and as an Advisory Board Member from 2016-2018. Oliver’s research focuses upon Japanese popular music, everyday life music studies, and the role of the imaginary in musicking.


As General Secretary, we welcome Chris Tonelli, Assistant Professor of Popular Music at the University of Groningen.

photoChris Tonelli began his position as Assistant Professor of Popular Music Studies at the University of Groningen in 2017. He researches music in the areas of global popular music studies, critical musicology, ethnomusicology, community music studies, and sound studies. His has published on transnational flows of popular music in and from Japan in the Journal of World Popular Music; the pico-pico genre/scene in Tokyo in the book Music in Video Games; the chiptune music genre in the Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies; and reception of extranormal vocal timbres in Music & Politics. His current book project, which deals with histories of jazz voice, will appear in 2019 in the Routledge series Transnational Studies in Jazz. Tonelli is passionate about fostering knowledge sharing between scholars across disciplines and cultures and between scholars and non-academic communities. His is also eager to help create opportunities for the IASPM Benelux community to disseminate their work, to find creative ways to collaborate with musicians and musical communities, and to make the musicologies exciting and accessible to as wide a public as possible. He has broad experience working with music and musicology communities in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and now The Netherlands which will provide important experience in contributing new ideas and energy to the IASPM Benelux community.


As our new Media Liaison, we welcome Matthais Heyman, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Antwerp.

s200_matthias.heymanAs Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Antwerp, Matthias is currently working on a project researching the value and meaning of jazz competitions. He obtained his PhD at the University of Antwerp in affiliation with the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, where he acquired his MA in Double Bass. His dissertation examined the life and work of Ellington bassist Jimmie Blanton. Currently, Matt teaches music history courses at the Jazz/Pop Studio (Antwerp) and the LUCA School of Arts (Leuven). He has also lectured on jazz history and theory at the University of Amsterdam in 2016–17. As a bassist, Matt has played with Toots Thielemans, Bert Joris, and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, among others. His work has appeared in journals such as Jazz Research Journal (2015, 2017) and Jazz Perspectives (forthcoming), and he has presented at several international conferences, including all Rhythm Changes conferences since 2013 and The Beatles’ White Album Symposium in 2018 (Monmouth University, US). Matt’s research interests are music competitions, Belgian jazz history, and historical recreation in popular music.

Within the board, Matt hopes to build better alliances and connections between the popular music and jazz worlds – both professionally and in the scholarly world. To this end, he seeks to promote major jazz conferences and events such as Rhythm Changes to the Benelux members as well as popular music conferences and topics to his jazz peers too further two-way exchange of knowledge, ideas, and methods. Second, as an active Belgian scholar, Matt seeks to adequately represent especially the Belgian ‘stem’ of the Benelux branch. Being an alumnus of two conservatories (Brussels and Antwerp) and a lecturer at another conservatory (Leuven), he hopes to build an extensive local network in order to better represent the Benelux region.

Continuing Members

Present member Pauwke Berkers will remain our Treasurer

Pauwke Berkers

9fc807ab69d5d2746cc6fb0e93ed0897Pauwke Berkers is Associate Professor of Sociology of Art and Culture in the Department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2013 he received a PhD in the Humanities grant (together with Julian Schaap and Koen van Eijck) for the project Elvis has finally left the building? Boundary Work, Whiteness and the Reception of Rock Music in Comparative Perspective (NWO 322-45-003). His main interests include symbolic and social boundaries, racial/ethnic and gender inequality in the arts, cultural fields, and (not so) popular music.

Current member Melanie Schiller will also stay on as General Board Member.

photo-1Dr. Melanie Schiller is Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Popular Music at the University of Groningen, where she teaches courses on contemporary audiovisual arts, mediality, narrativity, and popular music, politics and resistance. She is the author of Soundtracking Germany: Popular Music and National Identity (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). Currently, Schiller works on music and populism in the project entitled “Popular Music as a Medium for the Mainstreaming of Populist Ideologies in Europe,” an international collaboration with Oldenburg University (Germany), University of Technology and Economics in Budapest (Hungary), Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence (Italy), and University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz (Austria), financed by the Volkswagen Foundation. This project explores the ways in which popular music functions as a medium for the mainstreaming of populist ideologies in Hungary, Austria, Italy, Germany, and Sweden from a comparative perspective.



IASPM Benelux and VNPF Popular Music Thesis Prize 2018

The International Association for the Study of Popular Music Benelux and the Vereniging Nederlandse Pop Podia en Festivals invites student applicants to apply for the Bachelors and Masters Popular Music Thesis Prize. This prize honors outstanding research by students writing about popular music. The prize is to award the best-researched and best-written BA and MA thesis on some subject related to popular music. The winning thesis will incorporate one or more relevant perspectives which might reflect a broad range of academic and professional fields including but not limited to sociology, musicology, media studies, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, journalism, economics and/or history. Both the BA and MA thesis must be written in either Dutch or English. In general, the thesis must highlight the important role that popular music performs within culture and society. Theses will be judged by a well-respected jury of members comprised of academics and professionals from the Dutch music world.

The winning MA student will be asked to present a short lecture on their research during the IASPM student conference in the spring of 2018. The award ceremony will take place during the VNPF Conference in the fall of 2019.

There is also a monetary prize of 200 for the MA thesis winner.


All materials must be submitted by December 15st, 2018 in pdf form to

Include in your digital application:

BA or MA Thesis including:

  1. Title of thesis
  2. Short abstract (200-300 words)
  3. Full thesis text (please cross out any passages referring to your name or your university name on the thesis to ensure anonymity)

Separate Title Page with:


  1. Student’s name
  2. Student’s institution and major
  3. Thesis supervisor
  4. Education period (study dates)
  5. Degree granted (BA, MA or Pre-Master)
  6. Student’s email and address


A digital copy of the student’s Graduation Certificate.


Members meeting and candidates for the new IASPM-Benelux board

Dear IASPM Benelux members,

On Friday, November 30, 2018, we will host our annual members meeting during the Elvis Lives in Amsterdamconference (Nov. 29- Dec. 1) hosted by the University of Amsterdam. During this meeting, we will update you on IASPM events and current business as well as hold the elections for new board members.

Here are the relevant details:

Date: November 30

Time: 17:00-18:00

Address: Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16-18, 1012 CP Amsterdam (the theater building), room 101A

For organizational reasons, we request that you register per mail (to for the conference even if you are only attending the meeting. Please indicate the days that you plan to attend.

We look forward to seeing you on Nov. 30.

We received the applications from the following candidates (click the name for their bio):

KIEM Workshop Gender Quotas in Music Festival Programmes (September 21st, 2018)

Greetings colleagues and friends,

The department of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Groningen together with IASPM Benelux cordially invites you to a workshop investigating the theme of Gender Quotas in the Music Industry. This project, financed by the NWO KIEM project entitled Gender Dynamics in the Dutch Music Industry, will provide a panel discussion with Dutch music industry professionals (Marije van Veen, Rita Zipora, Hilde Spille and Tom van Wijk) as well as presentations on the current state of research on festivals and quotas.
The details are as follows:
When: Friday September 21st
Time: 14:00-17:00
Where: Broerstraat 9, Room A901 (Archaeology Faculty), room A9, University of Groningen
More information is found on our website.
We have also created a facebook event here.
Please forward this to your potentially interested students and colleagues.

May 25th – Third Annual Student Conference in Research in Music – Erasmus University

The first is the third annual Student Conference in Research in Music hosted this year by Erasmus University on May 25th. Some 20 students will present their own research on music and culture. Additionally the IASPM Benelux VNPF Popular Music Thesis Prize will be awarded.

To register, please send an e-mail with your name and affiliation to

Poster-size-A3-2IASPM student conf program A3 FINAL

Winners IASPM Benelux VNPF Popular Music Thesis Prize.

We are pleased to announce this year’s BA and MA winners for the IASPM Benelux VNPF Popular Music Thesis Prize.

The jury has deliberated on the BA thesis prize and this year’s (correct:) winner is David Cramer (Arts, Culture and Media, University of Groningen) with his thesis “‘And If Our God Is for Us…’: The Political and Ideological Impact of Contemporary Christian Music”.

This year’s MA prize did not produce a single winner. Therefore the jury has awarded the title of “honorable mention” to these recipients:

  • Laura Schediwy (Erasmus University) for her MA thesis:
    “Music Students’ Bohemian and Entrepreneurial Career Identities”
  • Kasper de Vries (Erasmus University) for his MA thesis:
    “Poëzie in de jukebox: Een kwalitatief onderzoek in het veld van culturele productie naar de symbolische grenzen tussen muziek en literatuur naar aanleiding van de Nobelprijs voor Bob Dylan”
  • and Sydney Schelvis (University of Amsterdam) for his MA thesis:
    “The Voice, Body, Bass, Beats, and Sensation: A post-semantic inquiry into electronic dance music’s materiality”

This year’s jury consisted of Job de Wit (Popular Music Journalist), Lutgard Mutsaers (Phd, Music Researcher), Simonne Driessen (PhD, Erasmus University) and Rob Ahlers (PhD student, University of Groningen).

The award ceremony for the BA and MA thesis prize will take place on May 25th at Erasmus University during the Student Conference on Popular Music organized by music students in collaboration with IASPM Benelux and Erasmus University.