Critical Studies in Improvisation Études critiques en improvisation

Managing editor(s): Sam Boer / Editor(s): Eric Fillion, Daniel Fischlin, Ajay Heble, Kevin McNeilly, Chris J. Tonelli (Media Reviews Editor), Alyssa Woods, Jashen Edwards (Associate Editor), Erin Felepchuk (Associate Editor)


Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation is an open-access, peer-reviewed, electronic, academic journal on improvisation, community, and social practice housed at the University of Guelph. The editorial and advisory boards are made up of leading international scholars spanning diverse disciplines.

While improvisational music has historically been analyzed within specific musical disciplines, what distinguishes the research profiled in CSI/ÉCI is its emphasis on improvisation as a site for the analysis of social practice. We contend that improvisation demands shared responsibility for participation in community, an ability to negotiate differences, and a willingness to accept the challenges of risk and contingency. Yet improvisation is a contested term. Its cultural significance is in dispute both in the academy and in the broader public understanding. CSI/ÉCI seeks to reveal the complex structures of improvisational practices and to develop an enriched understanding of the social, political, and cultural functions those practices play.

We are particularly interested in historically and contextually specific articles that interrogate improvisation as a social and musical practice, and that assess how innovative performance practices play a role in developing new, socially responsive forms of community building across national, cultural, and artistic boundaries.


For more information, please contact Managing Editor Sam Boer at

Back issues (3 issues)

Permanent archiving of articles on Érudit is provided by Portico.

Editorial policy and ethics

Peer Review Process

1. A paper is submitted by email to CSI/ÉCI at which point the Managing Editor sends an email to the author acknowledging receipt of the submission. 
2. The General Editors then make an initial decision about whether the submission should proceed to the next stage of the editorial process. If the editors decide that this is not the case, an email is sent to author indicating that the submission has been rejected. 
3. If the Editors decide that the paper should be submitted for review, the paper is sent electronically, ideally, to one member of the editorial board and one member of the advisory board. In the case that a paper cannot be reviewed by a member of each board, two members of the advisory board will be asked to conduct the review. In certain circumstances, outside consultant readers will be invited to review a paper. 
4. Within five weeks the reviewers must forward their comments to the General Editors or Managing Editor who in turn forward the reviewers’ comments to the author. 
5. If both the reviewers have advised that the submission be accepted for publication, the submission is edited by one of the Editors and then published. If one reviewer accepts the publication and the other reviewer rejects the publication, the submission is either forwarded to a third reviewer, or left with one of the General Editors, for further consideration. 
6. The reviewers may decide that the submission should be revised and resubmitted, at which point the author must revise and then re-submit the paper. The author must attach to his or her resubmitted paper a statement indicating what revisions have been made. The re-submitted paper will then be forwarded to at least one of the two initial reviewers who must decide at this point whether or not the submission should be published.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides open access to all of its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Such access is associated with increased readership and increased citation of an author's work. For more information on this approach, see the Public Knowledge Project, which has designed this system to improve the scholarly and public quality of research, and which freely distributes the journal system as well as other software to support the open access publishing of scholarly resources.



Information for contributors

You can submit to Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation through this link.

Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, or RTF document file format.
  • Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.

Author Guidelines

Submissions to CSI/ÉCI must be submitted online as Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) documents. Submissions written with software other than Word must be checked by the author for compatibility with Word before submission.The text should be single-spaced. Submissions should not exceed 6,000 words and must follow the MLA Handbook of Style, eighth edition. Submissions that do not employ MLA style will be returned to author(s) and not assessed by the journal's editors. Please use embedded references and where necessary use endnotes rather than footnotes. At the end of your paper include a list only of Works Cited in the paper. All article submissions are peer-reviewed. Please be careful to remove any author identification and use "Author" and year in the bibliography and footnotes, instead of authors' names, titles, etc. for self-authored works. The author's name must also be removed from the document's Properties, which in Microsoft Word is found in the File menu. Please submit as supplementary files along with your manuscript any Web-ready images, sound, or audio clips, that you would like to include in your online publication. The total number of sound samples should not exceed 4 minutes. Do not list your name as creator or owner of the file in order to protect the blind peer review. All images must be placed in the document by the author. Submissions must not have been previously published nor be before another journal for consideration. In any other circumstance, an explanation must be provided in Comments to the Editor. Submissions that are not formatted using MLA or do not follow the above Author Guidelines will be returned to the author.

Copyright Notice

Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. Manuscripts submitted to CSI/ÉCI should be original works that have not been published elsewhere. Note that authors are responsible for obtaining permission, as appropriate, to include copyrighted material in any article or review published in CSI/ÉCI.

Privacy Statement

The names and email addresses entered in this journal site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.

Editorial board

Editorial Team


  • Eric Fillion (Department of History, Queen's University)
  • Daniel Fischlin (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph)
  • Ajay Heble (School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph)
  • Kevin McNeilly (Department of English, University of British Columbia)
  • Alyssa Woods (School of Fine Art and Music, University of Guelph)

Book Reviews Editor

  • Chris J Tonelli (Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen)

Associate Editors

  • jashen edwards (PhD Candidate, Music Education, Western University)
  • Erin Felepchuk (PhD Candidate, Critical Studies in Improvisation, University of Guelph)

Managing Editor

  • Sam Boer (University of Guelph)

Past Editors

  • Frederique Arroyas (University of Guelph)
  • Ellen Waterman (Music, Carleton University)

Board Members

  • Georgina Born (Faculty of Music, Oxford University)
  • Eric Lewis (Department of Philosophy, McGill University)
  • George E. Lewis (Department of Music, Columbia University)
  • George Lipsitz (Department of Black Studies, University of California)
  • Jesse Stewart (School of Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University)