Looking Ahead: Our 2020 Vision

The University of Tulsa’s Institute for Bob Dylan Studies is looking forward to what will be a busy but exciting year.  For the last six months, we have been working quietly behind the scenes with our board members and other partners in order to develop a strategic plan designed to build on the success of the 2019 World of Dylan conference.  That event brought together 500 people from around the world who created a community that now traverses traditional boundaries between fans, scholars, performers, and teachers.  As this new year starts, we want to unveil the roadmap we have developed so you know what to expect from the Dylan Institute in the coming months.

A Professional Organization and Network

The feedback we received from the conference indicated strong support for the creation of a formal organization dedicated to the study of Dylan’s work, context, and legacy.  This new network will be anchored in the Institute and guided by an elected board that will seek to create a rich sense of community while developing a robust research infrastructure designed to support the work of its members.

A New Kind of Journal

One of the Institute’s central missions is to disseminate outstanding writing and scholarship on Dylan’s work and its place within the larger worlds of art, music, politics, and culture.  The World of Dylan conference made clear that outstanding work is already being produced and we will aim to share it through a hybrid publishing plan that mixes peer-reviewed scholarship with other kinds of critical and creative approaches.  In the coming weeks, we will announce more specific details about this publishing venture and issue our first call for contributions.

Conference in 2021

The next international conference hosted by the Dylan Institute will take place in the fall of 2021 in conjunction with the planned opening of the Bob Dylan Center here in Tulsa.  We are in the process now of negotiating with conference venues and will announce an official date for the event in March.  We anticipate an even larger audience this time around and although the focus will remain on Dylan, we will also broaden our scope in order to encompass Woody Guthrie and the rich tradition of popular songwriting more generally. 

As you can see, 2020 promises to be a busy year.  We are eager to build on the success of last year’s conference in order to create a robust new global network anchored in Dylan’s extraordinary work but also oriented toward its vast creative legacy.  Keep an eye on this page, subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook to keep in touch as roll out each of these initiatives.