Eurovision Song Contest / Song Context International Conference

From Tuesday 3 May 2022 at 10:00am, to Wednesday 4 May 2022 at 6:00pm

The International Conference "Song Contest / Song Context - Transmedia perspectives on Eurovision" will take place on 3-4 May 2022 in the Main Hall of the Cavallerizza Reale (via Giuseppe Verdi 9 - Torino) and Rettorato (via Verdi, 8 - Torino).


Eurovision Song Contest, born in 1956, is one of the longest-running international television shows and the most watched non-sporting event in the world. The choice of Turin as the 2022 ESC host city, more than twenty years after the last Italian edition, offers a valuable opportunity for reflecting on Eurovision as a device for understanding the cultural history of Europe through popular music and audiovisuals.
The project developed by the University of Turin will include an international academic conference, round tables and a calendar of events with music and media professionals, and artists.


Encouraging a transdisciplinary approach to the understanding of Eurovision, the program will be organized in fourchannels”, to be declined through a list of transversal keywords.


For 65 years Eurovision has told the history of Europe. As a continental stage, ESC has been, and still is, one of the most significant sites for representing different identities in Europe – either national, cosmopolitan or local, or regarding gender and generations. It is a place for diplomacy and politics, for confrontation and reconciliation, for being “united in diversity”, as the EU official motto states; where the spectacular hides a complex network of histories and geographies, from the Cold War to the post-pandemic era. The flexibility of European borders used in the competition, the difference between larger and smaller countries, the inclusion of non-European countries such as Australia, the extensive use of English, and the US adaptation of the format make Eurovision the space for a constant geographical and cultural negotiation of European media identity.

Keywords: identity, nation, cosmopolitanism, international relations, gender, generations, contemporary history, memory, Covid-19


Visual culture stands at the core of Eurovision: as one of the longest-running television shows in the world, ESC has both mirrored and shaped the visual and performative codes of TV and music entertainment, stardom, and fashion. ESC is often kitsch, camp, queer; it is both tradition and innovation. With the rise of social media and digital platforms, and particularly during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, ESC has reinvented itself in the light of new challenges and new modes of representation. ESC is entertainment, where people show themselves, and demand to be seen. The participants, their carefully studied performances, the media construction of the pre-event preparation, the presenting style, the host countries narratives, the “tour of Europe” of the voting phases, the rules… all of these can be understood as a form of television writing, as well as a ritual, and a form of entertainment in itself.

Keywords: fashion, performance, body, visual culture, television, celebrity, identity, gender, spectacle, Covid-19, social media, digital media, queer, camp


Songs are the heart of Eurovision. The history of European music and cultural industries, along with the changes in musical fashions, voices and sounds, are part of ESC history. At the same time, the popular music history told by Eurovision has always been quite an eccentric one, where the US is the periphery, and the diversity of European languages and identities is celebrated. The musical dimension of Eurovision is a space of constant friction and negotiation between local and global dimensions, triggered both by the reinterpretation of national traditions (or their invention, and re-invention), and the search for a common, shared language (pop music, but also the increasing use of English in the lyrics).

Keywords: music, sound, voice, pop culture, language, identity, music industry


Directly inspired by the model of the Sanremo Festival, and inspiring countless other formats (including today’s talent shows), Eurovision has popularized music competitions on a continental level, and built its fandom through it. The way different countries have defined their representatives’ access to the competition over time, and the increasing attention to the strategies of hype-building and promotion, contribute in catalyzing the attention of the audience, and in creating the event.

Keywords: competition, fandom, international relations, entertainment, performance, promotion