Embodying Transience: Narratives of Touring and Wellbeing from Canadian Musicians

Authors: Amelia Merhar*, University of Waterloo
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Health and Medical, Migration
Keywords: musicians, mobilities, wellbeing and mobilities, embodiment, transience
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 8
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Touring popular musicians often have poor mental health, low income, high rates of substance use and frequently disrupted circadian rhythms that the career demands (Gross & Musgrave, 2020). What other career provides free alcohol when you show up to work, to help you 'get ready'? This article combines existing research on the health and wellbeing of musicians with narrative interview findings to better understand of the long-term impacts of touring and travel from an embodied musician’s perspective. Touring is seen here as cultural mobility, and the musician as a mobile figure. How do musicians think all the travel has impacted their wellbeing and relationships? Do the experiences of musicians who travel within the realm of affective labour differ significantly from others less emotionally invested in their work? This paper contributes to feminist geographic work and mobilities literature by continuing to develop the concept ‘the embodiment of transience’ (Merhar 2017, Merhar 2020). As well, this paper adds to health geography discourse by questioning place as stable in relation to health and wellbeing.

Gross, S. A., & Musgrave, G. (2020). Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the Price of Musical Ambition. London: University of Westminster Press.
Merhar, A. (2017). Moving Home: The Art and Embodiment of Transience Among Youth Emerging from Canadas Child Welfare System. York University, Thesis.
Merhar, A. (2020) Embodying Transience, Chapter 8, in Immigration in the Circumpolar North: Integration and Resilience. Routledge.

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