ISIM’s purpose is to promote performance, education, and research in improvised music, and illuminate connections between musical improvisation and creativity across fields.

Melding diverse cultures, ethnicities, disciplines, and ideas that shape society at large, today’s musical world is rich with creative expressions that transcend conventional styles and categories. Improvisation is a core aspect of this global confluence.

In addition to other projects, and networking among improvisers, ISIM has held eight festival/conferences since 2006, with a full schedule of talks, panel discussions, workshops, and performances during the day, and headliner performances in the evenings. Participants, including presenters, headliners, and audience, have been a mixture of academics and people from the wider musical and artistic communities. The next festival/conference will take place in May 2016 in Ontario, Canada at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and Toronto. Reflecting its commitment to diversity in its many forms, ISIM welcomes participants from the widest possible variety of ethnic, racial, cultural, and geographic backgrounds, strongly promotes gender balance, and celebrates work that is rooted in the many styles, genres, ethnic and historical traditions, methodologies and technologies both old and new, that are linked by the central practice of improvisation. ISIM encourages collaboration with improvisatory practitioners from areas beyond music, such as dance, theater, visual music, and film, and also seeks to make its events open to a wider audience. This includes public school teachers, students, children, individuals from under-served communities, and others from the general cross section of people interested in the arts.