Monday, 2 December 2013
An article I co-authored with Alison Huber has just been published in the journal Popular Music History (vol. 7, no. 3, 2012). Titled ‘Masters of our own destiny’, this article presents a case study of the Victorian Jazz Archive.
Friday, 29 November 2013
A panel co-organised with Jez Collins (Birmingham City University and Birmingham Music Archive) titled “A pile of history, found in my parents attic”: The everyday histories and archives of popular music heritage” has been accepted for the conference Pop-Life: The Value of Popular Music in the Twenty First Century to be held at the University of Northampton, UK, on 6-7 June 2014. In addition to a co-authored paper by the co-organisers, other papers on the panel will be by Lisa Busby (Goldsmiths, University of London and Editions of You) and Paul Long (Birmingham City University).
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Over the last few days I have been in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) attending the International Association for the Study of Popular Music Australia-New Zealand branch annual conference. This year the theme was Popular Music Communities, Places and Ecologies and the conference sought to foster scholarly engagement with the various ways in which music, people and place are connected (see the original call for papers here).
Saturday, 12 October 2013
I’ve been in Melbourne this past fortnight for a stint of fieldwork at the Victorian Jazz Archive. I first visited the archive in June 2012 as part of the Popular Music and Cultural Memory project, so it has been great to be back amongst the volunteers and see what changes have occurred over the last year and a bit.
Saturday, 31 August 2013
My third visit to the South Australian Jazz Archive in as many months saw me attending its AGM and another book club meeting, as well as conducting interviews with committee member and current Treasurer, Bill Wood, and his wife and SAJA volunteer, Kerry Wood. I also met with Mal Eustice who, with Pam Swanson, founded the “PAMAL Archive Research Museum” and who regularly donates artefacts to the SAJA’s collection.
Wednesday, 7 August 2013
I had hoped to make it back to Germany later this year to visit Jazz Museum Bix Eiben Hamburg and so was sad to learn of the museum’s recent closure. Once again this year (see my post from 29 January 2013) the issue of the sustainability of DIY archives has been brought to the fore.
Monday, 29 July 2013
Not strictly about DIY archives but my latest publication in the journal Popular Music -- an article about cultural memory and canonisation in Australia's 'country music capital' -- might be of interest to some readers of this blog.
Thursday, 18 July 2013
This week I made a return visit to the South Australian Jazz Archive. This was a jam-packed two days beginning with an interview with the Archive’s current president and archivist, Don Hopgood, who was a catalyst in the SAJA’s founding.
Saturday, 13 July 2013
A book proposal has been submitted for an edited collection tentatively titled Do-it-Yourself, Do-it-Together: Preserving Popular Music Heritage.
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Saturday, 6 July 2013
'Notes towards a typology of the DIY institution: Identifying do-it-yourself places of popular music preservation', the article I co-wrote with Alison Huber (RMIT University), has now been published on Sage OnlineFirst.
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
If you are interested in the archiving of popular music then consider signing up to the newly formed Music Archive Network. This network has been set up by Sound and Music, the Institute of Popular Music at the University of Liverpool and the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University.
Friday, 28 June 2013
I’m currently working with activist archivist Jez Collins (Birmingham City University and founder of the Birmingham Music Archive) on the creation of a database that logs popular music archives and museums from around the world.
Friday, 14 June 2013
Earlier this week I made a visit to the South Australian Jazz Archive in Adelaide, South Australia. This archive is a little younger than the Victorian Jazz Archive (the largest of Australia's DIY jazz archives), having been founded in 2003/4. Run entirely by volunteers, the archive seeks to preserve, collect, catalogue and display material that pertains to ‘the origin and development of the various styles of jazz, swing, and “hot” dance music in South Australia to the present day’, including material relating to ‘relevant performances and recordings by South Australian musicians in South Australia and elsewhere in the world’. The archive’s catchphrase is “Saving and celebrating our jazz heritage”.
Friday, 3 May 2013
I had no idea what to expect on my visit to Eisenach, a town of 40,000 people in the former East Germany. Eisenach is home to the Lippmann & Rau Music Archive, formerly the Internationales Jazzarchiv. When I arrived I had not yet had confirmation of my visit to the archive and this gave me some time to find out about the town. What I discovered in my visits to Eisenach's museums and to Wartburg Castle was that Eisenach is a really interesting place with strong theological connections (Martin Luther) and historical links to a number of important classical musicians (Wagner, Telemann and Bach).
Friday, 26 April 2013
Another successful archive visit; this time to SwissJazzOrama located in Uster, a short train journey from central Zurich, Switzerland.
Monday, 22 April 2013
Thursday, 11 April 2013
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
There is a really exciting special ‘music heritage’ issue of the International Journal of Heritage Studies coming out soon(ish). A number of articles from the special issue are already available online. Of particular interest to this project is an article by Les Roberts and Sara Cohen called ‘Unauthorising popular music heritage: outline of a critical framework’ .
Saturday, 30 March 2013
Preserving and/or digitizing decaying audio tapes is a task being undertaken in many DIY archives globally. Arc Musica is a project being undertaken in Cameroon, where "audio doctor" Joachim Oelsner has been working with local people to preserve that country's musical legacy before it completely deteriorates under harsh environmental conditions. An article about Oelsner's work can be found here.
Monday, 25 March 2013
Jez Collins, the activist archivist responsible for the Birmingham Music Archive, has alerted me to some really exciting archival projects currently underway in various parts of Africa. I share some of these here:
Monday, 18 March 2013
I'm in the process of organising my next stint of overseas fieldwork. This will be another trip to Europe, beginning mid-April. So far I've lined up a visit to the Klaus-Kuhnke-Archiv für Populäre Musik in Bremen, Germany.
Thursday, 28 February 2013
Over the last few days I’ve been re-reading interview transcripts from the fieldwork I did in Iceland in 2010 and 2011 as I try and finalise a chapter on the working conditions of Icelandic musicians following the financial crash of 2008. The interviews I conducted in Reykjavik covered a lot of territory and I spoke to people from across the music sector. While the chapter I’m writing is completely unrelated to this current project on DIY archives, revisiting the interviews I did with people interested in Icelandic music heritage reminded me of an interesting conversation I had with one of my interviewees about the current status of popular music preservation in that country.
Friday, 8 February 2013
The fieldwork continued today with a visit to the British Library to interview Andy Linehan, the curator of the popular music collection in the library's sound archive. I met with Andy in order to learn more about the history of the archive and its DIY beginnings. The British Library Sound Archive is an excellent example of how a grassroots-style institution, in this case the British Institute of Recorded Sound founded by Patrick Saul, can become legitimised to the extent that it amalgamates with a national institution with the gravitas of the British Library.
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
It has been a jazzy start to the DIY Archives project. Following my visits earlier this week to the Nederlands Jazz Archief in Amsterdam, today I travelled to Loughton in Essex, UK, to meet with the wonderful folk at the National Jazz Archive.
Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Over the last two mornings I've been at the Muziekgebouw aan't IJ to visit the new office of the Nederlands Jazz Archief, a DIY institution founded in 1980. The NJA is still in the process of setting up their office following the closure of the Music Centre Netherlands at the end of 2012 (the NJA had been part of the MCN for the past 4-odd years). The cessation of the MCN has led to a separation of the people at the heart of the archive's activities from the archive's collection which will now be housed at the University of Amsterdam (where Ditmer Weertman will continue its curation). This is a very new situation and as Paul Gompe described it, the NJA is in something of a "twilight zone" as they start figuring out how the "new" enterprise will move forward.
Friday, 1 February 2013
Today I presented a paper (co-authored with Alison Huber) at the "Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity" (POPID) conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Thursday, 31 January 2013
During discussion at the “DIY Preservation” round table held yesterday as part of the ‘Re/soundings: Documenting music and memory’ event in Rotterdam, Professor George McKay (University of Salford) questioned the use of the term DIY to describe the kinds of heritage institutions that I am exploring in this project. His argument was that “DIY is about grassroots, alternative culture and politics” and so using ‘DIY’ in the context of these archives and museums “depoliticizes” the concept.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
This afternoon I participated in a round table on “DIY Preservation” that was held as part of the ‘Re/soundings: Documenting music and memory’ event in Rotterdam. The round table was billed as a “knowledge exchange” and this turned out to be a very accurate description of what ensued.
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
The fragility of DIY institutions was highlighted for me today following some correspondence with a DIY archivist in the UK. I was saddened to learn that the British Archive of Country Music (BACM) could possibly close its doors if someone isn’t willing to take on this collection of over 500,000 recordings and associated country music artefacts. If this doesn’t happen, the archivist foresees that the collection may very well end up in a tip.
Monday, 21 January 2013
Later his month I will be presenting a plenary paper at the "Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity" (POPID) conference being held in Rotterdam on 31 January-1 February. The paper, co-written with Alison Huber, comes out of the work we did for the Popular Music and Cultural Memory project and draws on our interviews and fieldwork at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth, New South Wales. Prior to the conference, on 30 January, I will be participating in a round table discussion on "DIY Preservationism" at the Re/soundings Knowledge Exchange Event.
Thursday, 17 January 2013
Another article I co-authored with Alison Huber has been accepted for publication. The article, titled '"Masters of our own destiny": cultures of preservation at the Victorian Jazz Archive in Melbourne, Australia', is scheduled for publication in the journal Popular Music History.
Friday, 11 January 2013
An article on DIY institutions that I co-authored with Alison Huber has been accepted for publication in the European Journal of Cultural Studies. The article, titled 'Notes Towards a Typology of the DIY Institution: identifying do-it-yourself places of popular music preservation', identifies a series of commonalities that emerge across the DIY institutions we visited for the 'Popular Music and Cultural Memory' project.
Friday, 4 January 2013
As part of the research undertaken for the project 'Popular Music and Cultural Memory' (DP1092910, 2010-12), I visited a number or popular music archives and museums which encapsulated the spirit of DIY (do-it-yourself). Working with my colleague, Dr Alison Huber, we came to call these places 'DIY institutions' which we define as follows:
DIY institutions are places of popular music preservation, archiving and display that exist outside the bounds of ‘official’ or ‘national’ projects of collection and heritage management. These projects emerge instead from within communities of music consumption, where groups of interested people have, to some degree, undertaken to ‘do-it-themselves’, creating places (physical and/or online) to store -- and, in some cases, display publicly -- the material history of music culture. In these places, people (largely volunteers) who are not expert in tasks associated with archiving, records management, preservation, or other elements involved in cultural heritage management, learn skills along the way as they work to collect, preserve and make public artefacts related to popular music culture. These places are, we argue, suggestive of broader desires from within communities of popular music consumption to preserve popular music heritage. (Baker & Huber, forthcoming)