BCMCR Research Seminar – Popular Music: What is Research-Led Teaching in Popular Music Studies?
1600-1730 Wednesday 23 May
C424, Curzon, Birmingham City University
Free registration at this link
An abiding issue addressed by many academics concerns the purpose of their teaching, learning and research. This is not to question the intrinsic value of knowledge and its pursuit for its own sake although, as critics of the disenchantment of the culture of the UK’s education sector suggest, ‘value’ is now a reductive term tied to measurements of profit, loss, recruitment figures and research income. For many academics, a reflexive approach to the nature of their work, its robustness and renewal, is a proper and indivisible aspect of their professional integrity, a quality that, as Stefan Collini has argued, is under daily attack in UK universities.
In part, the marketization of UK education means that particular ways of thinking about the purposefulness of education are foremost in the minds of students too. The advent of full fees as well as the expansion of the sector in its uneven address to the UK’s diverse demographic impel instrumental expectations of a ‘return on investment’. However, this is not to deny the overt and covert ways in which a higher education contributes to one’s life chances and social distinction and the responsibilities of educators to their students.
Debates about value are not at all new to the field of media and cultural studies, particular those courses (usually located in post ’92 institutions) which involve a vocational element. Long before students were compelled to pay for their studies, the worth of this field met with sustained attack, not least of all from media and creative industries professionals. For the Birmingham School of Media, reflection on the purpose of our courses is a live issue as we review our history and plan for our future in the febrile environment. We are interested in the traditional forms and role of research and its relationship with the creative and technical qualities of media production, circulation and consumption. How does our research and teaching contribute to the development of graduates as culturally literate citizens as well as their potential as creative professionals without reducing our approach to a form of rote training? In particular, how are these general questions played out in the particular specialisms of our field – e.g.: here in popular music studies?
The purpose of this workshop session is to engage participants in exploring our mission and renewing the debate around our objectives. It will be focussed in particular on the insights and reflections on the motivations and design for our provision of BA and MA research-led courses in Media Industries in BSM. These will be presented by Matt Grimes and Iain Taylor and framed by wider debates about media and cultural studies offered by interlocutor Julian MacDougall.
The aim of this session is to involve attendees in contributing to discussion. We hope that colleagues and students in the Birmingham School of Media and across ADM will be willing to represent their particular specialism. In addition, we welcome contributions from non-university participants, particularly those from the music and wider creative industries.
If you would like to make an active contribution to the session, please let us know in advance.
About the speakers:
Paul Long is Professor of Media and Cultural History. He is currently researching i) the relationship of UK students with post-war popular music cultures and ii) issues of music heritage and history, particularly the nature of popular songs as historical resource. His book Memorialising Popular Music Culture: History, Heritage and The Archive will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2020.
Julian McDougall is Professor of Media & Education, Head of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He edits Media Practice & Education, convenes the Media Education Summit & leads a Professional Doctorate programme in Creative & Media Education.
Iain Taylor is a Lecturer in Music Industries in the Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University, and currently completing his PhD at University of the West of Scotland. His research is concerned with the negotiation of value around music formats, and physical relationships with recorded music in an age of ever increasing digital intangibility
Asya Draganova is a Lecturer in Media and Communications at Birmingham City University and is part of the teaching team for the newly introduced BA Music Industries. Asya’s research is focussed on popular music in relation to themes such as social change, subcultural scenes and resistance, cultural politics of heritage, and place and identity. Her work has engaged particularly wiith Bulgarian popular music, heavy metal, post-punk, and the signature style referred to as the ‘Canterbury Sound’.
Matt Grimes is a Senior Lecturer in Music Industries and Radio at the Birmingham School of Media. He is also a PhD candidate at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research where his research interests focus on anarcho-punk, ageing, memory and nostalgia. He has published some stuff too.