Welcome to our website, the online home of our Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project, Popular Music and Cultural Memory: localised popular music histories and their significance for national music industries. Visit our site regularly for updates on our research's progress, as well as links to our project's outcomes as they appear. Find out more about our project and its aims here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tamworth, here we come!

In 2011, our research project will be hitting the road. The first stop on our Australia-wide tour is the Tamworth Country Music Festival in NSW.

Sarah and Alison will be in Tamworth from 13-24 January 2011 to interview some of the 60,000-odd pilgrims who travel to this event at the home of country music in Australia every year. We also want to talk to some of the many people who contribute to the festival behind the scenes, and to those who work to preserve the heritage of country music in Australia.

Are you going to the festival? Do you live in Tamworth? Would you like to be part of our research? Drop us a line at musicmemories@griffith.edu.au
to find out more.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chapter published on the 'Classic Albums' series

In an earlier post, Alison wrote about the importance of television documentaries as a 'medium that circulates stories about popular music to a wide audience'. One such documentary is the series Classic Albums and Andy and Sarah have a chapter on this documentary series in a book edited by Ian Inglis which is being published this month, called Popular Music and Television in Britain (Ashgate, 2010). Their chapter, titled 'Classic Albums: the re-presentation of the rock album on British television', considers how the documentary series presents a version of rock history that is consistent with the 'rock canon' (as produced in magazines like Rolling Stone, for example), but which emphasizes emotional dimensions of record production as contributing to the albums' canonic status.

Monday, November 29, 2010

IASPM ANZ conference 2010

We went to the annual conference of the Australia-New Zealand chapter of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM ANZ).  The conference ran from 24-26 November and was hosted by Monash University.  Two papers represented our project: 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Telling stories

Next up on our list of people to interview are the many authors who write books for a general audience about Australian music. What do they think about the important work they do in telling stories about Australia's popular music past? How do they go about this work, and what might their research and writing process tell us about how the most commonly-known narratives about music history are formed?

We are also tracking down some of the people involved in making documentaries for television about Australian music. There have been a few important examples over the last decade or so that have reached a wide audience, like Long Way to the Top (2001), Love is in the Air (2003), and Great Australian Albums (2007-8). What is the process for making these documentaries? How are their stories compiled? How is archival material sourced to find visuals for these stories about music? We hope to find out all this and more as we talk to people involved in producing these series.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Seminar at Griffith University

On 8 October 2010, Alison gave a paper in the School of Humanities seminar series at Griffith University's Gold Coast campus.  Here's the abstract:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Research at the NFSA...

Shane and Peter visited Canberra to conduct interviews with staff at one of Australia's leading national collecting institutions, the National Film and Sound Archive, in August 2010, and followed up with a few more interviews with folks in the Sydney and Melbourne offices in September.  They found out lots of fascinating information about how the archive works, the sorts of popular music artefacts the collection holds, how members of the public use the archive, and also heard about some of the challenges that the archive is facing in this era of digitization.  Staff at the NFSA were passionate about their roles as collectors of Australia's music heritage, and told us a lot about how their individual work practices contribute to the preservation of our cultural history.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Our project in the news... in Iceland!

During Sarah's trip to Iceland, she was also interviewed (in English) by programmer Guðni Tómasson for Radio 1, the Icelandic Broadcasting Service, during their culture program, 'Víðsjá' on 1 September,  and also for the newspaper, Morgunblaðið, by journalist, Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen, whose article titled 'Ástralskur poppdoktor rýnir í íslenska dægurtónlist' appeared in the 20 September issue. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Documentary memories

Over the course of this year, I've been watching a lot of television documentaries about popular music. TV docos are one medium that circulates stories about popular music to a wide audience. If you've ever watched any of them yourself, you'll know that they have a particular way of talking about the subject.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Seminar at Bifrost University

In August 2010, Sarah travelled to Europe for a six week fieldwork trip in Iceland and Austria, supported by an Australian Academy of the Humanities grant.  While she was there, she gave a paper at this symposium at Bifrost University, where she introduced the audience to our research project:

Friday, March 12, 2010

What do we mean by 'cultural memory'?

In our project, the notion of 'cultural memory' is providing us with a way of thinking about what we see as the traces of the past in the present. More than being another way of saying 'the act of remembering culture', 'cultural memory' refers to a series of ideas in cultural studies and elsewhere that consider the tensions between collective and individual ways of imagining the past in our contemporary experience, and how this connects with identity in both cases. Another way of saying this is that 'cultural memory' is concerned with the relationships between the public and the private stories that we tell about the past.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What do we mean by 'popular music'?

While at first glance, what we mean by 'popular music' might seem to be quite straightforward and self-explanatory (it's music that's popular, right?), there has been considerable discussion in academic circles about what actually constitutes 'popular music'.

Here are a few different ways that the term might be defined (but not all of them...) and some of the problems with these definitions: