Popular Music and Cultural Memory: localised popular music histories and their significance for national music industries is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project funded for three years (DP1092910, 2010-12). The project is a collaborative study, involving researchers at Griffith University (QLD), Monash University (VIC) and Macquarie University (NSW), and research partners in four other countries. The project is hosted by the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research (GCCR) at Griffith University, Australia.
We are interested in the different ways in which Australia’s popular music history and heritage appears in cultural memory, both at the public or institutional level (for example, in museums, archives, exhibitions, popular books, television documentaries, and so on), and at the private or individual level (as in the case of personal memory and recollection). Our research method revolves around two phases of data collection. The first phase comprises interviews with cultural industry workers like archivists, curators, authors and documentary makers who participate in and contribute to the public expressions of this history (2010-11). During research phase two (2011-12), we will turn our attention to interviewing audience members to find out about how they remember music in their own lives. We are interested in all kinds of audience interactions with music, from the super-fan down to the disinterested listener because we’re keen to find out about the myriad ways that music finds a place in how people remember their own past and that of the nation. In the final phase of our project (2012), we will consider the connections between these ‘public’ and ‘private’ ways of remembering, and think about how they feed into current debates in the music industry, and about Australian nationhood.
Our project will also gather comparative data from Israel, the Netherlands, the UK, Slovenia, Austria, Iceland and the USA during 2011, so that we can think about how the distinctiveness of local situations contributes to the way that music and cultural memory operates, and so connecting the local, the national and the international.