(IMPORTANT NOTE: the conference, originally planned for 14 – 16 May 2020 and 15–17 October 2020, has been postponed once more to 7 – 9 October 2021 due to measures taken with respect to the Coronavirus Covid-19)
University of Antwerp, Belgium, 7 – 9 October 2021
According to the online Cambridge Dictionary, the prefix ‘re-’ stands for “do again” or “returning something to its original state”.
These two letters can be used in various combinations, many of which relate to core issues of pop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, dance, and many other genres.
Consider the centrality of the record, a technological tool that allows reproduction, recreation, and ultimately re-evaluation.
Without records no retro. Indeed, cover and tribute bands thrive on the very idea of revivalism, allowing us to question notions of authenticity, of the global circulation of music, of the commercialisation of nostalgia.
A different result of recording is the remix. How does remixing blur the ideological boundaries surrounding genre, gender, space, place, race, and time? Is hybridity compatible with the idea of “returning something to its original state”?
And what about revolution? The civil rights struggle, May 1968 or Black Lives Matter; popular music has often been linked to protest movements. Here, music allowed to respond and react to, perhaps even reset the social, political, and economic orders of the day. The reversal, indeed even rejection or repression of revolution can be found in the often-stultifying processes of canonisation and mythologization.
And in the end, what reward lies in popular music? Should it be valuated, evaluated, or revaluated, perhaps through music competitions or education programs? How do digital media cultures affect the uses and rewards of music for audiences? Is a public performance the ultimate reward for relentlessly studying and rehearsing? To recap, should we as scholars and practitioners hit the repeat button to “do [it] again”, deepening our understanding of the music every time around?
Following the 2014 conference in Rotterdam, this IASPM Benelux conference, the first to be held in Antwerp, hopes to bring together international scholars, both from within the Benelux as outside, in all stages of their career to inspire debate and discussion on current ideas about all aspects of popular music in every form and guise. We especially invite artistic performers and representatives from the cultural and creative industries to contribute to this conference too, in order to bridge the worlds of academia and industry.