2012/13 was a year of diverse music-related events that included public performances; site-responsive and improvised music events; gigs bringing together international underground scenes; and a conference on the political resonances of the Do It Yourself ethos in music, and was rounded off with the free cross-city music festival Bradford Threadfest. 2014/15 will be another year of practice-led research for me as I explore music as a social practice.
I think it’s useful to think about music as a far-reaching, multidisciplinary social activity. Musician and educator David Elliott uses the term ‘musicing’ to explain the many parts of music making that go beyond the performance of an instrument. He also highlights the importance of ‘artistic listening’. Similarly, I’m interested in the expanded understanding of music that students of John Cage applied to their performances in the Fluxus concerts of the ‘50s and ‘60s, where appreciation extended not just to music as sound but also to the action that makes a sound.
Can we have music without performance or sound? Can composition include human interactions and the arrangement of bodies and everyday actions? Can a shopping list be a musical score? Are bikes instruments? Testing some of the boundaries of what we consider to be music expands the range of those who can call themselves musicians, making music more democratic and inclusive with more active participants and fewer passive consumers. When I started the role of Fellow in Music I hoped to apply Joseph Beuys’ idea that ‘everyone is an artist’ to music and create spaces in which everyone can be a musician. I hope to use the 2013/14 programme to further demonstrate and test the limits of this notion.
Over the summer, the Tasmin Little Music Centre hosted a range of activity, including South Asian music workshops with Chris Hladowski and the Five Star Academy, as well as being used as a hub for developing new groups, including the Bradford Open Orchestra. In September, M@BU will be a key partner in the inaugural RECON festival, a high-profile music, art and film event celebrating pioneers in their fields that takes place across Leeds and Bradford/ From now until October the artist collective Black Dogs (of which I am a member) will be presenting a series of events and interventions delving into Bradford’s history as an epicentre of radical cultural activity. This project will use Jeff Nuttall’s book Bomb Culture as a lens through which to decipher the current artistic and political landscape. Later in the year ¿Folk Narratives¿ will return to offer a taste of contemporary interpretations of ‘the people’s music’. You can find out specific details of all this activity by joining our mailing list and keeping a close eye on this site. We look forward to having you involved.
Fellow in Music
University of Bradford
Autumn/Winter 2013 Events
Check out the Recon festival sound archive