This interdisciplinary studio reflects the widening of music and film studies in the last thirty years to include popular music, and popular culture linking art, music, film, advertising, social issues and minority struggles for liberation. It aims to examine how popular music and culture, industry-based and cultural perspectives have shaped music and its use in film and media. This studio positively welcomes students from all disciplines in the Cass and gives students an opportunity to examine the cultural and social importance of music in present and past society.
Issues of race, gender, class and politics are fundamental: groups like Public Enemy, and singers like Nina Simone and Fela Kuti, are emblematic of black struggle against white oppression or how Madonna and other female artists worked to liberate women through their careers and representation within society. Any period of time or geographical culture can be studied. Today, women suffer still from stereotyping in a male-dominated music industry, although female performers such as Madonna, Bjork, and Lady Gaga challenge these norms. Taylor Swift, for example, prompted wide debate concerning the downloading of music via the internet. Female performers, and especially composers, have often been obscured in musical history. Female opera singers in the nineteenth century, through their performing careers, gained great financial and social independence, unparalleled among women of the time.
In looking at genres of music and city soundscapes one could consider the identity of sounds connected with particular natural settings and architectural spaces such as the way in which popular music has developed in different geographical areas of Liverpool; or the relationship of therapeutic music to visual and architectural aspects of a hospital setting. Other topics could include: the dissemination of music in the digital era; The Beatles’ legacy and heritage; musical instruments as symbols and icons; instruments and sustainability; emotion in music, media and film; music and instruments in different cultures and religious contexts across the world; gypsy jazz, hip hop, folk musics; and opera, musical theatre, noise music, dance; music therapy; and states of consciousness in film music. It is an open studio where a wide variety of topics and intersection of disciplines can be accommodated.
Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities
- British Library, Recorded Sound archive
‘The Sound Archive Listening and Viewing Service at the St Pancras building offers free access to our huge collection of recorded sound and video: music, wildlife, drama, literature, oral history and BBC broadcasts.’
- British Library, Sound and Moving Image Catalogue
- The Living Maps network is hosting this one day conference on the cultural legacy of 1968 and its impact on minority struggle and class and sexual liberation
- Personalities and faces: Look at current exhibitions connected with popular music, world music and opera. An example is Michael Jackson – On the Wall at the National Portrait Gallery, which we will visit. An exhibition of the impact and legacy of Michael Jackson on contemporary Art (more info, video)
- Opera and Disability: watch series of talks and workshops aimed at inking opera with contemporary questions of liberation and making opera really relevant to different groups and ages.
- Go to a talk on the intersection of museum culture and popular music and its physical and visual representation. Look here for suggestions.
Studio 01: Imperfect Theories
Things can lead to theories. They can point to a way of seeing artefacts or objects that is more significant than the thing itself.
Studio 02: Narrative, Storytelling and Time
This studio focus on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We particularly focus on time in narrative, and the studio undertakes a brief aesthetics of time and thinks about how art and culture has imagined time.
Studio 03: Memento
The Memento research studio employs a critical, layered and multi-disciplinary approach to the problems around memory and society.
Studio 04: Knowing Audiences
In this studio we will be thinking about audiences, how they can be understood, theorised and researched.
Studio 05: Small Encounters
Emma Davenport and Gina Pierce
Textiles present exciting material and theoretical opportunities for us to think through our practice, to make sense of the world around us in the past, present and future.
Studio 06: Performative Acts: Art, Architecture and Writing
Nico de Oliveira
In the last decade or so we have moved from objects to subjects or audiences. In parallel, the word performative has been adapted from a theoretical term to a key rubric within the discourse of contemporary art, architecture and beyond.
Studio 07: Meaningful Work
"The aim of art is to destroy the curse of labour by making work the pleasurable satisfaction of our impulse towards energy, and giving to that energy the hope of producing something worth the exercise." William Morris
Studio 08: The Liminal
This Dissertation Studio examines instances of the liminal as they occur in critical theory and culture, and is open to any topic and students from all disciplines.
Studio 09: The Form of the Text
Studio 9 encourages you to approach the dissertation as a crafted textual project. Through workshops and seminars we will consider some of the elements and activities of which the dissertation is comprised, and look at innovative and exciting ways to work with the form of the text, and the act of building it.
Studio 10: Science Fiction Futurity
The utopia of technology never quite arrived. In the 1960s, you often hear, we were promised flying cars, space settlements, robot butlers and the end of work. But then, curiously, the horizon of futurity diminished.
Studio 11: Commonism
Commonism – with an o in the middle – explores how political activism, participatory design processes, interventionism, collective action and shared authorship are transforming the world of art, architecture and design.
Studio 12: Globalism
For good or ill, we live in a global world. Whilst this may appear to be obvious, globalism is only a relatively recent term as is the phenomenon itself. What do we mean by this? How did we arrive in this place?
Studio 13: Data Stories
Dissertations produced in this studio will be informed by critical research into how data is collected and then used as raw material with which to make or mediate architecture, design and art work.
Studio 14: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture, and Liberation through Music and Performance
This interdisciplinary studio reflects the widening of music and film studies in the last thirty years to include popular music, and popular culture linking art, music, film, advertising, social issues and minority struggles for liberation.
Studio 15: London Walking
Walking as a mode of art practice has its roots in the Dada and Situationist movements of the early twentieth century, with significant developments during the conceptual ‘turn’ of the 1960s.
Studio 16: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.