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Popular Music Studies: Where Now?, IASPM UK and Ireland Conference 2002
Newcastle, July 2002

IASPM UK and Ireland Conference 2002
University of Newcastle, 16-18 July

'Popular Music Studies: Where Now?'

Popular music studies is now a firmly established academic discipline.  
In particular, the work of the International Association for the Study of
Popular Music has facilitated the emergence of a global community of
researchers whose work illustrates the central importance of popular music
in relation to a range of social formations and cultural forms in both
global and local contexts.  Recent developments in popular music studies
relate, for example, to the complex interplay between global and local
music-making practices, the impact of new technologies, and the variety of
ways of interpreting the music in the context both of cultural change and
numerous theoretical debates.  Despite this high level of activity,
however, the extent of dialogue between academic researchers, creative
practitioners, and music educators remains disappointing.

The aims of the conference will be to reflect on the issues outlined
above, and to offer thoughts on the questions where popular music studies
is now, and where it is going (or ought to go).  We are interested both in
general theoretical reflections and in concrete studies which illustrate
the arguments.  We anticipate grouping discussions into the following

1 Popular music: commerce, creativity and cultural policy

How is 'creativity' to be defined and promoted in this sphere?  
Political, geographical and institutional considerations are all relevant,
together with issues of censorship, market pressures and generic
convention, not to mention philosophical considerations to do with taste,
identity and agency.

2 Teaching popular music

How do/should schools and FE/HE institutions approach this?  What issues
to do with pedagogy, sociological categories, aesthetics and canons are

3 Understanding Popular Music

What methods are now used, or may be considered for use, in the study of
popular music?  What topics or areas of research are useful, or might be
considered for use?  Theoretical papers and concrete applications are
equally welcome.

Proposals which do not appear to fit neatly into the above categories but
which break new ground are also welcome.

Form of papers

The standard format is the twenty-minute paper.  However, proposals for
panel discussions, workshops, and poster presentations are also welcome.

Deadline for proposals

Proposals for individual presentations, of not more than 300 words, and
for group activities, of not more than 500 words, should be submitted to
Richard Middleton by 1 March 2002.  Please include full contact details
with your proposal, which should preferably be sent by e-mail, to (attachments should be sent in RTF or some
other generic format).  If e-mail is impossible, the postal address is:
Professor Richard Middleton, Department of Music, University of Newcastle,
Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.

Anyone wishing to register for the conference should contact Richard 
Middleton for a Registration Form.