Home of Metal Symposium and Workshop
Music Heritage, People and Place
13-14th September 2019
Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research
Birmingham City University
1. Call for Papers
Friday 13th September 2019
This public symposium seeks to bring together researchers, policy makers, heritage and creative workers and musicians.
We welcome contributions from fans and heritage consumers in response to their experience of the Home of Metal exhibitions and events.
Home of Metal (HoM) is a heritage project created and led by the Capsule organisation. Launched in 2011, supported by volunteers, building a crowd-sourced archive and curating a range of popular public events in Birmingham and the Black Country, HoM seeks to highlight and celebrate the value of Heavy Metal music and culture and the role in it of founding artists from the English midlands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest. In 2017 the project went international in its reach, exploring metal culture around the world with a particular focus on Black Sabbath. As a result, in 2019 a range of exhibitions and events will take place in ‘celebration of an artform created in Birmingham that maintains significant global reach and influence.’ The value of this approach is indicated by the Wall Street Journal that has described the genre as the real ‘World Music’, that ‘Heavy Metal has become the unlikely soundtrack of globalisation’ (2016).
Open to all, this public symposium and workshop, seeks to situate HoM in relation to wider heritage issues and opportunities in order to understand its value and impact at home and abroad. For instance, UNESCO’s designation of ‘Creative Cities’ fosters innovation and cultural creativity, recognizing popular music amongst its specialized categories. Sites identified as a ‘City of Music’ include Glasgow and Liverpool in the UK, Kingston, Jamaica and lately Kansas City, USA. How does the ‘Home of Metal’ fit alongside such company?
The ‘Creative Cities’ designation indicates the importance of music to the identity of particular places, the activity focused on popular music genres like Heavy Metal generated by fans and community activists, as well as produced in archives, museums and galleries by professional cultural workers. Nonetheless it is important to remember that such activity draws on the products of the commercial music industries and connects with their heritage role. From this angle then, music heritage also includes (amongst other things): reissued recordings; artist tours; film biographies; television documentaries; radio retrospectives; and popular publications, as well as aspects of tourism and leisure industries.
What is the meaning of this range of heritage activity and what role does a project like Home of Metal play in it? How does music heritage matter and what debates are promoted between fans and heritage consumers, policy makers, heritage and creative workers, musicians and researchers?
In order to explore these issues, we invite presentations, papers, creative responses and contributions, demonstrations and proposals for activities and commentary addressing, but not limited to, the following questions:
What issues are presented by the preservation of metal music and culture for fans and museum curators?
What role does music heritage and memory play in place-making?
What role do issues of identity (e.g. gender, race, sexuality) play in music heritage?
What is the economic and cultural value of music heritage?
What are the good, bad and ugly stories of music heritage?
What is the relationship of music heritage, creativity and new music scenes?
How is music heritage consumed?
What does cultural policy have to say about music heritage?
Proposals of no more than 300 words should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 January 2019 accompanied by a short biography and contact details. Selection and scheduling will be organised in conjunction with the organisers of Home of Metal. Invitations to participate will be sent by the end of February.
2. Call for Participants
Saturday 14th September 2019
We invite anyone interested in attending the Home of Metal exhibitions and events in June-September 2019 to participate in a workshop on the theme of home, metal and heritage. We will develop skills of evaluation, debate and presentation concerned with popular music heritage.
The workshop is free to attend with refreshments available.
Free entry to the Home of Metal exhibition is provided as part of the workshop.
The condition of participation is based on contribution to a workshop on the value and engagement of music heritage and the production of a number of group outputs (‘fanzine’, interviews, podcast).
Participants will be asked to: reflect on their own impressions of the Home of Metal exhibition (in writing, illustrations, to camera or microphone as preferred); to engage with other participants at the exhibition regarding wider reactions to Home of Metal; to participate in a group workshop and discussion on the impact of Home of Metal and music heritage.
Draft Itinerary (TBC)
10.00 Welcome and coffee.
10.30 Briefing and Brainstorm: Where is the Home of Metal? What is Popular Music Heritage?
11.30 Researching the ‘Home of Metal Exhibition’.
2.00 Lunch and Interactive Research Session.
5.00 Podcast recording.
3. Report on Home of Metal and Music Heritage in Birmingham
As a result of the symposium and workshop our intention is to produce a report on Home of Metal and Music Heritage in Birmingham aimed at policy makers, music industries and conumers. Contributions from participants are welcome as well as commentary from those attending events who may not be able to attend the symposium and workshop or from those unable to visit but who may have experience as creators, consumers and researchers of other music heritage enterprises around the world.
If colleagues are unable to attend the symposium but intend to visit HoM events in 2019 we would be pleased to welcome you to BCMCR while in Birmingham so please do get in touch.