IIPC Debate 24 September

IIPC Debate 104
Tue 24th September, 4-6 pm, Seminar Room Hovi (Artium, Kaivokatu 12, Turku)
Professor Sara Cohen, University of Liverpool (Faculty of Humanities Visiting Professor, University of Turku)
Mapping the Musical City: Heritage, Memory and the Popular Music Past in Urban England

This paper considers the impact of music on how people live in and engage with the world, by exploring how music is related to place and why this matters. More specifically, the paper explores efforts to map music, particularly popular music, by drawing on research conducted in the city of Liverpool and across England more generally. This research was driven by an anthropological concern with music as a social practice and experience, and by an interest in practices of remembering the musical past and constructing music as heritage.

The first part of the paper discusses how the musical past has been mapped across various social and institutional contexts. It compares, for example, the creation of maps featuring sites of music heritage for place-marketing purposes, with the life-mapping undertaken by individuals as they remember their own personal musical past. The second part of the paper explains that while these practices of mapping and remembering anchor music in space and place, they also highlight the complex, dynamic and contested ways in which people engage with places through music. This provides a basis for two concluding points: firstly, to understand music as both a social and spatial practice, it is important to trace the journeys through which people engage with and navigate places through music; secondly, music offers people a unique means of mapping and placing themselves in the world, which helps to explain why it matters.

Sara Cohen is Professor of Music, IPM, University of Liverpool. She have specialised in research on popular music, with a particular interest in anthropological and ethnographic research on music as a social and spatial practice and how people engage with places through music. This has involved a long series of projects on music and cities, including those exploring the development of local music cultures and identities, and how music is related to urban regeneration and landscape, and to cultural tourism, promoting popular music as national heritage, musical migration – in such places as Liverpool – and how popular music is related to the vernacular remembering of local audiences, practices of autobiographical remembering and relating music to ideas and experiences of ageing.

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