This one-day symposium looks at avant-garde music in the UK since 1970, covering Bowie, post-punk, modernist composition, electronic dance music and more.
The 1970s is recognised as a decade of cultural transition, where music evolved into new configurations of established and emerging forms. But despite recent scholarly interventions, many accounts of avant-garde music still hew to a traditional narrative in ignoring that evolution.
This symposium brings together different perspectives on how the history and historiography of ‘vanguard music’ in the UK since 1970 can be traced, documented and rethought. Scholars working on a range of different musics, from pop to composition, dance to underground, will explore the dynamics of flux that have helped to shape post-1960s UK music culture.
Prof Georgina Born and Prof Benjamin Piekut will lead a keynote discussion reflecting on how to reframe the last 50 years of vanguard music making.
Attendance is free and open to all: register to attend at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/beyond-the-avant-garde-rethinking-the-vanguard-in-british-music-since-1970-tickets-153808949709
The symposium is co-hosted by the Fringe and Underground Music Group at Goldsmiths and States of Flux at the University of Manchester.
- Session 1: Pop and Folk Avant-Gardes (10-11am)
'From Blackstar to Berlin: David Bowie and the manifestation of late style in the Berlin Trilogy'. Dr Andrew Frayn, Edinburgh Napier University; Dr Rachael Durkin, Northumbria University
'Forwards and Backwards: Locating the Vanguard of English Folk Music in the 1970s'. Dr Alexis Bennett, Goldsmiths.
- Session 2: Vernacular and Popular Avant-Gardes (11am-12pm)
'"Sit While You're Standing" – The Vernacular Avant Garde and Unpopular Popular in Contemporary Scotland'. Keiran Curran, University of Highlands and Islands.
'Space, Time and the Hardcore Continuum: Recalibrating the Temporal Logic of the Popular Avant-Garde'. Maria Perevedentseva, Goldsmiths.
- Session 3: Radical Aesthetics, Radical Politics? (12-1.15pm)
'Left Behind in the Twentieth Century: Avant-garde revivalism after the Situationist International'. Dr Christopher Haworth, University of Birmingham.
'Popular Music and the Politics of Novelty'. Pete Dale, Manchester Metropolitan University.
‘“It’s Okay To Cry” – SOPHIE’s hyperreal avant-garde’. Christian Bielefeldt, University of Basel.
- Session 4: The Ghosts of British Modernism (2-3pm)
'Early Music, Medievalism, and the Paradox of British Modernism, 1971-2012'. Alexander Kolassa, The Open University.
'Trolling the avant-garde, or the avant-garde as trolling? The case of the New “New Manchester “Manchester School””' School (NNMMSS). Dr Edward Katrak Spencer, University of Oxford.
- Session 5: The Art-School Avant-Garde (3-4pm)
'Electric Shock: Synth Pop and the Queering of the Art School Avant-Garde'. Prof Gavin Butt, Northumbria University, Newcastle.
'Off-kilter: How avant-garde elements were subsumed into the development of punk, post-punk and new wave bands of the 1970s, through the influence of UK art schools'. Dr Simon Strange, Bath Spa University.
Prof Georgina Born and Prof Benjamin D. Piekut.