Welcome to The International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland Branch

Journal of Popular Music History special issue

Posted: October 29th, 2018 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Popular music curation: material, virtual, professional, amateur, public, private

The Journal of Popular Music History invites contributions to a special issue on popular music curation. Where it was once the almost-exclusive domain of museum and gallery work, the notion of ‘curation’ has become increasingly popularised: from curated Spotify playlists to curated music festivals and curated club nights, to curated box sets and curated fashion collections, this terminological appropriation of what was once a ‘high art’ practice into more mainstream popular music and culture raises a number of interesting questions this special edition aims to examine.

As Atton (2014: 414) writes, ‘A conventional definition of the work of a curator in a museum or art gallery would once have emphasised the fixed contexts within which collections and exhibitions were presented to the public, where meaning was preserved alongside the artefact.’ Yet the deliberate employment of the term ‘curation’ within a more progressively quotidian vernacular obliges of us further critical exploration of what, specifically, is required of and intended by its use. The mediation, manipulation and presentation of a collection of music and/or music-related items as ‘curated’ has evident implications: for instance, a curated collection may be seen as one organised by ‘experts’; it might suggest a more localised, hand-crafted, artisanal, personalised experience (Campbell 2005); or it could imply a more critical, ‘hidden’ or ‘alternative’ popular music narrative, previously untold or overshadowed within more dominant historical or cultural contexts (Leonard 2007). In this sense, exploration of what, how and by whom curation occurs, directly informs understanding of the curated objects and collections themselves.

We invite contributions which consider any aspect of the curation of popular music, including but not limited to: curation and the material culture of popular music; the transitional and liminal spaces between collecting and curating; valuating (and evaluating) musical ‘stuff’; virtual curation practices; curating digital and online archives; narrative, storytelling and curation; amateur/DIY/fan-based curation practices; institutional curation; interactive and adaptive curation; curation and craft culture.

Please submit article proposals of no more than 300 words, along with a list of 3 to 5 keywords, author name(s), institutional affiliation, contact details and a brief biography of each contributor to [email protected] by no later than 31 January 2019.


Atton, C., 2014. ‘Curating popular music: authority and history, aesthetics and technology’. Popular Music 33(3), 413-427.

Campbell, C., 2005. ‘The Craft Consumer: Culture, craft and consumption in a postmodern society.’ Journal of Consumer Culture 5(1), 23-42.

Leonard, M., 2007. ‘Constructing histories through material culture: popular music, museums and collecting.’ Popular Music History 2(2), 147-167.

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