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

Statement by the Executive Committee of IASPM UK & Ireland Branch in support and solidarity with survivors and victims of sexual assault

In light of recent exchanges on the IASPM International facebook page, the UK and Ireland branch of the International Association for the study of Popular Music (IASPM UK & I) wish to echo the support and solidarity with survivors and victims of sexual assault, harrassment, and violence offered by IASPM-US and JPMS (linked here). We similarly condemn sexual violence and acknowledge cultures of complicity that have bred recent reports of sexual misconduct. We recognise that our branch plays a particular role in issues related to abuse and/of power. We also support the call issued by other branches for Rupert Till to step away from his position as International Chair—as an indication of the organisation’s commitment to change [NB the IASPM International Chair has subsequently stepped down].

Change is needed; this is but our start. Crisis centres have engaged in the work and the struggle to end sexual misconduct for decades. Activists have moved to resist imperialist, racist, patriarchal, colonial and capitalist systems for centuries. We won’t swiftly solve or eradicate these issues within our organisation because they are not unique to us; however, we can and do—per Sara Ahmed—commit to the world-dismantling effort necessary to weaken these structures. We must “deal with what has not been dealt with.” Ahmed talks about the necessity for a continuing campaign of ‘complaint’ to undermine the foundations of institutional inertia and this chimes with the widespread adoption of ‘active bystander’ campaigns by student unions, some HEIs and organsiations such as Safe Gigs Ireland. We can only change the culture by being the culture and changing ourselves.

In demonstrating our practical commitment to a complete re-shaping of this organisation in years to come, and as a means to prevent future harm, the Executive Committee is proposing the following actions:

  • drafting a code of conduct, applicable to institutions hosting an IASPM UK&I event and participants of such events
  • recruiting and training a team of volunteers to act as confidential points of contact for the duration of these events
  • establishing a mentorship system to provide mutual support and community for any members who would benefit from it, including PGR and ECR members
  • drafting a list of support resources and contacts available to members via the website
  • creating a dedicated EDI post on the executive committee
  • forming a working group to look at our own practices
  • providing and funding crisis training for members acting as moderators on social media and the email list
  • updating membership documentation about the use of social media and the moderation process
  • adopting new reporting and disciplinary procedures agreed by the international executive committee
  • reaching out to other UK and Irish scholarly organisations to acknowledge cultures of violence and complicity within music studies and share resources and approaches for addressing them

We welcome the feedback of our members and recognise the necessity of engaging, remunerating and learning from those with expertise in these areas.

Sincerely and in solidarity,
The Executive Committee of IASPM UK & Ireland Branch