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

Popular Music, Stars and Stardom

Posted: March 5th, 2015 | Filed under: Calls for Papers, IASPM Conferences | No Comments »

IASPM ANZ Branch Conference 2015
School of Music, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, December 4th – 6th 2015

‘Stars’ manifest in popular music literally, conceptually and metaphorically through song lyrics, artist ‘stage names’ and in discourses of economic and/ or mainstream success (Hamlen Jnr., 1991; Holmes, 2004). Stars can be conceptualised as ‘mythic constructs’ (Shuker, 2005) ‘other worldly’ (McLeod, 2003) or associated with fantasy and escapism. As performers, ‘stars’ have been considered as ‘manufactured’ (Franck and Nüesch, 2007) and/ or ‘authentic’ (Zuberi, 2001); as groups of individual artists, such as ‘Superstar DJs’ (Phillips, 2009), or the individual persona, such as ‘Ziggy Stardust’ (Grant, 2000). In recent years, popular music stardom is closely associated to reality television (Frith, 2007), a site of tension between influences of traditional auteur and public ‘star maker’ roles. The portrayal of popular music ‘stars’ on film varies between those in the foreground (Rock Star, 2001), in the background (20 Feet from Stardom, 2013) and those in supporting or ‘behind the scenes’ roles (Muscle Shoals, 2013).

In a literal sense, astronomy research suggests a ‘musical galaxy’; a black hole is heard ‘singing’ a B, at 57 octaves lower than middle C, ‘the lowest note in the universe’ (Overbye, 2013). The universe may have its own ‘soundtrack’, a ‘sonic composition that records some of the most dramatic events in outer space’ (Levin, 2013).

If we consider popular music as a metaphorical universe, who or what are the planets, stars and constellations? In what ways do they align, traverse and orbit? We invite papers that consider the theme of popular music, stars and stardom from one or more of the following angles:

  • Stars: musical, cultural, political biography
  • Stardom: discourses of mainstream success, fandom, reception, memory
  • The universe: popular music production, management, distribution
  • Constellations: genre, tradition, locality, subculture, collaboration
  • Galaxies: ‘other worlds’, spirituality, fantasy, iconicity
  • Waiting for a Star to Fall: songs, lyrics and ‘star’ references
  • Stellar performances: liveness, audiences, performance on film and television
  • Selling stars: business models, economics, revenue streams
  • Fading stars: success, career trajectories, ageing, posthumous canonisation
  • Black holes: noise/ silence, the ‘visible’ and the ‘concealed’
  • Papers that address the overall theme beyond these angles will also be considered. 

Abstracts: Please upload abstracts of 300 words in .docx or .pdf file format (with SURNAME_ANZ2015 as the file name) via the web form at the conference website: music.anu.edu.au/iaspm-anz-2015

Deadline: Sunday May 31st 2015

Notification of acceptances: Friday July 17th 2015

Conference website: music.anu.edu.au/iaspm-anz-2015

Conference email address: [email protected]

Registration: Early bird registration applies between August 3rd – October 5th. Further information will be released on the IASPM ANZ 2015 Conference website in May.

Transport: Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin operate regular flights to Canberra from most domestic Australian airports, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Canberra is a 3-hour coach ride from Sydney, with Murray’s and Greyhound services every hour to and from Canberra’s central ‘Jolimont’ bus station.

Accommodation: a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets are available, including University House Further information, including location and maps will be available on the conference website

Conference activities: lunch and morning/ afternoon tea is provided. A first-day evening reception is planned at Canberra Museum & Gallery. Canberra is home to Australia’s National Gallery, National Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Questacon Science Museum. Opportunities to visit the public gallery in Parliament can also be arranged.

Conference dinner: to be held on Saturday December 5th at Mount Stromlo Observatory with an evening of music and stargazing.

Publication: following the conference, the organising committee plan an edited collection with ANU Press. Further details TBA.

Local Organising Committee: Dr Julie Rickwood, Dr Samantha Bennett, Dr Stephen Loy, H.C. Coombs Fellow Andrew Farriss, Ms Harriet Torrens.

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