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

UB40 Symposium

Posted: September 7th, 2010 | Filed under: Calls for Papers | No Comments »

Date: Friday 18th March 2011.
Venue: Birmingham City University, UK.
Organizers: Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research in association with Birmingham Popular Music Archive.

This year, the Birmingham-based band UB40 celebrates the 30th anniversary of the release of the album ‘Signing Off’. The band gained its name from an unemployment benefit form and achieved fame and notoriety in the ‘post-punk’ era. Known for a dedication to popularizing the sounds of reggae music the band has maintained a commitment to political issues through its music as well as cultural and social action.

Over 30 years the band has sold over 100 million albums and continues to tour extensively around the world. While the band’s star has waxed and waned in critical favour at home in the UK, it maintains a global fan base, which is particularly strong in the Third World.

This symposium seeks to bring together researchers with an interest in the band in order to consider its place in various scholarly contexts. Papers are invited on any subject that may illuminate the role of the band in a wider popular music culture and vice versa.

Subjects areas may include (although are by no means restricted to), UB40 and/in:

Popular music history
Social history and popular music
Music industries
Politics and popular music
The local and the global
Music journalism
Genre and hybridity
Ethnicity, race and identity
The politics and aesthetics of the cover version

This symposium will take place in the Birmingham School of Media, BCU. There will be a small fee for attendance to cover lunch and refreshments.

The schedule will feature a screening of ‘Made in Birmingham’, a film produced by the Birmingham Popular Music Archive and ‘swish’ productions. The film focuses on the stories of reggae, punk and bhangra and their importance to the musical culture and heritage of the city.


Abstracts of 300 words, accompanied by an author biography and contact details should be submitted by November 1st 2010.

Full papers for inclusion in proceedings should be submitted by February 1st 2011.

Submissions and queries should be directed to:

Dr. Paul Long
Reader in Media and Cultural History
Birmingham School of Media
Perry Barr
B42 2SU
Email: [email protected]

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