Our Research Groups are
Genocide Research Group
Founded by Ian Biddle (ICMuS) and Beate Müller (School of Modern Languages), the Genocide Research Group is made up of scholars based mostly, but not exclusively, at Newcastle University, working on genocide and genocide-related topics. It also includes members from Northumbria, Sunderland and Durham Universities. Among its associate members it counts participants from Poland, Germany, Spain, Austria, the US, Ireland, Lithuania and Russia.
In its research, the group is interested in addressing the following key research questions:
- What are the political, historical and social contexts in which genocide(s) occur?
- What is the legacy of genocide (psychology, memory, culture, representation, mediation)?
- What are the legal and political discourses surrounding genocide (justification, legitimacy, illegitimacy, condemnation, silence, response of the international community)?
- What is the role of language and translation for the representation, mediation, publication and circulation of information about genocide?
- How is genocide enacted and carried out? By whom and why?
- Which groups in society tend to be most affected by genocide (gender, age, social and professional background, regional factors, language issues, ethnic identities)?
- What – if any – is the connection between modernity and genocide?
- How and to what extent can different genocides be compared with each other?
- What philosophical approaches can help explain genocide(s)?
- How are histories of genocide used in the aftermath of genocide? How are discourses and experiences of genocide utilized for identity creation?
- How is genocide represented in cultural artefacts (literature, film, art, music)?
- In which genres and through which channels is genocide represented? And how so?
Ian Biddle’s interest in this topic stems from his recent work on music and trauma, the soundscapes of trauma, and music in the Holocaust (see here for more), dealing especially in Yiddish- and German-language sources. In November 2013, the Group hosted a one-day conference, Genocide Studies: Sound, Image, Archive, sponsored by the School of Arts and Cultures and the School of Modern Languages. See here for a report on the conference.
Forthcoming projects of the group include special journal edition on Genocide and Mediation, an interdisciplinary summer school on Genocide Studies in 2015, and co-hosted events with the Newcastle University’s research group The Cultural Significance of Space and Place.
The Performing Prejudice research group convened its first symposium on 22 July 2013 at Newcastle University, led by Simon McKerrell (ICMuS) and Kay Goodall (Stirling). The group’s aim is to exchange ideas and develop a nuanced understanding of performances of prejudice and how these manifest themselves in community encounters with the legal, cultural and policy environments.
The group is always interested in hearing from those with research interests in the performance of songs, music, recordings, community narratives and cultural texts (broadly defined), particularly where they construct conflict between ethnic, religious or racial groups in the social life of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The recognition of the other (or lack thereof) is crucial to discourses and performance of prejudice, both for the principal narrative voice and real, virtual or imagined audiences. Performing Prejudice engages with methods across the arts and humanities, such as critical discourse analysis, performance studies, ethnomusicology, media analysis, sociological and socio-legal approaches. The group is supported by a research grant from Newcastle University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and has an active web forum. Further details of participants and research interests can be found here.
Simon McKerrell (CI) with Chris Whitehead (PI) and Susanna Eckersley (CI, both at Media, Culture, Heritage, Newcastle University)
The CoHERE project seeks to identify, understand and valorise European heritages, engaging with their socio-political and cultural significance and their potential for developing communitarian identities. CoHERE addresses an intensifying EU Crisis through a study of relations between identities and representations and performances of history. It explores the ways in which heritages can be used for division and isolation, or to find common ground and ‘encourage modern visions and uses of its past.’ The research covers a carefully selected range of European territories and realities comparatively and in depth; it focuses on heritage practices in official and non-official spheres and engages with various cultural forms, from the living arts to museum displays, food culture, education, protest, commemorations and online/digital practice, among others. CoHERE is funded through Horizon 2020, and responds to the Reflective Societies programme.
The UK Live Music Census
Adam Behr (CI) with Matt Brennan (PI, Edinburgh University), Martin Cloonan (CI, University of Glasgow), Emma Webster (CI, Edinburgh University)
The UK Live Music Census, the world’s first nationwide music census, is a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
There is widespread interest in the live music sector, with numerous reports assessing its value produced by industry organisations, policy bodies and the third sector. Nevertheless, there is still a knowledge gap about the specific relationship between the value of live music on the one hand and current challenges facing venues across the UK on the other.
Accounts of live music activity vary according to where they have been produced and according to which type of policy, industry or academic research has provided them. This can hamper meaningful comparisons across cities, and between different types of music.
The Census is a collaboration between music industry organisations, policy bodies and leading academic live music researchers from the universities of Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
In conjunction with industry personnel and policymakers, the team has conducted snapshot censuses of live music in three cities (Glasgow, Newcastle and Oxford), with parallel censuses taking place in other cities such as Leeds and Liverpool. We are developing a toolkit to be shared with other institutions so that they can conduct similar exercises based on this methodology in the future.
With project partners UK Music, the Musicians' Union and the Music Venue Trust, we are also surveying musicians, venues and audience members nationwide to provide the most comprehensive dataset yet of live music in the country.
Our prior research shows that different local government responses to cultural activity and venue licensing can have a profound effect on live music provision, but also that it is difficult for policymakers to make informed decisions given the variety of different definitions and parameters used in the available evidence.
By bringing together industry bodies, policymakers and academics to formulate the questions and promote the surveys, this project will assist researchers, policymakers and industry alike, providing consensus on an academically rigorous methodology and subsequent dataset for assessing the scope and value of live music in the UK. This will be a large step forward for all concerned in working to safeguard and develop the cultural and economic wellbeing of this most valuable component of local character in cities and localities across the country.
For more information visit: www.uklivemusiccensus.org