Last month I attended the first annual Post Graduate Symposium organised by the Punk Scholars Network, of which I am a member. This was hosted at the University of Leicester and organised by Laura Way and Mike Dines of the PSN. A great key note address from PSN member Dr Russ Bestley, from the London College of Communication discussing the graphical development of punk aesthetic in record sleeves-a trip through his own extensive record collection.There were many excellent papers delivered by a number of post graduates, from a number of disciplines and from as far as Australia. It was great to see and hear that punk studies is vibrant and active in the PG field and as a result will become more recognised as being significant in musical,cultural and political disciplines alongside other revered forms such as Jazz. There are plans to get a publication of proceedings and papers from the conference.
As well as catching up with my PSN fellow members and being introduced to new punk scholars, the highlight for me was twofold. Firstly I felt really privileged to be able to present alongside one of my graduates Sophie Sparham, who confidently presented her work in a fascinating and interesting way. Her work was well received by the audience and was of such a high academic standard that many of the audience thought that she was presenting her current PhD research. It certainly made me feel very proud of the achievements of our graduates from the School of Media.
Secondly , I had put out an open invitation to my current 3rd year Popular Music Culture students to attend, kindly financially supported by Prof Philip Thickett our Head of School who agreed to pay for their travel. Despite an early start a number of my students made the effort to attend and said how valuable they found the experience, not only in developing their current work but also in stimulating an interest in post -graduate studies, which can only be a good thing.
I have agreed to host the second annual PG symposium at BCU/BCMCR in 2015, and will get my 3rd year Popular Music Culture students to organise and coordinate the event as hopefully it will be a really useful experience for them.