Once again the University of Gloucester hosted its annual Equal Platforms research conference on the 4th and 5th April. I was invited by Dr Abigail Gardiner , the conference organiser, to attend and present my doctoral research on anarcho-punk and to represent BCMCR as we have had a presence at the conference since its inception, with previous presentations by BCMCR’s Dr Paul Long and Jez Collins. What I particularly like about this conference is the way it puts undergraduates and post graduates on panels alongside established academics. This creates a supportive environment and great networking opportunities for UG’s and PG’s, and is something that the Punk Scholars Network, of which I am on the executive steering committee, have encouraged at our annual international conference and post-grad symposium. Its reassuring to see other conferences offering the same opportunities. I was only present at the first day mainly because I was presenting on that day however the 2 day’s panels on offer looked very interesting . The first panel I saw was titled UN/Told Stories #diversity which featured Dr Shawn Sobers of the University of West England, an academic and media practitioner/film maker/photographer and University of Gloucester media student Tom Stephens. Both presentations discussed diversity in the telling of stories, with Shawn discussing a project he is currently involved in that is examining the untold stories of two black slaves who rose to positions of status ion Georgian Britain, but whose stories remain relatively untold or hidden from historical narratives around slavery. Tom’s presentation discussed his interpretation of the film To Kill a Mockingbird and the hidden racism of Atticus Finch that has emerged within the long awaited release of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman. The post presentation discussion raised some interesting issues about representation of Blackness in film (especially in the light of the recent Oscar winner Moonlight) and how that is presented when those films that document Black history and culture are directed and scripted by white people.
Following on from this panel was the one that I presented on. I was first up with a discussion about the context and development of my PhD on anarcho-punk. This was quite timely as also on the panel was Alison Willmott, a post grad from UoG, who is at the beginning of the PhD journey. Her presentation was about her interest in documenting the impact that previous and present engagement with punk has had on older women (50+years old). In some respects her research is similar to mine in terms of impact over the lifecourse, but specifically focuses on women, who are generally absent from a number of studies on punk and ageing. Her work is situated in theories of gerontology and ageing. I am really looking forward to seeing how her research develops over the coming 3 years. Also on the panel was Matt Lovett, a member of staff from UoG, who took a philosophical approach to discussing François Laruelle’s ‘non-philosophy and radical imminence, using avant-garde hip hop/noise band Death Grips as an example of how they (DG) use the internet, within the contemporary music industries, as an initial challenge to, and then a return to, Marx’s ideas around the base and superstructure. The post presentation discussion was lively to say the least. Alison and Matt are definitely worth a forthcoming presentation slot on our own Popular Music Research Group’s schedule for Autumn 2017 at BCMCR research symposiums. All in all a great afternoon at UoG.