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Planning for the Rhythm Changes 2016 conference, Birmingham City University, UK

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 11.37.40A group of met this week from across Europe to look back on the previous three Rhythm Changes conferences (Amsterdam 2012, Salford 2013, Amsterdam 2014) and to plan for our next conference in 2016 at, as we announced in Amsterdam last September,  Birmingham City University. You coming to it? We hope so. #jazzutopia.

The organising committee is:

  • Dr Nick Gebhardt, BCU (lead organiser)
  • Prof Walter van de Leur, Amsterdam
  • Dr Loes Rusch, Amsterdam
  • Dr Christa Bruckner-Haring, Graz
  • Prof Tony Whyton, Salford
  • Prof George McKay, UEA
  • Dr Catherine Tackley, Open University.

We were talking about the theme(s) for the 2016 conference, its structure, how to  present jazz ideas in traditional and alternative ways, how BCU’s disciplinary and intellectual identity (media – music – industry) could be reflected as host of the event, potential keynotes and invited speakers, and the specific dates of course. (Early-mid-April 2016 seems most favoured at the moment.) At various times in the day we were being joined by colleagues from Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham Jazzlines promoters, for their early input.

Nick Gebhardt leads RC2016 conference committee
Nick Gebhardt leads RC2016 conference committee

Some ideas for our theme and key strands we are discussing are as follows (bear in mind these are in draft and need working up, but we thought you might like a sneak preview):

Jazz Utopia

  • jazz identity/ies. Race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality (queering jazz, Sapphonics), disability and jazz.
  • inside / outside: jazz and its others. What does jazz mean to its community of insiders and those that approach it from outside?
  • heritage and archiving. The ways in which our relationship with the past enables us to imagine and construct jazz as an alternative space and practice.