One Century of Record Labels – Mapping places, stories and communities of sound


International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
November 6th – 7th 2014
Keynote: Dr Pete Dale (Slampt Records, Manchester Metropolitan University)

This two-day interdisciplinary conference will expose, question and celebrate the enduring role of independent and commercial record labels in the construction of musical patrimony, from the early days of the record industry to the present. Record labels have traditionally functioned as organs of representation (replicating for instance racial stereotypes), codification (setting genres and trends), as well as emancipation (allowing for marginal trends, voices and groups of artists to emerge). They exist at the intersection of the public and the personal, capturing the collective imagination as well as the private fascination of the collector. They occupy different spaces and scales, from internationally influential, legendary record labels (Stax, Motown, or Columbia) to more obscure, bedroom-run, non-commercial labels (Sarah Records, Musical Traditions Records). The aim of the conference is to gather a variety of perspectives on the past and present legacy of record labels, and to examine their changing status and relevance in an age of increasing dematerialisation.

While this conference should be of interest to researchers in popular music studies, we particularly encourage contributions from within the fields of musicology, cultural studies, media studies, and sociology.

Papers could address (but are not limited to) the following aspects:

–        Record labels, race and gender. Representations of minorities through records (for instance, early American ‘race records’ or ‘ethnic records’). The role of record labels in colonialism and post-colonial development.
–        Record labels, resistance and subculture. The politics of DIY, non-commercial, micro-record labels, which are especially relevant in subcultural scenes such as punk, hardcore, rap, hip hop and twee pop.
–        Record labels, consumption and geography. Local, national, transnational and globalised identities. Audio tourism and the commodification of cultural difference.
–        The sonic iconicity of record labels and associated studios/producers (Sun, Motown, Chess). The linked histories of audiences, record labels and record production.
–        The material culture of record labels and ‘gramomania’ (Katz). Fans, collectors and personal archives. Lost record labels and their subsequent revivals, through practices of vinyl archaeology, collecting, curating and reissuing. The visual iconography of labels, cover-art and liners note as paratext (also digital metadata or downloadable supplementary visual/textual content).
–        Historiographical perspectives. How have record labels impacted the creation of musical canons? The many ways in which labels have organised musical production; the construction and contestation of normative production practices and codes.
–        How labels mediate ideologies of musical creativity/talent.
–        Representations of record labels in the media.
–        Record labels in the digital age. MP3 labels, netlabels and the use of technological platforms such as Bandcamp, Soundcloud or YouTube.

A selection of papers will be included in an edited book or journal.

Proposals for individual papers (thirty minutes including discussion) and for panels (up to one hour) will be considered. Abstracts (300 words maximum) should be submitted to with a short biographical note. Proposals for panels should also include an abstract for each individual paper.

The deadline for submissions is 4th July 2014. Selected speakers will be notified by the first week of August.

CFP: Theatre and Television: Adaptation, Production, Performance

A call for papers for a one-day conference at the University of Westminster, Friday 20 February 2015

Proposals are invited for twenty-minute papers (or three-paper panels) addressing issues and topics related to theatre plays on British television from 1930 to the present. Strong proposals which engage with the history of theatre plays on the television networks of other countries and offer useful comparands with the British example will also be considered. In order to encourage a truly interdisciplinary discussion we warmly welcome proposals from scholars and postgraduate students engaged with adaptation studies, broadcasting and film histories, media and cultural studies, and the histories of theatre and performance. Possible topics for examination and exploration include, but are not limited to, the following:

* The forms and screen languages of British television presentations of theatre plays.
* The evolution of what may be regarded as the ‘normative’ style of studio drama, and the development of new forms within and beyond the studio.
* Discussions of the concept of ‘adaptation’ applied to television productions of theatre plays.
* Studies of particular genres, plays or playwrights across time.
* Drama on television within educational contexts, such as school or university strands.
* Audience and reception studies of how viewers engaged with these productions.
* The changing social and cultural meanings of theatre on television and the ways in which these were regarded and exploited by broadcasters in particular historical circumstances.
* The institutional, production, technological and aesthetic contexts of television adaptations within both broadcasting and British theatre.
* The extensive commercial and cultural relationships between the theatre, individual companies and television.
* The movement of practitioners between the spheres of theatre and television.
* Comparative studies of theatre plays on radio and as produced for the British cinema.
* The post-1980s decline of theatre on British television and the recent revival of interest in its possibilities in the multi-platform age.

Proposals in the form of a 250-word abstract and brief biography (or 200-word panel outline, with accompanying individual abstracts and brief biographies), should be submitted to both John Wyver ( and Dr Amanda Wrigley ( by Monday 30 June 2014.

This conference is the culminating event of the AHRC-funded research project Screen Plays: Theatre Plays on British Television. Screen Plays is concerned with all plays written for the theatre that have been produced for British television since 1930. The project documents and develops new critical approaches to the television presentation of these plays, seeking to understand the institutional, production, technological and aesthetic contexts for these adaptations within both broadcasting and British theatre. More can be read about the project’s aims, activities and research areas on the blog.


New Media Histories conference responds to the growing need for historical reflection on new media in the global context. The aim is to provide a platform of communication for researchers and practitioners from all over the world and to confront their methods and achievements. The conference is addressed to media researchers, communication scientists, historians, archivists, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and researchers representing related areas.

Keynote speakers:

* Miroslaw Filiciak (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland),
* Graeme Kirkpatrick (University of Manchester, UK),
* Melanie Swalwell (Flinders Univeristy, Australia).

We invite abstracts on any of the suggested topics (the list is not inclusive):

* histories of new media practices and technologies
* histories of new media studies
* relation of new media histories to the history of new media art
*  new media as a tool in the humanities and social sciences
* new media preservation
* histories of new media local creative industries
* new media and civil society in the 20th century
* economics of new media in the 20th century
* relation of new media to underground and shadow economies
* diffusion of innovation in new media

The languages of the conference will be English and Polish. Please submit your proposal (500 words and a short biography) before – extended until 22 June 2014 – to Notifications of acceptance will be sent before 20 June 2014. We expect 20 minute presentations with additional time for discussion. Selected papers will be published in a post-conference publication.

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