Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vienna: Music, Gender and Difference Conference

 After the delivering the morning lecture on Thursday, I headed over to Heathrow to catch a flight to Vienna. By the time I got to my hotel I was more than wilting and glad to sleep. I have never been to a conference anywhere outside the UK before so this was a daunting adventure. Next morning I get severely lost on the way to the University. Asking a policeman was not a good idea. He gave me a guttural mouthful and almost reduced me to tears; but a kindly woman on her way to work phoned her flatmates and between her and a kindly street-sweeper, I found my way there in time to present the paper. The conference itself was extremely well organised (shouts to Rosa Reitsamer for that) and as Sheila Whiteley pointed out, it was a stroke of genius to have a two-hour lunch break which was not only reviving but which also allowed us to speak to each other about our work and our research interests. There were a lot of interesting papers: Alenka Barber-Kersovan's paper about string divas was fascinating (I wondered if she'd heard of the Medieval Babes), and the new researcher Paola Medina delivered a heartfelt paper about the lot of female trumpet players in Colombia. Teja Klobcar's paper about Slovenian singer-songwriters was also very interesting. Star of the show, however, was Sheila herself, who is a brilliant writer and editor. I had been recommending her book The Space between the Notes to some students the day before and I'm using Sexing the Groove myself at the moment. Sheila has an overview of the way that pop music works in several different European countries and the attempts that governments and other organisations are making to create a fairer division of labour in the music industry. The statistics are depressing and they threw into relief issues that have come up within my lectures recently. I can't discuss that here, but I felt that the research I've been doing is valid and it's probably about time that I took proper steps to publish it. Vienna on Saturday was beautiful in the sunshine. I'd love to go back.

No comments: