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Wellington Woes: Urban Melancholy and Music-making


Fri 7 Aug 2015, 3:10pm–4:30pm

Where: Adam Concert Room, NZSM Kelburn Campus, Victoria University, Gate 7, Kelburn Parade, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Over the past couple of years, those who are involved in independent music-making in Wellington have had to contend with the closure of important musical venues, places notable for their central role in providing support to both the performance and socio-musical needs of the city’s small but vibrant indie and experimental music scenes. With their disappearance, the response among music-makers, fans, and the media has vacillated between one of lament as well as promise. This former dimension is tied to larger concerns about the purported decline of Wellington’s cultural and social life more generally, the latter bound to a number of visions of what the city needs to ensure and strengthen its cultural and collective life. Through interviews conducted with former venue managers and music-makers in the city, this presentation explores the wax and wane of the scene and the semantic force discourses of weakness, failure and decline have on the musical urban imaginary, taking into account how they are deployed as ethical strategies for contending with, and making sense of, the life and death cycles of musical scenes.

Geoff Stahl is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. His publications include Poor But Sexy: Reflections on Berlin Scenes (Peter Lang, 2014) and Understanding Media Studies (Oxford 2009), as well as many articles and book chapters on music-making in Montreal, Berlin and Wellington, and is presently co-editing the collection “Made in ANZ: Popular Music in Australia and New Zealand” (Routledge, forthcoming). He is also a former Chair of IASPM-International (International Association for the Study of Popular Music) and currently sits on the Editorial Board of the journal Popular Music.

Music Forum is a seminar series hosted by the NZSM Music Studies Programme, and is held every Friday in term time from 3:10 – 4:30pm in the Adam Concert Room at NZSM. Staff, graduate students and distinguished visiting speakers present recently completed research, or discuss work in progress. Topics range across historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory and analysis, and jazz studies, among other subdisciplines of music studies.

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