„It’s Irie!“ a Post-Postolonial Approach to Diversity at „World Music“ Festivals

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Lisa GAUPP, Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany
The planned paper analyzes how diversity is being standardized through conventions in music. It takes a look at how different notions of diversity are curated at renowned international music festivals while analyzing the respective meanings of diversity. The focus will be set on so called ‚world music’ or ‚non-European performances’ and on the figure of the ‚festival curator’ understood both as a cultural leader as well as a gatekeeper. Here, the performances including their socio-cultural settings are often assigned with certain meanings, and the players of these global art worlds are often labeled as possessing certain stable (ethnic) identities. It will be shown through which othering mechanism both individuals and aesthetic expressions are constructed as belonging to a certain place. Likewise, it will be discussed how diversity changes its meaning and how alternative spaces develop when these ascriptions are being challenged, contested, deconstructed or rewritten through the breaking of established sociocultural conventions.

Curatorial strategies are seen as a discursive social practice, which (de)construct identities, symbols and relations, or, put differently‚ the ‚curatorial’ is understood as a complex field of different intermingling practices, persons and institutions where dominant ideologies, terminologies, habits etc. are (re)produced, but where the curator also embodies a special role when it comes to defining (social) conventions in the respective field: Festival curators, in directing, administering and mediating music performances, work at the interface of the production, mediation and consumption of these aesthetic expressions. In doing so, they contribute to how the terms and conditions for diversity are set.

Therefore, the paper deals with how conventions in music develop and takes a look at the interdependencies between diversity, music, space and place, thereby combining performance, cultural and postcolonial studies with sociological and ethnomusicological theoretical and methodological approaches.