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MMaP gets big boost from feds

Attending the press conference announcing the funding were, from left, Stan Pickett, musician; Kristin Harris Walsh, Irish step dancer and project coordinator, MMaP Research Centre; Dr. Beverley Diamond, MMaP director and Canada Research Chair of the MUN School of Music; Minister Ashfield; Dr. Kati Szego, co-chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2011 World Conference; and Tama Fost and Jenni Williams, throat singers.

A world conference scheduled for Memorial next July got a huge boost from the federal government.

Keith Ashfield, the federal minister of National Revenue and the minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced Aug. 16 an investment of $75,000 to Memorial University’s Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP). Funding will be used to organize and market the World Conference of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) in St. John’s from July 13-19, 2011.

“Our government recognizes that vibrant cultural industries play a key role in the Atlantic Canadian economy,” said Minister Ashfield. “This international conference will provide tremendous professional development opportunities for those in the cultural industries of Newfoundland and Labrador, contribute to the local economy and showcase the province’s unique culture and traditions to the world.”

The ICTM World Conference is considered a leading international venue for the presentation of new research on music and dance. More than 500 delegates from 60 countries are expected to attend the event, which has not been held in Canada since the early 1960s.

The World Conference will integrate workshops, presentations and panel discussions based on six themes that will showcase the unique history and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. Throughout the week-long event, traditional musicians from the province will perform alongside those from around the world. Aboriginal performers will participate in concerts and panel discussions focused on modern indigenous music and culture; cross-cultural approaches to the study of voice will be explored jointly with the Festival 500 Singing Symposium; and ethnomusicology will be explored through the performing arts.

The Conference will also expose local artists and musicians to international markets and media, offer professional and skills development seminars, and provide the opportunity to network with artists from around the world.

“This funding from ACOA will enable the St. John’s organizers to showcase multicultural Canada as well as the unique heritage of the province for this transnational assembly of scholars and artists,” said Dr. Beverley Diamond, director of MMaP and Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology. “We are grateful to have ACOA support since the opportunity to host the International Council for Traditional Music is a landmark for the province and for Canada.”

The Research Centre for the (MMaP) was established in 2003 to support music research within the academic and general community. Affiliated with the School of Music and Folklore Department of Memorial University, the Centre promotes exchanges by sponsoring visiting lecturers and lecture series, as well as annual symposia or conferences. The Centre houses a multimedia and audio restoration studio, a small performance space, and student workspace for the graduate program in ethnomusicology at Memorial University.

Funding for the 2011 ICTM World Conference is provided through ACOA’s Business Development Program.