"There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance. Or one can create an
environment in which singers and dancers flourish."
Warren G. Bennis, American writer, educator, University of Southern California sociologist
Sounding the right note
|Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place
Memorial's senior administration has given their approval for the establishment of the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place (MMAP) on the St. John's campus in February. MMAP's director is Dr. Beverley Diamond, Canada Research Chair in Traditional Music/Ethnomusicology. She's hoping to establish MMAP as the centre for research on a wide range of issues concerning music "as a localized practice in a modern world of globalized communications media.
"We hope that MMAP will not only serve the research interests of the Memorial University faculty associated with it but will also serve to enable research projects by community researchers and scholars from other places," said Dr. Diamond. "MMAP could be a sort of coordinator and hub for a variety of other initiatives." The MMAP Centre will be a meeting place enabling dialogue and exchange among Memorial University scholars with complementary research interests as well as ethnomusicologists, folklorists, and other academics beyond the province's boundaries. MMAP will serve as a bridge between traditional music communities and scholars who work on issues of music, media and place.
The centre will also serve as a central point of electronic access for sound archives in Atlantic Canada and beyond. It will house a state-of-the-art audio restoration facility and multimedia studio, and facilitate discussion and collaboration among scholars and community musicians.
"The title abbreviates to MMAP," said Dr. Diamond. "Call it the 'Music MAP,' if you like, or just think of it as a 'map' with a difference. The difference? Well, for one thing, the music of Newfoundland and Labrador is at the center of this MMAP. But we hope, eventually, to provide a facility that attracts scholars and musicians from other parts of Canada and other countries as well." The centre is currently located on the third floor of the Annex of the Arts and Culture Centre of St. John's.
- To foster pride in the cultural uniqueness of places and communities, not only by valuing contemporary practices and working with musicians on modern issues regarding appropriation and access, but also by working to make historical materials in the rich regional archives of Atlantic Canada in particular, come alive through extended documentation, multimedia presentation, and scholarly engagement with issues of race, gender, ethnicity, class, and other aspects of collective identity.
- To offer a model for understanding problems of cultural "difference" as articulated in music itself - that is, in the social relations of the production and reception of music and in the culturally shared codes of its sonic gestures. In particular, this view of multiculturalism will differ from "top-down multiculturalism" or other neutralizing, rosy-cast representations of "diversity." The research should contribute to healthier cultural interaction as Newfoundland and Labrador become increasingly plural.
- To advocate on issues of intellectual property and access to traditional knowledge.
- To enhance the profile of Canadian music scholars within the international academic community through an aggressive programme of publication.
- To work with educators and community organizations to facilitate the dissemination of cultural resources materials and the development of curriculum materials on the oral cultures of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as diverse communities elsewhere in Canada and internationally.
- To enable a deeper understanding of the ways media are invested with meaning by the study of the whole circle from live performance, through mediation, through reception. By this means, the project will develop a generation of scholars and artists in Canada who have more agency in making media products effective as forms of social action.
- To establish connections between the centre and similarly mandated institutions and groups in provincial, national, and international jurisdictions, for the exchange of information and ideas.
- To promote international cultural exchange and dialogue.