MMaP Lecture Series 2015 - 2016


Music, Media and Culture Lecture Series 2015-2016

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 (7:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.)

Can Art Save Lives?

Dr. David Gere (UCLA, Art & Global Health Center)

The Art & Global Health Center, founded by David Gere a decade ago at the University of California – Los Angeles, is premised upon the notion that the arts possess the ability to save lives, not literally by healing illness—in the biological sense—but by shifting the conditions that cause illness to flourish. This particular notion of art’s life-saving potential derives from Douglas Crimp, the New York art critic who, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic of the late 1980s, wrote in frustration about the celebration of beautiful or elegiac works of art meant to affirm our humanity, rather than the creation of works of activist art intended to stop the epidemic. “We don’t need to transcend the epidemic,” wrote Crimp, “we need to end it.” In this talk, Gere discusses Crimp’s bluntly utilitarian theory of art’s potential and uses it to lay out a taxonomy of ways in which the arts can change the world.


WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2015 (7:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.)

Cinema and Space in Newfoundland and Labrador

Dr. Mark Douglas Turner (Memorial University)

How do we begin to speak of a Newfoundland and Labrador cinema? Does it even exist before the Jones Brothers’ The Adventure of Faustus Bidgood? Is there such a thing as a Newfoundland and Labrador cinema? Are there features which unify the practice of film in this province? My presentation considers these questions in an attempt to understand Newfoundland and Labrador cinema as something rooted as much in space as it is in time.


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2015 (7:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.)

The Accordion on New Shores

Dr. Helena Simonett (Vanderbilt University)

The accordion and its myriad forms—from the concertina and the button accordion to the sanfoninha and the bandoneón—has spread and taken roots across many cultures. Branded as “the little man’s ‘piano,’” it became a medium for popular folk music in numerous regions of the world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The accordion was thriving among the less affluent because it was complete “a one-man-band,” capable to providing melody, harmony and bass at once; it was also loud and durable and, therefore, ideal for outdoor performances. No other instruments has provoked so many scornful jokes, yet the accordion’s distinctive sounds have touched millions of people, stirred up passions and soothed pain.

The event will feature live performances by local musicians (TBA).


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2016 (7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.)

Homelessness Arts: Improving wellbeing through singing

Emma Broomfield (Choir with No Name, London UK)

Choir with No Name is a UK charity whose members are leaders in the field of homelessness arts. Starting with one choir in 2008 it now has 4 choirs around the UK and works with over 400 vulnerable and disadvantaged people a year. Founded on the premise that singing makes you feel good, its vision is simply to give people a place where they can belong and sing their hearts out. Through weekly rehearsals and regular performance opportunities Choir with No Name aims to help as many homeless and marginalized people as possible to beat loneliness and build their confidence and skills. Drawing on the experiences of setting up and running the choirs over the past 8 years, this talk will consider how singing can have a positive and powerful impact on the wellbeing of vulnerable people.

The talk will be followed by a roundtable discussion on Singing and Social Change (Panelists TBA). Please note that this event will begin at 7:00 P.M.


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2016 (7:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.)

“What’s a museum going to do with a record label?” The Story of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Dr. Atesh Sonneborn (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)

The mission of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings since the U.S. national museum’s 1987 acquisition of Folkways Records and Service Corporation was fundamentally shaped by a promise made to Moses Asch, founder of the legendary label. He produced an album a week for nearly 40 years, all 2,168 of which will be kept publicly available by the Smithsonian Institute in perpetuity, as per the conditions of the acquisition. In this talk, Dr. Sonneborn will share the extraordinary creation story of Asch’s encyclopedia of sound. Tales from three decades of stewardship unfold Asch’s failures and triumphs, as well as the juicy arguments, as the lecture reflects on the very idea that underlies the question, “What's a museum going to do with a record label?”


All events take place in the MMaP Gallery, Arts and Culture Centre, 2nd floor. Events are open to the public and free of charge. For further information, please call 709-864-2058


Music, Media, and Place

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000