Urban Design, Seashells and the Jazz Buff

imgres-2It’s not every day that an international conference starts with the national host welcoming everyone by blowing through different sized seashells and the event manager giving a comedy demonstration of a buff, showing delegates different ways in which a garment – purposely designed for the event – could be worn and used. But this is no ordinary conference. It’s the gathering of Europe Jazz Network, a pan-European group that brings together promoters, festivals, venues and national music agencies to discuss issues, opportunities, and collaborative ideas around jazz and improvised music today.

CPrtbGHWoAAALutOnce the seashells performance and jazz buff demonstration were over, EJN President Ros Rigby welcomed Professor Christopher Dell to the stage to deliver a performance-based keynote speech that described an improvisational approach to urban planning, architecture and design. Interspersing examples of theory and practice with short improvisations on the vibraphone, Dell drew on the work of Henri Lefebvre to argue that cities and spaces should no longer be understood as fixed objects, and instead advocated an improvisation-led approach to architecture and urban design which encourages both a hands-on and reflexive exploration of spaces and materials.

Although not talking specifically about festivals and heritage sites, the talk resonated with the CHIME project in several ways, most notably by encouraging the audience to think about the way in which places are used and re-used and how urban environments are understood as both produced and performative spaces today.  CHIME will add to this discourse about how spaces can be reconfigured, transformed and reimagined over time and will extend the focus of study to landscapes, rural settings, post-industrial sites and other heritage settings.

(more…)

CHIME at the European Jazz Conference

banner-EJCEurope Jazz Network’s (EJN) European Jazz Conference kicks off in Budapest on 24 September. The event brings together festivals, venues, promoters and national agencies from across Europe to share good practices and to develop new initiatives and collaborations. The event will encourage debate around pan-European issues that have an impact on the arts and cultural sector and will include sessions on sustainability, professional development and education, as well as networking for seasonal festivals. There will also be a strong research focus, as the EJN builds on the work of its Strength in Numbers study and launches new initiatives around audience development and a history of European jazz.

(more…)

Welcome to CHIME!

Welcome to Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals (CHIME), a transnational research project that explores the uses and re-uses of cultural heritage through jazz and improvised music festivals.

imgresThe relationship between jazz, festivals, and heritage sites is a complex and underexplored field of enquiry. Since the late 1940s, jazz and improvised music festivals have developed synergetic relationships with heritage sites to the point where, in different European settings today, festivals employ and engage with a range of heritage forms. Festivals facilitate uses and re-uses of heritage and have a transformative impact on attitudes to place, identity and history, from events that draw on landscapes, stately homes, iconic buildings and sites of historic importance to performance projects that encourage new forms of engagement and participation. (more…)

Festivals

About

Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals (yes, CHIME) is a European research project supported by the JPI Heritage Plus programme.

3

The project explores the uses and re-uses of different types of heritage through the study of jazz and improvised music festivals, and examines how changing relationships between music, festivals and cultural heritage sites renegotiate established understandings and uses of heritage. Our core focus on festivals reflects the important – if undervalued – position that festivals occupy in Europe’s cultural ecology, with their dynamic and synergetic relationship to spaces and cultural sites. We use jazz and improvised music as a lens through which to explore key issues in heritage research, drawing on the music’s unique and complex relationship to concepts of high and low culture, tradition, innovation, authenticity and (non)-European identity.

CHIME focuses on three thematic work packages: Improvising Heritage: jazz,
festivals and heritage sites
(UK); Marketising Heritage: jazz in urban spaces (Sweden); and Sounding Heritage: jazz festival landscapes in the Netherlands (The Netherlands).

Each work package will develop a programme of activities that feeds into the following research questions:

  • How does jazz music facilitate a connection to heritage and enable a reconfiguring of people’s relationship to place?
  • In what ways do jazz and improvised music festivals provide new models for engagement with cultural heritage?
  • How does music shape and inform understandings of cultural memory through uses and re-uses of heritage?
  • What synergies and frictions are created when festivals and heritage sites interact (from the negotiation of problems between conservation and use, to frictions between tourism and local interests etc.)?
  • In what ways can jazz and improvised music festivals act as lens to interrogate concepts of cultural identity?
  • How do music festivals blur the boundaries between tangible, intangible and digital heritage?

JPICH_oriz_3lines-1