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Research Seminar: Postgraduate Research Students

Wednesday 12 May 2021, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Philip Boardman & Gaia Blandina (PGR)

4pm – Philip Boardman 

Research focus

I am a research student in my second year studying the growth of brass bands in the Manchester area from circa 1840 to 1890. There was no widespread tradition of brass playing in Britain to shape and inform the development of these ensembles prior to their emergence. The players were largely from the working classes who had the least opportunity or education. It is intended to chart the process of development by concentrating on a defined area to map the evolution of these musical groups and investigate how they organised and formed themselves.

From extraordinary success to no considerable results: Victorian music entrepreneurialism and the Crystal Palace Brass Band Competition 1860-1863

The July 1860 Crystal Palace Brass Band contest brought brass bands out of their heartlands to London in unprecedented numbers, The Times describing the success of the contest as ‘quite extraordinary’.  Such was the scale of this landmark event that it was repeated in successive years.  However, the termination of the contest in 1863 has stood in stark contest to its presumed success and no cogent explanation has been established for its failure after four short years. The entrepreneur organising the contests, Enderby Jackson, had already displayed an aptitude for managing large-scale brass-band events in the decade preceding the 1860 contest. Jackson made full use of his talents and contacts to bring these remarkable working-class musical ensembles to the emergent national attraction that was the Crystal Palace. However, Jackson’s manipulation of publicity and managerial style obstructs easy analysis of each contest. Moreover, Jackson later sought to protect his legacy by conjuring a smokescreen in his memoirs to obscure the real reasons for the failure of the Crystal Palace Contests after 1863. This article will examine previously unconsidered letters, surviving documentation, and other sources that cast doubt on whether the contest series was ever an extraordinary success. In doing so it will provide insights into the organisation and working methods of the Victorian impresario that was Enderby Jackson.

4.40pm – Gaia Blandina

Stumbling on concepts: artistic methods for research-creation

The focus of this seminar will be on the relationship between theory and practice in the field of practice-led and practice-based research. Such relationship is treated differently in each case of study, depending on the strategies used by the researcher/practitioner. Some strategies use theory to influence and shape the development of creative work (like in concept-driven practices), others use practice as an inquisitive and exploratory tool for theoretical research, others that try to negotiate and strike a balance between the two. By looking at some examples of other practitioners' and researchers' work but mainly by focusing on my own work, I will outline how the process for the creation of artefacts is affected depending on how the relationship between researching and making are treated. Some artistic methods will be presented; these will question the notions of intuition and knowledge, of randomness and wandering in everyday life as acts of research and discovery.

Gaia Blandina

Gaia Blandina is a sound artist and a cellist. Her work is approached from different perspectives and methodologies across multiple areas of artistic and academic enquiry. Each work emerges from a concept that is explored and developed into a unified piece through the combination of various art practices, media, and research areas; such concept is never treated as a fixed entity, or a transcendental idea, but rather as a variable imminent notion that is flexible, open-ended and contingent upon various special, social and historical contexts. Gaia is currently working on the creation of a portfolio of installations/events from an interdisciplinary perspective. This portfolio will stem from the exploration of nomadic thinking and an interrogation of concept-driven practice through the thought of various philosophers (such as Deleuze, Hume, Bergson, Spinoza), it will be developed through various media, supported by further theoretical research, and in collaboration with musicians, writers, and artists. The tools, activities and techniques that are present in Gaia's practice are improvisation, devising music, collaboration, cello playing, collaging, archiving, object-making, poetry, curation.

Location: Meeting ID: 915 8006 2656 Passcode: 840125