Fellow’s Talk: What am I Doing Here?

In my fellow’s talk–Sound, Place, and Black Music Archives–with the Public Humanities folks at the JNBC (aka the public humans) I started pulling in the pieces that I want to shape an ongoing project that will explore connections between the work of culturally-specific sound archives and the cultural geographies of which they are a part. As I worded it in my proposal, a project that creates “a relational sound geography (albeit, certainly, one that is subjective, incomplete, fluid and contentious) that stimulates critical dialogue between archived historical and contemporary sound expression.” I admitted in my talk that I’m not sure yet what a relational sound geography even is but I feel confident I will figure it out!

Right now, I’m imagining the larger research trajectory as being punctuated by three projects: an essay (possibly multi-modal, not sure) that makes an intervention in archives studies discourse on behalf of culturally-specific sound archives in general and the CBMR in particular, some kind of interactive sound exhibit (imagined and created with the help of Columbia College’s new associate provost for creative technology, Insook Choi and as many students as we can handle) and then, at the far end of this project, I think it would be cool to create a mobile app that that privileges sound and music as a way of connecting the general public, Chicago as a black music capital, and the work and collections of the Center for Black Music Research. Hmm, we’ll see how this all develops.

For now I will focus on situating sound archives within a confounding interdisciplinary discourse and trying to better understand how they enable and expand (but also direct and shape–delimit?) our ability to produce new knowledge about sound and music.


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