Dreaming the Music City
MUTEK Hosts a Half-day Symposium on Critical Issues with Sound Diplomacy
Vincent Pollard - August 14, 2017
The Music Cities Symposium @ MUTEK 2017 will take place on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 1pm-6pm at Monument-National.
It is widely recognized that having a strong music scene can be beneficial to the health of a city and the quality of life of its citizens, but why are some cities more successful at this than others? Is there a sweet spot that a city needs to reach between a critical mass of people and infrastructure to nurture and develop a healthy music scene? How do the conflicting forces of gentrification, availability of resources such as music schools and transportation, accessibility and government policy play into the growth and protection of a city’s live music scene?
On Tuesday 22nd August 2017, the 18th edition of MUTEK Montréal will commence and to launch proceedings, MUTEK is hosting a special Music Cities Symposium in collaboration with Sound Diplomacy. Based across the cultural metropoles of London, Barcelona and Berlin, Sound Diplomacy is the leading global agency specializing in advising on the value of music in cities across the music sector.
To be held in Monument-National the Music Cities Symposium at MUTEK 2017 will feature three panels presented by Sound Diplomacy representatives: Under Pressure? Policy, Progress and Music-making in the Metropolis chaired by Rollo Maschietto from London; (Big) Data – Big Impact on the Music City? moderated by Lucas Knoflach from Berlin; and (Dis)Ability, Access and Architecture: Designing Inclusive Music Experiences curated by Barcelona-based Azucena Micó. Local and International guests from all walks of music life - including city officials, curators, musicians, venue owners and festival organizers will convene to discuss these three key topics on what creates the optimum parameters for creating and nurturing live music within an urban centre, how do festivals like MUTEK influence and benefit from the overall creative health of their base cities?
In the first of these three panels, Under Pressure? Policy, Progress and Music-making in the Metropolis, Rollo Maschietto will be starting the discussion on what factors need to be in place and what government policy can do to support the music culture. “The main point is that having a strong music ecosystem is beneficial to a city as a whole, so why aren't music infrastructures being protected in cities?” asks Maschietto. Invited guests including Mauro Pezzente (co-founder of Montréal’s legendary music venue Casa del Popolo and bass player for Godspeed You! Black Emperor), Marie McPartlin (Director at Somerset House Studios), Will Straw (Professor of Urban Media Studies at McGill University) and Sean Horton (Founder of Seattle’s Decibel Festival) will discuss issues such as what local authorities are doing to encourage and promote a healthy night time economy. Should Montréal follow the UK’s lead and appoint a Night Czar? What are the challenges for artists in a gentrifying city? Keen to hear the Montréal perspective both from guests such as musician and promoter Mauro Pezzente, and city representative Emmanuelle Hébert, Maschietto adds “It will be interesting to find out how the two cities are approaching the issue of gentrification, what the different challenges are and what Montréal and London can learn from each other.” Understanding the issues that musicians and venues face is the first step to making sure they persevere, “If you look at small cities like Austin or Nashville,” he adds “they are being talked about now as being the number one destinations for musicians in the world. If you look at the way they have helped their music venues, it’s something that needs to be developed and protected and to start with that means it needs to be understood.”
In his panel (Big) Data – Big Impact on the Music City? Lucas Knoflach will be exploring what impact the use of new technologies and specifically the collection of data can have in both planning and navigating festivals and city-based events. What privacy issues are raised and how effective is this data? “The basic idea is to look at how different companies and cities are using information such as NFC data,” says Knoflach “or more controversial topics like tracking data and how it can be used by brands to target people. It can also be used demonstrate the economic impact that live music has on a city.” As well as using this data to make better informed decisions about next year’s festival, collecting this data can also have real-time uses, as Knoflach explains. “Data could be used in decision making when it comes to venues. In a festival it could be used to control crowds, plan transport or even alert festival-goers which stages are becoming full.” This and more will be discussed with panelists including Renaud Legoux (Associate Professor at HEC and key player in data sciences research institute IVADO), Michael Rodrigues (Senior Manager of Digital Ticketing Development for Quebec-based music promoters evenko), Barry Threw (Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco) and Anthony Palermo (CEO of Connect&GO, who specialise in RFID data-handling for hundreds of festivals and events such as Osheaga).
In the final panel (Dis)Ability, Access and Architecture: Designing Inclusive Music Experiences Azucena Micó will be joined by guests including musician and cultural researcher Daniel Granados (who is currently Director of Cultura Viva, a cultural program set up by Barcelona City Council), Matthew Ganucheau (a San Francisco-based composer and also Director of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts), Pierre Vachon (Communications Director, Outreach and Education, Opéra de Montréal) and Razia Begum (Associate Producer at London’s prestigious and long-running Barbican Centre in London). The panel will be investigating many aspects pertaining to access and inclusivity when it comes to music and culture. How can we design inclusive music experiences for citizens from all walks of life? As Azucena Micó explains “Not much is discussed about this topic, although it is acknowledged that participation in cultural activities, whatever the discipline, can contribute to wellbeing, social inclusion, help develop a sense of belonging and increase critical knowledge.” From music performances for deaf people, concert venues designed for ageing audiences, to ticketing systems that benefit low-income groups there are many aspects of accessibility to be explored. In the course of her research so far, Micó has found that more could be done to remove potential barriers to accessibility that can include other vulnerable people who may face risk of exclusion for very diverse reasons such as illiteracy, gender/class/sexuality and mental health.
As Sound Diplomacy’s Lucas Knoflach adds “For me, Montréal has an incredibly interesting music scene and it really sticks out in North America as a really diverse and unique scene. The question is: How do you keep it authentic? How do you deal with gentrification and keep cities affordable and not push people out? What is the role of artists within the gentrification process?”
Presented in collaboration with Sound Diplomacy, with the support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada, Canada’s private radio broadcasters and the British Council.
30$CAD in advance // 45$CAD after August 15 // Students 20$CAD (tax and fees included)
Tickets can be bought here.