Bass Culture Volunteers

Photo credit: Adrian Boot, Aswad on The All Saints Road, 1981.

Bass Culture Research: mapping the impact of Jamaican music on the UK

Call for 2 x volunteer archive researchers
Based at Black Cultural Archives, Brixton 

Project background

Bass Culture is a three-year AHRC-funded exploration of the impact of Jamaican and Jamaican-influenced music on British culture. Covering the period from the mid-1960s to the present day, with a focus on London and a particular interest in the years 1976 – 1981, Bass Culture explores the profound ways in which this island’s music remade popular music in Britain.  We look at how fundamental music was in the emergence of multicultural in the British city and the redefinition of the post-colonial nation. The term ‘Bass Culture’ acknowledges both the Caribbean cultural origins of sound system practices and their ongoing role in framing British urban experience across ethnic, local and regional contexts.

This multi-strand research project unites a multi-disciplinary group of scholars, practitioners, researchers and cultural producers who will produce a series of exciting, accessible and innovative outputs including a comprehensive oral history, bespoke website, exhibitions, events and academic publications. Much of this work will be produced in collaboration with community partners and young people. Bass Culture is the first fully-funded academic investigation of the impact of Jamaican music and culture on Britain.

The work is led by PI Mykaell Riley of University of Westminster, alongside academic partners at SOAS, Leicester and Goldsmith’s.

We are seeking 2 individuals to support this project by conducting their own research into relevant material held at Black Cultural Archives. Primarily this will be through a review of music periodicals in the archive: Echoes (formerly Black Echoes) magazine, Straight No Chaser, and Black Music and Jazz Review. The research will also look at related material in the ephemera collection, Len Garrison’ papers and his research in to Reggae music and UK youth identity, as well as relevant material within the new Carl Kirton archive. This research would include but not be limited to identifying musical, cultural, political and or artistic trends during the period covered by the magazines and archive material.

Dates

Placements are for an 8 week period staring 1st Aug 2017, ending 22nd Sept.

You will need to commit to a minimum of 4 hours volunteering each week and be able to access the archive at some point during these hours:

  • Tuesdays: 10am-1pm and 1pm-3pm. Kennington (Carl Kirton) archive

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 10am-4pm. BCA, Brixton for other archive collections

Required outputs:

  1. Produce a written piece responding to our core research questions – essay, article, personal response
  2. Take part in a public sharing / discussion event
  3. Be interviewed on film about your research and the experience
  4. Produce a personal response of your choice – for example, conduct and record your own oral history interview, writing a poem, mapping a music history walk etc.

Eligibility

These placements are open to people of all ages and backgrounds and do not require an academic or archiving background. Experience of research will be helpful but is not essential. We are looking for a genuine enthusiasm for the subject area and an eye for detail – for ‘knowledgeable amateurs’ excited by the prospect of exploring an under-researched area, able to produce an articulate response to the work and willing to share their findings in written and other ways. You will be supported by the BCA Collections manager and by the academic research team, but will need to be self-motivated and able to work independently.

How to apply

Please send 300 words to archives@bcaheritage.org.uk outlining:

  • why you would like to volunteer for this project
  • which parts of the Bass Culture research area most interest you
  • the skills that you bring
  • how you think taking part would benefit you

We will be holding informal interviews on Tuesday 27th of June in the Learning centre at Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, Brixton, London, SW2 1EF and you will need to be available on that day to be considered.

Applications must be received by end Tuesday 20th June