Engagement & Impact
By definition, many musical and cultural activities have a strongly public dimension.
At ICMuS this also goes for our musical research, whose impact often extends well beyond the immediate academic community.
Since the late 1990s we have made cultural and social well-being an explicit part of our agenda, and this is reflected not only the topics of our research, but also in the way we conduct it and in the range of our collaborators – not only other academic institutions but also with individuals, groups and organisations locally, nationally and internationally. Moreover, we aspire not only to share the fruits of our own research with others, but also to learn from their knowledge and experience. Hence, benefit, agency, and impact flow both ways.
Some examples of the impact of our work with non-academic partners can be found below.
The ¡Vamos! Festival, founded in 2006 by Ian Biddle (ICMuS), Nik Barrera and Vanessa Knights, is an annual festival of music, art, film, theatre, dance, literature, cuisine, fashion, sport and education. The festival brings together artists and practitioners from all over the world to celebrate Spanish and Portuguese speaking global cultures. From its inception, the festival has showcased a diverse range of cultural materials and practices, brought a new understanding of these global cultures to Newcastle-based audiences, and facilitated the establishment and consolidation of a range of local and global partnerships. Partners include Newcastle University, The Sage Gateshead, Northumbria University, Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside Councils, The Spanish Government, The Mexican Government (see here for more) and was funded by Newcastle University, Arts Council England, The Instituto Camões, The Spanish Embassy to the UK and others.
Ian Biddle was active in ¡Vamos! up to 2011 and had had a key role in the first three festivals, drawing on his research expertise in Hispanic and Lusophone musical cultures, and contributing to the programming and organisation.
To date, the festival has achieved total audience figures exceeding 45,000.
For a full list of previous festival editions, see here.
Repatriation of Alan Lomax Italian archival materialsRepatriation of Alan Lomax Italian archival materials
Goffredo Plastino, Reader in Ethnomusicology at ICMuS, and curator of the Italian Collection for New York based Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), has been central in the repatriation of materials made by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax (1915–2002) in Naples and in Cinquefrondi (Calabria). This collection includes field recordings and related materials produced by Lomax in Italy in 1954–5. For further details see below; http://www.culturalequity.org/ace/ce_ace_newsprograms.php and http://archive-org.com/page/3177277/2013-11-18/http://www.culturalequity.org/news/?p=21. More repatriations in Italy are currently being planned by Plastino in collaboration with ACE, and will take place in 2014.
This repatriation is an aspect of the impact of Goffedo Plastino's work as a leading Lomax scholar. His edition of texts and photographs from Lomax's Italian fieldwork (excerpts from essays, field notes, letters and scripts for BBC radio programmes) is published as the book L’anno più felice della mia vita: Un viaggio in Italia 1954–1955 (Milan: Il Saggiatore, 2008), which also includes a detailed essay by Plastino.
Lomax and the Association for Cultural Equity (ACE)
Alan Lomax was a pioneer in the repatriation of cultural documentation. He deposited copies of his large collections in national archives at a time when tape and disc media made it difficult and expensive to do so... ACE joins with libraries and cultural organisations to bring home the compelling music, photographs, film, video, interviews, and research from the Alan Lomax Archive... Collaborating with [their] local partners, [ACE] arragne[s] for the families of the artists to take part in a formal repatriation ceremony and be given copies of 'their' media. ACE encourage[s] full use of these materials, including their integration into school curricula, museum collections, and radio programming, and offers resources and counsel to help implement such cultural feedback strategies http://www.culturalequity.org/ace/ce_ace_dissemprogram.php.