Category Archives: Subcultures

Your punk politics will be privileged, or it will be bullshit

An assault on an all female band by a member of security staff at this weekend’s Undercover punk festival in Brighton has brought the online mansplainers and slut shamers out of the woodwork.  It also raised some issues that need to be resolved, some feel new, some are as old as punk itself. Can women make a new space in a scene and politicize it from within ?  Is there ever a way to reconcile the punk politics of the past, and the intersectional politics of the present?   Can we actively build a politics where race, gender, age and subcultural identity intersect ?– the answer, it seems to me, to all of these questions is the same; not really, no. Continue reading Your punk politics will be privileged, or it will be bullshit

KISMIF: Process not subject – it’s the way that we rhyme

I’ve just got back from the most mind-blowing conference I’ve ever been to.  Keep It Simple, Make It Fast, is a conference/music and literary festival/art show organised around DIY cultures, Spaces, Places.  Events were held across various venues in Porto, bringing together academic presentations, some celebrity guests, live performances, exhibitions with daily book launches and a summer school. The event is convened by Paula Guerra and Andy Bennett with an incredible team of international volunteers. I went with my Subcultures Network army (Matt Worley, Petes Webb and Ward, David Wilkinson and stayed in a seminary with the Punk Scholars Network and Steve Ignorant from Crass).

Continue reading KISMIF: Process not subject – it’s the way that we rhyme

A week ago we stood together: is it fixed yet?

 

I’ve been out of the country for a week at a great workshop in Berlin “How to Write and Conceptualize the History of Youth Cultures” organised by Felix Fuhg, Doctoral Student, with the Centre for Metropolitan studies.  I was travelling with the histrrry girls and The Subcultures Network, so there were Harringtons. There are always Harringtons.  We spent one day working and talking in the Archiv der Jugendkulturen.   Its an incredible community archive and library that has brought together all the different traces of resistance in youth culture and subcultures.  From magazines made by school pupils to the Love Parades’ backdrops and giant cut outs of Nena – the transational and hyper local are boxed up together and are being carefully catalogued by local participant experts in each scene.

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Continue reading A week ago we stood together: is it fixed yet?

DIT Dreamland

Today was finalist results day for the students on my Post-Punk Britain Module.  Together we’ve laughed, done cutting and pasting, swapped celebrity gossip, kicked over a few statues and analysed the history of subcultural theory and practice.  They have made me laugh and they have me think in new ways.

Continue reading DIT Dreamland

Plicker the Punk Rock Clicker : Quant into Qualt won’t go?

Yesterday was the last seminar of this year’s Post-Punk Britain course that I teach with Chris Warne in the third year of our History degree. It is a funny sort of course; it is not really about Punk, and quite a lot of people might think it is not really about History either.  It is about what we can do with punk.  We do some history of subcultures stuff, but really it is about thinking of punk as a methodology, as an ethos and as a form of dissidence or resistance.  In practice that means it’s an ongoing pedagogical experiment. Each of the three years we’ve run the course has been totally different. This is partly because the students collaboratively set the agenda and choose what directions they want to go. It is partly because we’ve been funded through Technology Enhanced Learning and Excellence in Teaching to run a set of student led projects;  DIY Digital and DIT Digital.  These projects are scavenger history.  Students create open access educational resources inspired by the course using apps, social networks, and websites that were often designed with other purposes in mind.  Like a DIY zine, it is a way of taking what we can find and making it our own.

When I attended Sussex’s Annual and Teaching conference I was introduced to the idea of using Plickers (paper clickers) in teaching I knew this was something we could play with.

Continue reading Plicker the Punk Rock Clicker : Quant into Qualt won’t go?

The awkward pleasure of Doing it Together

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 Have you ever been on holiday with your students? Its got a lot of awkward potential.

 

This year Chris Warne and I were awarded an Innovation in Teaching Award to take a group of students to Margate and set up a digital pedagogy experiment. DIT Digital: Doing Subcultures Online involved tours and workshops with two of Margate’s significant heritage sites; The Turner Contemporary and Dreamland. Our Twitter hashtag is #DITDreamland

Last year we had run a less ambitious project DIY Digital: Doing Punk Online with students on our Post-Punk Britain module.  Students had created open access educational resources around topics from the module.  One of the key lessons from the project last year had been the importance of ‘being in the room’ to facilitate virtual interaction so a field trip offered a way of sharing a physical space together whilst doing digital work.  Furthermore last year’s MA mentors had been absolutely central to the success of the project and we now had a group of masters students who had been part of the original project as undergraduates who could act as mentors.

Continue reading The awkward pleasure of Doing it Together

Things are messy: Be Careful What You Wish For

I was going to write a blog about Twitter, and voice and collectively generated knowledge, but this came out instead.  It is a starting point, for thinking through #beforethedrugsrunout

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Continue reading Things are messy: Be Careful What You Wish For

We’re Old and We are F**king Angry: Haunted by Post Post-Punk

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It probably says more about my life than theirs, but I seem to be haunted by old punks propping up the bar telling me stories about the Clash, or showing off their badge collection on ebay.  There’s certainly a lot of punk ghosts around – icons– Sid, Nancy, Rotten before he became farmer Lydon , and reunion bands are everywhere. But what are the ghosts for? And why are they following me round all the time?

Continue reading We’re Old and We are F**king Angry: Haunted by Post Post-Punk

DIY Digital: First Steps to Selling Out

DIY Digital: Doing Punk Online grew out of the third year Special Subject History course ‘Post-Punk Britain’.

The course is in its second year and from the start, my co-tutor Chris Warne and myself, imagined it as an experiment in democratic teaching and learning.  We use the growth of academic work around subcultures and youth culture since 1976 to explore bigger questions around what it means to be a contemporary historian today.  This means that we look at local histories, archival practices, life history like memoirs, sound, image and moving images, and oral history alongside popular culture.  Although there has been a determined growth in academic work on subcultures in history, sociology, criminology, English studies and beyond, PPB puts these alongside other forms of history work outside of the formal universities.  We take the memories that people inherit, share and turn into stories as seriously as the academic theories around the politics of popular culture.

Continue reading DIY Digital: First Steps to Selling Out

How many historians does it take to start a cover band?

When we began the Brighton hub of Wellcome’s sexology and Song-writing project we imagined that the young women involved would undertake some sort of original research and then write songs about it. It quickly became clear that the young women participants and the youth work and music practitioners had some different priorities.  The practitioners wanted to concentrate on building a secure and supportive environment in which to build a collective group identity, and the young women wanted to sing songs that they already knew and liked.  The young sexology song-writers didn’t want to write songs.  They wanted to cover and recover them.  Once we recognised that the priorities of the practitioners and of the young women needed to be our priorities too, we moved towards their goals.  We weren’t training them to be researchers.  They were training us in their modes of re-enactment: an active and creative intervention in a cultural circuit that brought together the legitimacy of publicly celebrated singer-songwriters, with their own experiences and voices.

Continue reading How many historians does it take to start a cover band?