Bristol's live music is focus of new research

Issue date: 07 October 2010


UWE A unique opportunity to be at the forefront of an exciting new project to archive the last 60 years of live music in Bristol has arisen at the University of the West of England.

The project, Bristol Live Independent Music Archive (BLIMA), seeks a researcher with a real interest in and knowledge of the live music scene in Bristol. The researcher will work with Michelle Henning and Rehan Hyder in the Department of Culture, Media and Drama, to develop the archive while pursuing a PhD. Dr. Hyder is author of an award-winning book on popular music, Brimful of Asia, while Michelle Henning specializes in museums, photography and archive studies. Both have close connections with the Bristol live music scene.

Michelle Henning explains, “We are interested in live popular music in Bristol from the 1950s to the present day, in particular, we want to provide a resource for future researchers who want to know about Bristol's nightlife, from the points of view of bands and promoters, but also, crucially, audiences and other people connected with the scene, such as bar staff. The aim is not to just build a collection of memorabilia, but to develop research techniques and questions that can give us a real picture of the range of experiences people had.”

“We need someone with a genuine interest in and some knowledge of the music scene in Bristol to join us as a researcher. We're offering a part-time PhD bursary, so the person we're looking for will have some clear questions of their own they'd like to research, but they also need to work part-time on the archive, contributing to the collections, helping to organize events, or developing BLIMA's online access.”

Once the new researcher is appointed, the archive will be making contact with musicians, audiences, venue managers, bar staff, arts organisations and festival organisers as well as other connected collections and archives in the city.

Dr Rehan Hyder comments, “Bristol is actually very under represented in terms of writing about its music. There is, we believe, so much to investigate – venues come and go and change direction. Venues that are no longer with us like The Dugout or The Granary have played a huge part in the cultural life of the city and it is vital that we make sure we record and archive people's experiences of these influential places. New developments like The Blue Aeroplanes' recent acquisition of The Fleece and Firkin shows how Bristol's live music scene continues to develop in exciting ways and all this needs to be documented and archived for future generations and as a rich information point for music lovers, journalists and the City of Bristol.”

Michelle Henning adds, “Bristol's independent music scene has a cultural and ethnic diversity that has helped to create some innovative and original sounds of international significance and renown. BLIMA is setting out to build a new collection of materials generated through oral history, interviews and public calls for contributions. This will be an archive for Bristol and a rich, accurate and continually growing resource to be enjoyed by everyone.”

The PhD studentship will run from January 2011. Applicants will normally need an MA, and can find further details and apply on the University website. The deadline is 21st October 2010.

BLIMA will be calling for participation in the forthcoming year. In the meantime, if you are interested in contributing materials you are directed to BLIMA's new Facebook page, where you can upload anything for which you have copyright.


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