Panel call – ESSA sound studies conference mapping the field

Here’s a link to all of the panels:

If you want to participate in the panel listed below, please send in an individual abstract of no more than 300 words to the organisers at by March 15 at the latest. Please indicate clearly which panel you want to participate in. You will find the details on each panel below the list.

Panel no. 4: Blue Skies and Bottom Lines: Friction and Frisson between the Audio Industry, Sonic Artists and the Academy

Martin Parker

This panel hopes to interrogate the questions below with representation from across the sector. If you’re working in the business, a freelance sound designer, an academic involved in sound studies or a sound artist and these questions irritate, inspire or worry you please submit a single paragraph position statement to ESSA for consideration.
The main questions are these: What defines a career in sound in 2014? Can the academy offer an experimental playground and simultaneously train its students for such a career? Where are new genres, forms and formats being imagined, tested and realised? This panel aims to examine the complex interrelationships between the audio industry, the sonic arts and contemporary sound studies.
These may be stated in more detail:
• What is it that students want from their education?
• What is it that they need?
• What does ’The Industry’ need from them upon graduation?
• What does ’The Academy’ want its students to learn and is this compatible with current employment contexts?
• Are the industry prepared to talk to the academy about their needs by relaxing NDAs, sharing software, skills, techniques and methodologies, offering internships and entry points to graduates?
• Are there any stable jobs for sound studies graduates or is this model collapsing in favour of freelance casual work across the sector?
• How does the industry treat its freelancers?
• How are sonic artists and freelancers supported by the academy, the industry and the state?
• As governments begin to encourage privatisation of higher education via state-imposed competition, universities are under increasing pressure to run parts of their business at a profit, this includes the education itself (read Stefan Collini’s article ”Sold Out”, 2013 found in the London Review of Books as a starting point).
• How is this changing the University’s own understanding of itself in relation to sound studies and how can Universities reconcile their business heads with their experimental hearts?
• Can sonic artists, the audio industry and the academy collaborate in a healthy way, if so how?

I propose panel format that allows for discussion and spontaneity. Rather than a formal presentation of three or four papers, the panel would consist of a 10-15 minute position statement from each speaker. Once each speaker has presented, the chair opens up the room for discussion pushing for people to ask questions of the panelists (rather than make points of their own). The chair would keep speakers to time and be there to provoke a discussion that involves the audience and the panel members. The panel could last up to two hours.

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