PRS Members' Council president Michelle Escoffery to keynote at BMRU Black British music symposium

PRS Members' Council president Michelle Escoffery to keynote at BMRU Black British music symposium

The University of Westminster’s Black Music Research Unit (BMRU) will host a symposium on July 12, reflecting on the historical context and legacies that define Black British music. 

Black British Music: Past, Present and Futures is the result of ongoing research carried out by UK and US universities, as well as a broader partnership between the BMRU and the British Library on Beyond The Bassline: 500 years of Black British Music. 

Running until August 28, Beyond The Bassline is the first major exhibition to document the 500-year musical journey of African and Caribbean people in Britain. Eddy Grant recently spoke to Music Week about the exhibition and more.

Michelle Escoffery, president of the PRS Members’ Council and Ivor Novello Award-winning singer, songwriter and composer, will deliver a keynote session on being a Black woman in music, as well as the challenges facing Black British artists.  

Other sessions will trace the geographic landmarks and cultures that have driven Black British music, and unpack Black British music’s representation of women and other genres including grime and drill. The event will also host a music and publishing roundtable considering how Black British Music has been depicted in media.   

The speaker line-up includes E Falade, a Black queer feminist DJ, ethnomusicologist and author of Queering Black British Music, and Estée Blu (Esther Lenda Bokuma), an R&B/jazz singer, writer and founder of Blu Wav artist wellbeing, as well as cultural historian Dr Holly-Gale Millette, and more.

Dr Mykaell Riley, director of the BMRU, said: “The Beyond the Bassline exhibition, known for its groundbreaking approach, was inspired by BMRU research, so it’s only fitting for the British Library to host our first annual symposium. This conference will distinctively highlight early-career female researchers with a focus on black British music.” 

Tickets for the symposium are available to purchase here, which includes refreshments and a sandwich lunch, as well access to the Beyond The Bassline exhibition at a special evening party event, Carnival Warmup and Soca Special with live performance by Triniboi Joocie plus DJs. 

The BMRU aims to make the study of Black British music’s historical narratives more accessible and representative of the Black community. Previous work includes its research which contributed to halting the Metropolitan Police's controversial Form 696, its 2019 Bass Culture exhibition and a student-led soundtrack for the BBC hit series Boarders.

Subscribers can read our new Aftershow interview with Michelle Escoffery here.


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