Conference on 1+2 October 2004, Montreal, Canada
This October, the Rights & Democracy Network is sponsoring the second annual Mixing Pop & Politics conference, which takes place alongside this year’s Pop Montreal music festival. Founded last year in response to the glaring lack of musical protest against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Mixing Pop & Politics is a multi-faceted examination of popular music’s important place in the struggle for human rights and democratic freedoms. Whereas last year’s discussion was provoked by the concern that popular music and popular protest had become disconnected, this year’s conference is one encouraged by the widespread return of music with a message, and musician’s speaking out for justice and human rights.
Six panel discussions will examine topics including: Music as a Human Right; Media vs The Message; Music That Mobilizes; The DIY ethic & Social Responsibility; Bridging the North / South Divide Through Music; and Musical Activism. Guest speakers include, among many other notables: Ian MacKaye, founder of seminal US indie rock outfit Fugazi and Dischord Records; First Nations Hip-Hop group Slangblossum; The Guerrilla News Network; Melissa Kaestner of Canada’s National Campus and Community Radio Association; Thubten Samdup, Chair of the Canada-Tibet Committee; Ajay Heble and Daniel Fischlin, editors of “Rebel Musics: Human Rights, Resistant Sounds and the Politics of Making Music”; and Kembrew McLeod, professor of Communications at the University of Iowa whose latest book chronicles his attempts to trademark the term “Freedom of Expression.”
Artists in Venezuela are among the many groups that are suffering human rights violations as authorities justify restrictions due to political turmoil.