Radio and the Sound of Modernism

17-18 July 2020

This conference seeks to use the radio as a novel point of entry for re-thinking the history and aesthetics of musical modernism, drawing musicological research into conversation with other disciplines, such as Radio Studies and Sound Studies. Having once been considered a ‘forgotten medium’, as Edward Pease and Everette Dennis put it in 1995 (Pease and Dennis, 1995), the intervening twenty-five years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in the radio, particularly in the emerging disciplines of Radio Studies and Sound Studies. In musicology, too, the radio has been examined as an institutional setting for the experimentation of, for example, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (Niebur, 2010) and composers of Elektronische Musik at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Iverson, 2019). Taking radio as a focus for the study of musical modernism allows several different contemporary methodologies to be brought into conversation, from science and technology studies and actor-network theory to recent theorizations of “vernacular” or “popular” modernisms (Lacey, 2018; Nemmers, 2017) and sound studies’ concern for the political valences of listening (Radano and Olaniyan, 2016).


£ 683

Lead Student

Jean-Baptiste Masson (University of York)

Other student organisers

  • Samuel Ridout (University of Leeds)
  • Max Erwin (University of Leeds)
  • Manuel Faroli (University of Leeds)
  • Marta Donati (University of Sheffield)