Music Matters XXXIV: Telling Alternative Stories with Mimi Haddon

The Music Matters at University of Groningen Performance is proud to present Dr. Mimi Haddon (University of Sussex) who will give a talk entitled “Telling Alternative Stories: Women’s Knowledge Cultures of Music.” This talk takes place at the USVA Theatre (Munnekeholm 10) from 09:15 until 10:00. All are welcome to attend. Read an abstract of Dr. Haddon’s project below:

“This paper brings together two recent projects that share a broad aim. The first is an idea that emerged when writing my article on Joan Baez’s imitations of Bob Dylan, which was published in 2021 in the journal Twentieth-Century Music. By analysing mimicry, this article sought to challenge the assumption that true musical knowledge is best demonstrated by writing original songs. Drawing from academic interrogations of musical creativity and identity as well as the work of Leopoldina Fortunati, I offered the idea of the creative matrix and looked to recentre the listening subject as a way to engage matrilineal lineages in music and the underexplored musical ‘work’ of listening and intimacy.
This process of focusing on listening and decentring traditional notions of knowledge and creativity in music led me to a second project, which is the AHRC-funded network, Music for Girls. In collaboration with twelve women from the local East Sussex community and  two affiliates of the Museum of Ordinary People, we curated an exhibition of women’s music tastes and local women’s music stories, which opened for four days in September this year. The local participants ranged in age from 15 to 72 and, crucially, their level of music ‘expertise’ varied too — from professional musicians to lay people.
The aim in these two projects is this: By looking to the position of listener, to perceived non-expert knowledges, and feminist archives, can we develop new paradigms for the analysis and even teaching of popular music that go beyond fan studies and traditional paradigms? What emerges—at the level of sonic properties and music historiographies specifically—if we experiment with suspending what we think we ‘know’ about popular music cultures and engage instead with knowledge cultures as linked to femininity?”