Research Seminar Series

The International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) has a monthly Online Research Seminar Series. This will feature a curated selection of research presentations and discussions, which will be hosted by different IASPM Branches each month.

There are a few things to announce about the IASPM Monthly Online Research Seminars.

Firstly, in order to allow us to properly record the seminars, and also to allow for live streaming, and co-ordination with ticket booking on Eventbrite, we have purchased an IASPM Zoom account. This “Pro” account, allows for there to be 100 people taking part actively in the seminar (with chat functions etc.), so each research seminar will have 100 tickets, on Eventbrite, which is a ticketing website. If these tickets are sold, we hope to stream the event on YouTube or Facebook, which will mean any number of people can at least watch the seminar. The seminars will be available to anyone, not just to IASPM members, so please advertise them far and wide, including to postgrad and graduate students, and on any email lists you know.  We will also record and publish all seminars.

You can look on the IASPM YouTube channel for the live streams of the research seminars at

You will find there a video of the January seminar featuring IASPM ANZ. I’m afraid this features crackle on the audio, despite doing considerable denoising. Also on YouTube is the video from Matt Brennan’s December talk Hopefully we will archive all the talks on the IASPM YouTube page.

The IASPM Zoom account is available to all branches to use for events such as conferences or seminars. I can set up a Zoom event, and co-ordinate this with you. If you are arranging a popular music related event, are an IASPM member, and wish to jointly arrange your event with IASPM, you could also take advantage of this facility. We have this account and want to develop a range of IASPM research events online for members, and are offering this facility. I don’t know how this will work out, but do get in touch if needed. Working with IASPM on your event also means the video of it can be streamed on the IASPM YouTube channel (which we hope will become the go-to home of popular music academic video), and it can be advertised by IASPM. Anyway, we hope that might be useful for some of you, please get in touch with me if you want to propose an online event.


Please note that the times below might be confusing, as they list related to GMT. Time in parts of Europe has just changed for daylight saving in the summer this weekend, which confuses matters. The Eventbrite page will appear correctly anyway, but the times +/- GMT below were incorrect. The correct times are now listed as they will be in Europe. Eventbrite automatically deals with time zones, so this will be fine.

January 2022 research seminar:

The monthly IASPM Research Seminar is taking place on Thursday 16th December, 17:30 CET.

Dear Colleagues,

The April 2021 Research Seminar will be arranged by IASPM’s Latin American Branch. You can get your free tickets here.

22th April 2021, Thursday

15:00 – Sao Paolo, Brazil / Chile

The event will be on Zoom, online, and can also be watched on IASPM’s YouTube page, streamed live. On this page you can also watch videos of previous seminars.

It will feature leading Latin America popular music scholars discussing research in the region. I hope to see you there.

IASPM Research Seminar April 2021

Roundtable: Popular Music Research in Latin America

22th April 2021, Thursday

15:00 – Sao Paolo, Brazil / Chile

19:00 – UK, BST

20:00 – Paris, CEST

From the ending of the last century until nowadays, popular music studies in Latin America became widespread across the subcontinent. This roundtable aims to discuss not only a brief historical background of these studies, but also the predominant topics and approaches that characterise them. The political framing of the continent and the permanent debate about global and local inequalities related to music practice is the starting point for most studies. Broadly speaking, most debates contribute to interpreting the role of music within and beyond the complexities of our societies.

With a predominantly interdisciplinary approach, mostly headed by musicology, literature, social sciences and communication departments, the range of these studies has increased year by year. The Latin America branch of IASPM functions as a hub of researchers from different countries, trying to overcome the language difficulties to disseminate Latin America contributions to the popular music studies field across the globe. The roundtable, hence, may be a good opportunity to get in touch with some of these challenging debates.


Martha Ulhôa (Brazil) – musicologist and former founder/vice-chair of IASPM-AL and chair of IASPM. Project in conclusion investigates musical entertainment practices (especially the waltz), in mid -19th century Imperial Rio de Janeiro.

Julio Mendívil (Peru) – ethnomusicologist, writer, charango player and former chair of IASPM-AL and IASPM. His research focus is the music from the Andes. He is currently researching on music and sexual violence in the Andean popular music.

Laura Jordán (Chile) – musicologist, professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, and president of the Chilean Society of Musicology. Her current research focuses on vocality in independent popular music in Chile.

Felipe Trotta (Brazil, moderator) – musicologist and current chair of IASPM-AL, he studies (popular) music and sound in interhuman and social communication within cities. He is the author of the book “Annoying Music in Everyday Life” (Bloomsbury), released in 2020.


See below for details of the IASPM research seminars on 17 February (hosted by the South East Asia branch) and 25 March (by the Norden branch).

Please note that there is now a link to the IASPM South East Asia (SEA) branch on the IASPM website Details of the two seminars can be seen below.

Please do let me know if you experience any issues with booking or attending seminars. I believe that some people tried to attend the last event at the wrong time, please check your local time zone time. This is all a little new to us, so please bear with us.

Many thanks

Professor Rupert Till

IASPM Chair.

IASPM Research Seminar February

Wed, February 17, 2021

21:00 – 22:00 Kuala Lumpur time; 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM GMT; Midnight for Sydney; 08:00 in New York

ADIL Johan will present the February IASPM Online Research Seminar, which is hosted by the IASPM South East Asia (SEA) branch, on the subject of “Conceptualising an Intimately Connected Nusantara: The Rock Kapak Phenomenon of the 1980s and 1990s”.

Malay rock & roll circulated in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as early as the 1960s and flourished from the 1970s onwards to the 1990s. Inter-regional music exchanges were frequent across national borders. The Singaporean band Sweet Charity’s hit song “Kamelia”, released in 1980, was a cover of Indonesian singer-songwriter Ebiet G. Ade’s song “Camelia 2”. In 1989, the Malaysian glam metal band, Search, achieved a feat rarely achieved by their counterparts by breaking into the Indonesian popular music market, selling over one million units of their album Fenomena. Following that, they became a popular culture phenomenon in Indonesia, successfully exporting the Malaysian brand of glam metal colloquially termed rock kapak (lit. “axe rock”) across the region. Their success set the stage for further inter-Nusantara collaboration, such as a feature-length film titled Isabella (1990), that starred the band members and was shot, produced and released in Indonesia. Through a historiographical exploration of rock in the region, I hope to reveal how analysing popular music in an intimately connected Malay world offers an epistemological means to conceptualize the ‘Nusantara’ as a maritime space of fluid identities, affinities and contestations. Listening to Malay rock kapak as a regional phenomenon also unearths the intercultural intimacies of Nusantara youth in an increasingly urbanised and globalised context, rooted to local expressions of sentimentality and narrations of the social anxieties experienced in a period of rapid economic development during the 1980s and 1990s. 

Keywords: Rock Kapak; Glam Metal; Malay world; Nusantara; intercultural intimacies 

ADIL Johan is a Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. His research analyses aspects of popular music in the mass media that intersect with issues of interculturalism, cosmopolitanism, intimacy, affect and gender, focussing on the Malay world and Southeast Asia. His recent publications include: Cosmopolitan intimacies: Malay film music of the independence era (NUS Press, 2018); “Cosmopolitan intimacies in Malay performing arts and literature: An introduction” (Special Section Editor), Journal of Intercultural Studies 40(4) (2019); and “Malaysian popular music and social cohesion”, Kajian Malaysia 37(2) (2019). He is also co-editor for the volume, Made in Nusantara: Studies in popular music (Routledge, 2021). He recently collaborated with the Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA) to produce Malaysia’s first Klang Valley Independent Music Ecosystem Map. He performs and records as a saxophonist for Azmyl Yunor Orkes Padu and Nadir.

IASPM Research Seminar March 2021

Organised by IASPM Norden, with speaker Thomas Hilder of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

25th March 2021, 18:00 CET, IASPM Norden,

Transgressive Pedagogies in the Musicological Classroom

“The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy,” according to eminent feminist scholar bell hooks (1994: 12). How, thus, do we harness the potential of the classroom in our role as music educators, public intellectuals, and cultural advocates? In this presentation, I share stories of my own experiences of teaching at NTNU and my aspiration toward hooks’ notion of transgressive pedagogy (1994). What curricula and teaching materials connect with today’s students? How can the activities and pedagogical strategies we employ create transformative spaces? What are the practical and ethical challenges and potentials we encounter in the musicological classroom? My discussion addresses debates on decolonising academia, mental health pandemics, and the neoliberalisation of the university. Drawing on critical feminist, queer, and anti-racist pedagogies, I hope to pose pressing questions about what it means to be a music scholar in the 21st century.


January session was hosted by IASPM Australia New Zealand. Full information and a digital ticket were available here:

It is on Friday 15th January 2021 at 10am AEDT in Australia

In the UK that is Thursday 14th January 2021 11pm GMT

In Europe that is 12 midnight early in the morning on Friday 14th January

In the USA that is 6pm on Thursday 14th January

Exploring the impacts of COVID-19 on music-makers and audiences in Australia

This panel will bring together new empirical research from Australian researchers who have been working on understanding the impact of COVID on musicians, workers in the music industries, and audiences.

Andy Bennett, Ernesta Sofija and Ben Green will discuss their work on music-making for young people (between the ages of 18 – 35) as a source of well-being during the COVID-19 crisis. Their project, involving interviews with young people around Australia, aimed to evaluate whether music-making has contributed in palpable ways to young people’s individual well-being (in terms of physical and mental health) and their sense of connection with others.

Catherine Strong and Fabian Cannizzo will discuss the results of an all-industry survey and interviews undertaken during the second lockdown in Victoria. Results showed that while there was a solid core of respondents who have found ways to continue working on their music-related activities and/or constructively plan for a changed future, most participants were experiencing difficulties, sometimes of a career-ending nature. The profound uncertainty in the sector at the time this study was done was central to these difficulties, in combination with the emotional upheaval that had accompanied the lockdowns, but the key issues are all connected to pre-existing problems in the music sector.

 Short (10 min) presentations from each team will be followed by a panel discussion and questions.

You can book tickets on Eventbrite, which are free. Please circulate this widely, feel free to invite students and staff, and please circulate on other email lists or to anyone you might think will be interested.

We look forward to seeing you all there.


The first talk featured Dr. Matt Brennan, and was presented by the IASPM-Canada branch.

You can see December’s seminar, hosted by IASPM Canada, featuring Matt Brennan speaking about Drumming, on YouTube:

Matt Brennan (Reader in Popular Music at the University of Glasgow, UK) will be discussing his new book, Kick It: A Social History of the Drum Kit (2020), exploring the role of the drum kit in the development of popular music, alongside broader socio-cultural histories in the United States. Don’t miss this entertaining and informative talk!

Future events will be hosted by:

January 2021 IASPM ANZ

February 2021 IASPM SEA

March 2021 IASPM Norden

April 2021 IASPM AL


June 2021 IASPM US

July 2021 IASPM South Korea 

September 2021 IASPM Spain 

October 2021 IASPM UK and Ireland

November 2021 IASPM Hungary.

December 2021 IASPM France