An interdisciplinary volume of essays on Michael Jackson, published earlier this year, includes a chapter on musicology written by Dr Christopher Wiley.
Dr Wiley’s ‘Putting the Music Back into Michael Jackson Studies’ appears in Christopher R. Smit (ed.), Michael Jackson: Grasping the Spectacle (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 101-16.
Informed by his participation in the international press coverage of Jackson’s death in 2009, and crystallizing around the iconic tracks ‘Thriller’ and ‘Black or White’, the chapter seeks to refocus attention on Jackson’s music in relation to discussion of his music videos and their sociocultural contexts.
It concludes by exposing the danger of over-interpreting the art through the lens of the biography of the originating artist, asking whether Jackson’s celebrity will ultimately rest on his contribution to the late twentieth-century entertainment industry or on the serious controversies with which he became associated.
Dr Wiley’s essay is also available for download from City Research Online, the University’s research repository, at the following link: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/1211/
The current issue (Vol.25, No.4) of Ireland’s Education magazine includes a major feature, ‘A unique music degree in London’, on City University London’s BMus Music course.
Describing the degree as ‘a very attractive package for those wishing to pursue a career in music or the self expression that music involves’, the double-page spread includes an interview with Dr Christopher Wiley, Undergraduate Programme Director; information about the course structure, admissions, performance possibilities, and employment prospects; and a profile of second-year BMus student Jane McConnell, who came to City from County Tyrone.
Speaking about applications for the degree, Dr Wiley is quoted as saying that ‘We are very averse to sending away interesting and well-qualified candidates. We like to engage with people as individuals not as statistics or a series of grades.’
The article, which appears on pages 16-17 of the magazine, may be viewed at the following link: http://issuu.com/educationmagazine/docs/education_magazine_25-4?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage
Clockwise, from left: Becky Thumpston, Jun Zubillaga-Pow, Olga Sologub, Kirstie Hewlett
Huddled around a table, in the intimate setting of Room C143 at the Tait Building, four students from four different universities spearheaded the first meeting of the Society for Music Analysis (SMA) Postgraduate Writing Club. It was hosted on 1st December, 2012 by Dr Shay Loya on behalf of the Centre for Music Studies at City University London. The organizer was Kirstie Hewlett, a postgraduate student from the University of Southampton, and the idea behind her initiative was simple enough: to form an analysis-centred study group, comprised of postgraduate students from around the country, which will gather periodically to discuss at length extracts from dissertations or complete papers . This first meeting was specifically designed as a ‘dry run’ for the RMA conference this January. And so Becky Thumpston (Keele University), Olga Sologub (University of Manchester) and Jun Zubillaga-Pow (Kings College London), presented one after the other papers that were still in-progress though at an advanced, nearly finished stage. This gave each one of them an opportunity to focus on the delivery. A frank exchange of views about the more memorable as well as problematic aspects of each paper followed. Talking points ranged from pitching the paper to the target audience to the relationship between theory and analysis. (To save time and allow more discussion, Hewlett graciously withdrew her paper.)
One of the admirable qualities of this group is their self-sufficiency. They have corresponded about their research independently of supervision, and have invested their own time and money on a Saturday morning to discuss it in depth. It was an initiative worthy of the Centre for Music Studies’ support.