Popular Music, Stars and Stardom

2015 Conference of IASPM Australia New Zealand Branch

Friday December 4th - Sunday December 6th

Conference information

Registration is now open: Register now

Early bird registration (August 10th - October 5th) - $140

Full registration (October 6th - November 13th) - $180

Student registration - $110 (Identification will be required on arrival)

Conference dinner - $50

Website: music.anu.edu.au/iaspm-anz-2015

Email: iaspm2015anz@anu.edu.au

Registration: Early bird registration applies between August 3rd – October 5th. Further information will be released on the IASPM ANZ 2015 Conference website in July.

Transport: Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin operate regular flights to Canberra from most domestic Australian airports, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Canberra is a 3-hour coach ride from Sydney, with Murray’s and Greyhound services every hour to and from Canberra’s central ‘Jolimont’ bus station.

Murray's: http://www.murrays.com.au/default.aspx

Greyhound: http://www.greyhound.com.au

Direct flights to Canberra from Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney can be booked through QantasJetstar or Virgin:

Qantas: http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/home/au/en

Jetstar: http://www.jetstar.com/us/en/home

Virgin: http://www.virginaustralia.com

Accommodation: A number of accommodation options are available in Canberra:

University House - the ANU's on-campus accommodation (walking distance to the School of Music)

Quest Canberra - close to both Civic and ANU (walking distance to the School of Music)

Hotel Hotel - a new hotel/ restaurant & bar complex based in New Acton (walking distance to the School of Music)

The Novotel - situated next door to Canberra Jolimont station and walking distance to the School of Music

Medina serviced apartments - slightly further away from campus


Conference activities: 

Friday December 4th

Registration from 8.30am 

Conference welcome & introduction

Papers throughout the day

Keynote -  'More Than Meets the Eye: Popular Music Stardom and Politics' - Professor Bruce Johnson 

Evening Reception - 'Wendy Saddington: Underground Icon' exhibition launch at Canberra Museum & Gallery


Saturday December 5th

Papers throughout the day

Book Launch: 'Death and the Rock Star' - Dr Catherine Strong and Dr Barbara Lebrun


Afternoon plenary: 

A/Prof Sarah Baker

Dr Donna Weston

Roundtable discussion - Prof. Andy Bennett (Chair), A/Prof Sarah Baker, Dr Donna Weston, A/Prof Rob Burns, HC Coombs Fellow Andrew Farriss

Conference dinner & stargazing event - Mount Stromlo Observatory


Sunday December 6th

Papers throughout the morning/ early afternoon

ICTM-ANZ Regional Committee AGM

2019 IASPM Conference discussion


Conference dinner: to be held on Saturday December 5th at Mount Stromlo Observatory with an evening of music and stargazing (price includes return travel to and from the School of Music as well as stargazing event)

Local Organising Committee: Dr Samantha Bennett, Dr Julie Rickwood, Dr Stephen Loy and H C Coombs Fellow Andrew Farris


The call for papers is now closed

‘Stars’ manifest in popular music literally, conceptually and metaphorically through song lyrics, artist ‘stage names’ and in discourses of economic and/ or mainstream success (Hamlen Jnr., 1991; Holmes, 2004). Stars can be conceptualised as ‘mythic constructs’ (Shuker, 2005) ‘other worldly’ (McLeod, 2003) or associated with fantasy and escapism. As performers, ‘stars’ have been considered as ‘manufactured’ (Franck and Nüesch, 2007) and/ or ‘authentic’ (Zuberi, 2001); as groups of individual artists, such as ‘Superstar DJs’ (Phillips, 2009), or the individual persona, such as ‘Ziggy Stardust’ (Grant, 2000). In recent years, popular music stardom is closely associated to reality television (Frith, 2007), a site of tension between influences of traditional auteur and public ‘star maker’ roles. The portrayal of popular music ‘stars’ on film varies between those in the foreground (Rock Star, 2001), in the background (20 Feet from Stardom, 2013) and those in supporting or ‘behind the scenes’ roles (Muscle Shoals, 2013).

In a literal sense, astronomy research suggests a ‘musical galaxy’; a black hole is heard ‘singing’ a B♭, at 57 octaves lower than middle C, ‘the lowest note in the universe’ (Overbye, 2013). The universe may have its own ‘soundtrack’, a ‘sonic composition that records some of the most dramatic events in outer space’ (Levin, 2013).

If we consider popular music as a metaphorical universe, who or what are the planets, stars and constellations? In what ways do they align, traverse and orbit? We invite papers that consider the theme of popular music, stars and stardom from one or more of the following angles:

  • Stars: musical, cultural, political biography
  • Stardom: discourses of mainstream success, fandom, reception, memory
  • The universe: popular music production, management, distribution
  • Constellations: genre, tradition, locality, subculture, collaboration
  • Galaxies: ‘other worlds’, spirituality, fantasy, iconicity
  • Waiting for a Star to Fall: songs, lyrics and ‘star’ references
  • Stellar performances: liveness, audiences, performance on film and television
  • Selling stars: business models, economics, revenue streams
  • Fading stars: success, career trajectories, ageing, posthumous canonisation
  • Black holes: noise/ silence, the ‘visible’ and the ‘concealed’
  • Papers that address the overall theme beyond these angles will also be considered.

Updated:  12 June 2013/Responsible Officer:  Head, School of Music/Page Contact:  Development Officer